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On The Job

Online law guide, competitive salaries for employees.

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This story appears in the January 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

How much should you pay a new marketing assistant? What's the going rate for a computer consultant? Quite often, small businesses take wild guesses when it comes to setting salaries for employees and fees for consultants. Now there's no longer an excuse for not knowing the current market rates for most jobs: The Web is packed with need-to-know data. Where can you find it? JobSmart (http://jobsmart.org/tools/salary) is a terrific starting point. From this site, there are links to more than 200 salary surveys on everything from jobs in the hospitality industry through retail, transportation and administrative support. Pinpointed, localized information is provided for some California markets (Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego), but there is also plenty of data on national pay scales. Before hiring another employee, check here to see whether your offer is miserly . . . or too generous.

Legal Ease

A quick call to a business lawyer can cost you more than $30 these days. Before picking up the phone, surf over to Legal Encyclopedia: Small Business, operated by Nolo Press (http://www.nolo.com), publisher of a wildly successful line of do-it-yourself legal guides. The site isn't comprehensive--many questions you might have won't be answered, but lots of basic topics are handled thoroughly and in the down-to-earth language Nolo Press is known for. Issues the site covers include: negotiating a business lease; legal issues that arise when you sell products or services to the public; borrowing money; and a look at the various types of business organizations, from limited liability companies to partnerships or sole proprietorships. This is the legal stuff you've got to know, and Nolo Press makes it easy to read all about it.

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