We recently sat down with Matt Thelen, Vice President of Legal and Compliance, at Club W. With this title, also comes that of General Counsel. Club W is a subscription service that helps customers select wines customized to their individual palates and delivers the bottles directly to their door, keeping costs affordable by eliminating the middlemen. By removing the hassle, guesswork and pretentiousness from picking out the perfect bottle, Club W is changing the way people drink and enjoy wine. Matt’s journey to this position is a unique one, and as one of the youngest GC’s in the startup world, he offers great advice that other new GC’s can definitely use.
‘Tis the season! Nope, not just for caroling or gift giving or visiting Santa Claus. It’s that special time of year when we generously exchange germs, pile high used Kleenex like snow drifts upon our desks, and sniffle to the tune of Jingle Bells. We bundle up on the couch to watch timeless Christmas movies and groan like a wildebeest at every little ache and pain. And when this happens to you and your employees (notice I didn’t say “if”?), will you be ready with the new information pertaining to sick leave?
If you weren’t confused already about immigration laws and work visas, you probably are now after several recent speeches by President Obama. There are more than 20 types of non-immigrant visas available for people traveling to the United States temporarily and many more for those coming to live here permanently. Thousands of small businesses across the nation are impacted by immigration laws since many employ help from this vast pool of workers.
Remember sitting in your high school history class junior year and learning about the Stock Market Crash of 1929? Well, that was when the epic event occurred which started The Great Depression and was the catalyst for Congress enacting the federal securities laws followed by the formation of the SEC to administer them. Fast-forward 85 years… now as a small business owner, why do you need to know about the SEC? Moreover, how can their rulings and requirements affect your business?
Discussing taxes involves a strange dichotomy; on one end of the spectrum it can be so boring, complicated, and tedious that you can literally feel your eyes glaze over. On the opposite side, it can be so scary that your pulse races, you second guess every financial decision you’ve made over the past fiscal year, and you wake up in a cold sweat dreaming that your computer crashed and you lost access to countless records and excel spreadsheets. While filing taxes is a necessary duty for your small business, hopefully we can help ease your fears a little. (Sorry, you’re just going to have to deal with the tedium).
We’ve all been unhappy customers at one time or another. Remember when you went to that restaurant where the waiter completely messed up your order? Or how about the time you stood in line at the store for over 20 minutes just to buy those two small items? Running a business isn’t easy and with inventory, employees, and technology all in the mix, something is bound to go wrong. When it does, you need to have a plan in place regardless if it is a simple issue or one that may threaten a lawsuit.
It seems like new buzzwords pop up all the time and the one that I am hearing a lot about lately is “crowdfunding.” I know it’s been around for several years, but it seems to be picking up speed and becoming a readily accepted method of fundraising for both nonprofit and entrepreneurial ventures. As this new virtual tool continues to gain popularity, laws have been passed to regulate these financial exchanges. If you are crowdfunding or are just curious about garnering additional funds for your small business, there are a few guidelines that you should be aware of.
Immigration is a difficult issue and I understand both sides of this complex topic: with the exception of Native Americans, we are all from immigrant ancestors. How can we discriminate against something that we so clearly have benefitted from? On the other side, amnesty of current illegal immigrants could cost an estimated $6.3 trillion which would trickle down for taxpayers to cover. Among all of the underlying factors that make up this heated debate, small business owners will also be impacted with what President Obama has dictated in his plan for an immigration overhaul.
You got the job!!! It doesn’t matter if you’re fresh out of college or if you’ve been in the work force for many years; signing on with a new company is exciting, nerve wracking, and worthy of a full out celebration. But don’t pop the cork to the champagne yet. Let’s talk about your employee agreements and stock options.
Popular computer programmer and activist Richard Stallman once said, “The paradigm of competition is a race: by rewarding the winner, we encourage everyone to run faster. When capitalism really works this way, it does a good job; but its defenders are wrong in assuming it always works this way.” While capitalism and democracy do go hand in hand, the outcomes don’t always benefit the masses. Does money equal power in politics? Many small businesses seem to think so.