Okey dokey… here’s my wrap up of what’s happening and “things you should know” from this past week in Small Business and the Craft Beer Business:
Love this: “(Q) How many lawyer jokes are there? (A) Three – the rest are true stories.” I’ve been following Nina Kaufman the last couple of weeks and she has some great insight. Her book: How to Choose and Use Attorneys is a good reference for any company, especially startups. Check her out at http://askthebusinesslawyer.com/ and http://askthebusinesslawyer.com/how-to-choose-and-use-attorneys
Running a small business is always smooth sailing, right? Especially at home, nothing ever goes wrong there. For the most part, we all have families or lives outside of our businesses, what happens when the s— hits the fan? 3 Tips for Leading Your Business During a Personal Crisis http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/224022
Let’s say everything is running fine. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Right? Not always. Apple is the king of improving or changing an already winning strategy. Why? When to Change a Winning Strategy http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/07/when_to_change_a_winning_strat.html
Are you an S-Corp? Make sure that you periodically check in with a business attorney so that you stay that way! S Corporation Corner: Practitioners Should Schedule Periodic Check-ups http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/jdsupra-65136/?utm_source=jds&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=bizlaw
Since we’re talking tax implications, there are some changes on the horizon that you – at least – need to be aware of. The Fiscal Cliff: 3 Tax Changes You Need to Know Are Coming http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/224051
We’ll segue from tax to other money matters. When is it (or is it not) worth your time/money to go after late payments from customers? here’s a short video (like 60 seconds) on when it’s a good idea. When to Take Legal Action Over Late-Paying Customers http://www.entrepreneur.com/video/223932 also browse around the rest of the website, there’s a ton of good information and I love these little 60 second clips on how-to, when-I-should, or other business tips from experts. And it’s free!
Moving on to intellectual property… here’s a great overview – again short and to the point – on intellectual property and when to use what. How To Make Sure Your Intellectual Property Is Protected http://alltopstartups.com/2012/07/24/how-to-make-sure-your-intellectual-property-is-protected/
I can’t let a week go by without something on Social Media. If you’re just starting up, here’s crash course on what you should be (i.e. “need to be”) doing for your business. Social Media Lite: If You Do Nothing Else, Do This (Part I) http://openmindworks.com/social-media-lite-if-you-do-nothing-else-do-this/ and Social Media Lite Part II: If You Do Nothing Else, Do This for Your Brand http://openmindworks.com/social-media-lite-part-ii-if-you-do-nothing-else-do-this-for-your-brand/ Also, follow OpenMindWorks on twitter at @openmindworks_, a lot of great information and swell people.
I wrote a piece on whether a brewery could/should be a non-profit. Tonka Beer Co, takes it another route – donating all profits to charity. Tonka Beer Co. goes 100% nonprofit in effort to fight invasive species. http://beerpulse.com/2012/07/tonka-beer-co-goes-100-nonprofit-in-effort-to-fight-invasive-species/
Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) changes discussed by TTB. Good read to get some idea of what they’re going through also. TTB Addresses Label Approval Issues http://www.alcoholicbeverageslawblog.com/2012/07/articles/state-federal-beverage-license/ttb-addresses-label-approval-issues/
The midwestern US is taking a beating this summer in terms of weather. I haven’t heard of this having an effect (yet) on brewers, but it’s something (I think) to watch. Midwest drought worsens, food inflation to rise http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/25/us-usa-drought-idUSBRE86N1M120120725?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2Fenvironment+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Environment%29
On the other end: Soggy Summer in North Europe Delays Grain for Region’s Beer http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-07-26/soggy-summer-in-north-europe-delays-grain-for-region-s-beer
This is an interesting one. AB-InBev started registering trademarks for airports and now ZIP codes. I don’t know if this is quite the way to capitalize on the “buy local” trend. But the boys at the Big Beer companies aren’t stupid (they may be a lot of things, but they’re not stupid). We’ll see where this goes. Anheuser-Busch creates “zip code” beers http://www.nj.com/entertainment/dining/index.ssf/2012/07/anheuser-busch_creates_zip_cod.html
While we’re on intellectual property, one near and dear to my heart: trademark. PLEASE work with an attorney before you build a brand or name so this doesn’t happen to you. Coronado Brewing asked to stop using the name, “Stoopid” http://beerpulse.com/2012/07/coronado-brewing-asked-to-stop-using-the-name-stoopid/ By the way, love both beers!
