Ask Entrepreneur

Starting a Business

How can I end a partnership with my ex?

I own 75 percent and she has 25 percent (it's all in writing). She does not do her part in trying to build the business or basically anything pertaining to the business. I am frustrated about the situation. We have not made a profit and everything is in the beginning stage. Also, I have decided to change the name of the business from the one on our written contract. Please note she's my ex-wife and the mother of my two children (bad mistake).
Nina Kaufman
Finance

How do I determine the cost of my products for tax purposes if I forget how much they were in the first place?

My husband and I have collected antiques for many years, mostly small items that could easily be sold on eBay. The problem is that I don't remember how much I paid for most items. How do I determine the cost of these for tax purposes?
Pam Newman
Finance

Is a non-employee end of the year form better than a 1099?

For 6 months last year I worked as a private contract therapist for a man who holds a contract with Washington State for therapy. I paid all my own expenses. He did not send a 1099; he sent a form claiming my pay as a "non-employee" expense. Is this beneficial to me? Legal? I have an LLC.
Pam Newman
Franchises

How can I get honest feedback on a new business that incorporates social networking?

I am working on an online company that will assist companies with marketing on Facebook using the most recent tools and opportunities made available by the Facebook team. I have all the resources and experience I need. I understand that many companies don't have have enough insight in social networking to know what users want and need. I can help them, but I want to talk to someone with experience that can give me some honest feedback. Where do I look? I am just a young entrepreneur who loves creating.
Lena West
Marketing

What's the best way to advertise within a downtown area?

I am the owner of a landscaping company in the Dallas, TX area and due to the increase in town-homes, condominiums and high-rise units, our company has expanded. We are now offering small space landscaping (urban landscape) as one of our services. We design, install and maintain their landscaping if desired.
Pattie Simone
Marketing

How do I secure key licensing partnerships?

I have an apparel product that currently exists in the market. I believe that I could take this line of products to another level with some key licenses attached to my line. I am most interested in the NFL, Major League Baseball, and the NCAA. What advice can you give me on acquiring these key marketing partners?
Pattie Simone
Growth Strategies

How can I hire more employees and retain them with a seasonal business?

I have a seasonal swimming pool service business that runs from March to November. I need service techs and an office manager/secretary.
Penny Morey
Finance

What vehicle expenses should I pay for my salespeople?

I am hiring a new sales person that will be driving their own car everyday and calling on multiple customers in an area. I do not want to pay a flat mileage. What expenses should I pay and how can I keep expenses down?
Pam Newman
Finance

Quickbooks is too complex to me--what other accounting software do you recommend?

I don't understand how to make a transaction with my POS system and then write an invoice every time I make a sale. I need software that can basically input my daily sales and at the same time record my expenses too like my rent, light, gas etc. But I can't find software that does this. The Dome ledger I use now is too simple and the Quickbooks is too complicated. I need something that is right in the middle. Can you please help me or send me to someone that can help me?
Pam Newman
Finance

We always fall behind on cash flow at the beginning of the year--what are we doing wrong?

We own a shoe and sporting goods store. Sales in the year 2004 (the year before we took over) were in the $450,000 range and in 2 years and 4 months we increased them to roughly $650,000. But our debt is killing us. The problem lies in the amount of credit card debt and the times there is a lack of cash flow. Even though we plan things out pretty well, there has been one occurrence each January when we owe some bills that we don't have the cash to pay in full on time. Luckily, the 2 companies affected have been quite generous with us. What are we doing wrong?
Pam Newman
Finance

How do I use QuickBooks to keep track of all the small things?

I am using QuickBooks to track things like revenue, expenses, customers, and vendors for my lawn care and snow removal business. The business is less than a year old at this point, so I'm a new business owner and user of QuickBooks. I need to know how to track cell phone purchases and monthly bills for cell phones that are primarily used for business purposes. Would cell phone charges be a utility or office expense? Also, how are meals tracked?
Pam Newman
Finance

To start restructuring the way our company spends money, who should I talk to?

I'm taking over my family business. We are a small subcontractor and we are doing well now but, as I have seen in the past, the boom time doesn't last. My father seems oblivious to this and I want to take the lead role in setting us on the right track to future prosperity. I need to know what experts I should consult with to develop a solid plan to make cutbacks in spending and how to plan for growth in a keeping future growth and tax advantages in mind.
Tim Berry
Growth Strategies

Should our small business freely share monthly and yearly revenue figures with all employees?

I'll soon be taking over the position as V.P. of Operations of a medical practice with approximately 60 employees. In the past, the owners have been reluctant to share revenue figures with all the employees. However, I would like all employees to know exactly how the company is doing from month to month (whether good or bad). I strongly feel that full disclosure will motivate employees to do a better job and will make it easier for management to discuss company-wide targets the practice needs to hit. I do not, however, want to create an environment where health care is put in jeopardy for higher revenues. What would you recommend?
Rosalind Resnick
Finance

Should I use loans or credit cards to fund my startup?

I'm almost a college graduate and am getting ready to open a coffee shop in my hometown, which only has a few coffee shops and all are overflowing. With the amount of student loans I have to pay back soon, I doubt any banks will give me a small business loan. With that being said, do you think it is wise to get a $10,000 credit card and equipment financing to open a 1,750 square foot coffee shop?
Rosalind Resnick
Starting a Business

How do I set up a cost or royalty fee for running a replica of my website in another country?

I have a US brand product. A client wants to sell the same product in the UK and create a website that matches my US website. Is this franchising and licensing? If so, can I charge money or royalty fee for the use of my art and website code?
Nina Kaufman