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August 2012: How is your business like an Olympic athlete?
Georgia Employers: An Important Non-Compete Update

Due to House Bill 30 (HB 30) and a recent ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Becham v. Synthes USA, 2012 WL 1994604 (11th Cir. June 4, 2012), I highly recommend you take a look at your non-compete agreements and more specifically, review the date(s) these were signed. Certain agreements may not be enforceable under Georgia's new non-compete statute, House Bill 173 (HB 173), depending on the date that these agreements were accepted and signed.
 
Because of the gap of time between when HB 173 was initially passed and when it formally went into effect, HB 30 accordingly was passed on May 11, 2011. The passage of HB 30 clarified what law applies to restrictive covenants entered into after May 11, 2011. 
 
So, if your employees signed agreements during the window of time between November 3, 2010 and May 11, 2011, the agreements may not be considered valid under Georgia's new non-compete statute. Any employment agreements signed May 12, 2011 or after are likely considered valid and covered by the new non-compete statute.
 
I encourage you to review your employment-related agreements to confirm that all of your documentation is covered under this new statute. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns about these agreements.


Estate Planning Questionnaires: Are You Prepared?

In order to best assist you and appropriately identify your legal needs, please download the appropriate questionnaire below and email to me so we can schedule a consultation at your convenience.  All information is kept strictly confidential.
Estate Planning - Single
Estate Planning - Married
Estate Planning - Domestic

About the Law Office of Paige Arden Stanley

The primary focuses of my law practice are in the areas of business law and estate planning.  I not only serve as outside general counsel for small business owners, but I also prepare wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health care directives. My background in litigation allows me to successfully negotiate and protect my clients' interests. For more information, please visit my firm's website or contact me at ( 404) 386-9950 or paige@stanleylawoffice.com.

A Note From Paige

I am a big fan of the Olympics and have enjoyed watching them ever since the opening ceremonies. There’s just something thrilling about having most of the world’s countries gather together for a brief moment in time to engage in friendly competition. While we all turn into armchair athletes for two weeks every few years, it’s important to remember that a great deal of support and training took place before anyone made it to the London stage. These athletes didn’t just get a gym membership. They hired true professionals who helped them reach their athletic and competitive goals.


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The same can be said for small businesses. While many are able to keep things going operationally, those that thrive have typically worked with outsourced experts in marketing, accounting and law so that they can focus on what they know best: their product or service. So what about your business? Have you been handling everything on your own? If so, I highly recommend you consider bringing a few outside professionals onto your team so you can stay focused on your goal of having the best business and winning new customers.

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The Do's and Don'ts of
Running a Small Business

 
Owning and running a small business can be very rewarding. It can also be confusing and overwhelming. If you’re going to invest your time and money in any business venture, it’s important to do it right the first time. Not only can it save you money in the long run, it can also save your sanity.
 
Below is a list of 10 basic Do’s and Don’ts that can help you make better decisions for your business.
 
DO
  1. DO limit your liability to your investment in your company by incorporating your business or organizing it as a limited liability company.
  2. DO discuss and understand the advantages and disadvantages of the various forms of business entities. What works for the business down the street may not make sense financially for you. Get to know your options.
  3. DO proper market research and prepare a detailed, written business plan. Proper planning can help you get things right the first time.
  4. DO make sure you understand the corporate formalities to which you must adhere in order to preserve the liability afforded to you by incorporating your business.
  5. DO make sure you have a detailed exit strategy, especially if you have business partners. It’s never a bad idea to be prepared for every eventuality.
  6. DO discuss with your attorney the importance of a written employee handbook and written employment agreements containing confidentiality and noncompetition clauses. Even the smallest business should have these in place.
  7. DO apply for all necessary licenses and permits for your business. There’s usually more paperwork involved than most are aware of, so make sure all t’s are crossed and i’s dotted.
  8. DO talk with a tax professional. Owning a business opens up a whole new can of tax worms, so it is best to talk with someone who can help you budget appropriately.
  9. DO invest in technology. By investing in the appropriate software and hardware, you show your clients that you are able to meet their needs and take their business seriously. 
  10. DO discuss the good, bad and ugly about your venture and past business experiences with your attorney. By knowing what went well and what didn’t, you will be better prepared should these experiences repeat themselves.
DON’T
  1. DON’T give up 50 percent of your company to investors in your first fundraising effort. Sure, investors will expect something in return, but this is your business. Hold fast to ensure that you are still in charge when it is all said and done.
  2. DON’T spend money required to be set aside for employee and other withholding taxes. Not only is this not a smart financial decision, it’s frowned upon by the IRS.
  3. DON’T put off buying insurance. As with any insurance, it’s tempting to think you’ll be okay without it. However, it will cost you more in the long run in the event that there is a need.
  4. DON’T sign company contracts in your individual capacity. Rather, sign them on behalf of the company as an officer of the company.
  5. DON’T sign things that you don’t understand. It’s tempting to just sign things to be done with them and move on, but this can jeopardize your business.
  6. DON’T ask or permit employees to breach confidentiality or noncompetition agreements with previous employers. Knowingly allowing this can come back to bite you.
  7. DON’T make expensive office space and furnishings a high priority unless you are in an “image” business. Instead, focus on the value you can give to clients.
  8. DON’T print your stationery, business cards and promotional materials until you have had a trademark attorney conduct a search of existing state and federal trademarks as well as pending trademark applications.
  9. DON’T assume a verbal agreement or handshake is enough.  Make sure to have solid written agreements in place, even with those you know very well.
  10. DON’T try to do everything yourself.  Setting up a business can be complicated and overwhelming. Having a business attorney assist you in making and implementing the right decisions is one of the best investments in your company that you can make.
As you can see, there’s quite a bit for business owners to take into consideration. General business savvy will only get you so far. If there are items in the above list about which you have questions, feel free to contact me for help.
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Items in this Newsletter may be excerpts or summaries of original or secondary source material, and may have been reorganized for clarity and brevity. This Newsletter is general in nature and is not intended to provide specific legal or other advice.
Copyright © 2012 Law Office of Paige Arden Stanley, LLC, All rights reserved.
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