Not strictly beer, but related: there are less… obnoxious ways to deal with possible TM infringement or unauthorized use. Jack Daniel’s Sends the Most Polite Cease-and-Desist Letter Ever http://mashable.com/2012/07/22/jack-daniels-trademark-letter/
The Brewer’s Association always has great resources (especially for members), but here’s a special one – August Power Hour: Food & Drug Administration Brewery Inspections and Reporting Requirements. Free to members (of you’re not a member, it’s not free, but it may well be worth the price of admission) http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/events/calendar/show?title=august-power-hour-food-drug-administration-brewery-inspections
Just for fun
For the science and math geeks out there, this is just AWESOME : http://www.kleinbottle.com/ I’d love to see a one of these labeled with a brewery logo!
- ‘Instagram For Business Tips’ Report Released by Black Box… (prweb.com)
- Why Social Media Metrics Are Important (smallbiztechnology.com)
- Avoid jointly owned intellectual property like the plague (ipstrategy.com)
- Social Media and IP at John Marshall (madisonian.net)
- How Secure is Your Small Business’ Intellectual Property? (openforum.com)
Ok, so here’s the roundup for this week:
Are you focusing on your social media marketing? Thinking about how you use social media to dive sales? What about a social media policy in your business? Here are 5 Bad Habits Small Business Have With Social Media.
Once you have defined how/when you’re using social media for your business, and what you expect, it’s time to think about Ways to Protect Your Reputation on the Internet. And another one: How to Protect Yourself on Pinterest.
Since we’re talking about reputation, if your a franchisee (or franchisor) Do You Have an Obligation to Maintain Brand Strength?
Also, you’re trying to do the right thing and make things better for your employees, but what are The Legal Concerns Implicated By Corporate Wellness Programs?
There’s a ton of places, blogs, and stories about how Health Care Reform will affect businesses. What’s the effect on small businesses? If you’re already having trouble making ends meet, what does this mean for you? Here’s a local story on thoughts and fears of small businesses.
For a little more in-depth analysis, here’s 5 Immediate Steps for Businesses Now that Obamacare is Upheld.
The big story in the last week is the AB-InBev / Grupo Modelo deal.
Also, Mississippi is headed the right way, is this a new market for your beer business? Or a chance for Mississippi to grow their craft beer culture? Mississippi to Celebrate New Law Allowing Higher Alcohol Beer.
Even in the beer business, you need to protect your reputation… whatever it is. Dark Horse Brewery Turns Down Nickelback Endorsement.
Also, as you’re developing your marketing, take read over 3 Biggest Pitch Mistakes Every Brand Makes.
How to solve impossible problems: Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search techniques. Wow. Just wow. Since I saw this late last week, I’ve been looking at the interwebs totally differently.
- What Most Small Businesses Are Doing Wrong on Social Media (And 5 Tips For Success) (ducttapemarketing.com)
- Anheuser-Busch acquires Grupo Modelo for $20.1 billion (channel6newsonline.com)
- One Company Will Soon Control Half of the U.S. Beer Market (business.time.com)
- How a Beer Store, a Swim Club, and a Learning Program Use Social Media (community.constantcontact.com)
- New law allows stronger beer to be sold in Mississippi (wwltv.com)
- Social Fishing: A Small Business Guide to Social Media (paysimple.com)
- Things to consider for YOUR company holiday party >> Perils and Pitfalls of the Office Holiday Party from the ABA ow.ly/rpXZT 4 days ago
- Small business owners to Congress: I liked my health care plan just fine — and now it’s gone - The Washington Post ow.ly/r3ubQ 2 weeks ago
- Can a beer style be a TM? >> Harpoon Lays Claim to ‘New England-Style’ IPA @brewbound ow.ly/qZL1s @timberlakelaw @trademarksrdu 2 weeks ago
- Written for law firms, but good advice for any collections >> Effective Collection Requires a Collections Policy ow.ly/qZKMI 2 weeks ago
- Upcoming lunch-n-learn (Nov 21) >> How well is your website engaging its customers? ow.ly/qWt0R 2 weeks ago