Articles Posted in Small Business

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Data Management Key to Business Success

Small businesses should have thorough, regular—and secure—processes for gathering, storing and interpreting data, which in the “Information Age” has become critical to staying a step ahead of competitors and the marketplace as a whole.

Without deliberately planning and engineering the most effective ways to integrate various types of data flows in every part of your business operations, you can’t fully understand how data can help you make key decisions and otherwise leverage its benefits for key purposes.

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New CDC Guidelines

The CDC has released new mask guidelines easing former recommendations. The CDC is no longer using vaccination status as the benchmark for mask guidelines and are now using low, medium, and high levels for counties to measure COVID risk and mask recommendations.

For low level counties no masking is required. In medium level counties individuals can consult with their doctors about mask needs and recommends masks indoors for contact with high-risk individuals. Finally, in high level counties masking is recommended for all individuals indoors in public.


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Independent Contractors

A recent Illinois Court of Appeals decision in an Illinois Wage Claim Act case puts a magnifying glass on the sticky wicket employers can find themselves when they are unable to pay an outside contractor, at least under certain circumstances.

The decision in O’Malley v. Udo, 2022 IL App (1st) 200007 (Jan. 14, 2022) revolved around an independent contractor who was paid $1,000 per work day plus expenses, was sent 1099 forms at the end of the tax year, was mostly free to work from his Evanston home, and otherwise clearly identified in the written agreement between the parties – and at his insistence – as a consultant.

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Do you need a business license?

In the past two years about 30,000 new businesses were started in Illinois.   Most of those new business had to get a specific license for their particular type of business.   Not all businesses do, but many will need an Illinois Business License specific to their occupation, which vouches for the fact that you’re qualified to perform a certain type of skill and reassures customers that you will be accountable for your work.

For starters, you will need a Certificate of Registration common to all types of businesses. Then, you will need to drill down to your particular type of occupation, perhaps using this page on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation website.

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New Laws for Small Businesses in 2022

From salary and benefits, to the hiring process, to non-compete agreements, an array of new state legislation that affects small businesses in one way or another has taken effect as of the first of the new year, 2022.

The legislation focused non-compete agreements (SB 6

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When is the Best Time to Start a Business?

During the pandemic there were over 400,000 new businesses formed, the most since 2007.  This outpaced the number of businesses which closed during the pandemic.  

We have seen a number of businesses which were formed over the past year by well-meaning and cost-conscious entrepreneurs.  These new ventures – both corporations and limited liability companies – frequently overlook some critical elements of a new business.   In fact, the first question to ask is whether you should organize as a small corporation or a limited liability company.  There are tax consequences and managment questions that should be considered in making the choice. 

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George Bellas advises on E-Commerce

There is no doubt that e-commerce sales have grown tremendously over the last 20-plus years. That is in part because online purchases are taxed differently than in person sales, and small businesses have noticed the advantages of this system.

The setup is quite simple: a small business may house their servers or warehouse their goods in one state, all while shipping their products to the other 49 states. It is important to know that small businesses are not required to collect sales tax in a state in which they have no physical presence. Until recently, small business owners could expand their consumer base across the country largely without ever collecting a penny in sales tax. This approach yields more clients, more sales, and more revenue. However, as the old cliché goes: “More money, more problems.”  In this case, it’s “more money, more tax problems.”


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Illinois Freedom to Work Act 

Illinois Employers who want to protect their business and trade secrets by using restrictive employment contracts will find new hoops to jump through.   The enforcement of non-compete and non-solicit agreements, designed to erect roadblocks to prevent former employees from gaining an unfair advantage due to their proprietary knowledge of your business or relationships with your customers, has always been tricky.  But a recent law will make it more complicated.

An amendment to the Illinois Freedom to Work Act that will take effect on January 1, 2022, will create new hurdles for business owners hoping to prevent employees who have left on frosty terms from exploiting their knowledge of customer contacts, pricing and other trade secrets that could enable them to take shortcuts to parity as your adversary.

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Attorneys Misty Cygan and Geo Bellas can help your get business off to a good start.

We’ve run a series of posts recently about the steps involved in launching a business.  These have covered issues like deciding what type of business you want to start and what your business model will be; putting together a business plan and identifying sources of capital investment; and naming and registering your business.

This final post will flesh out how forging a beneficial relationship with a law firm that delivers services in a punctual, professional and affordable manner is key to the endgame of getting started with your new venture.

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Illinois Cannabis Business Market

Licenses for a legal cannabis business have been a hot topic lately, and now the the Illinois Supreme Court has made its first ruling related to the byzantine process of obtaining a license for a legalized cannabis business in the state, and it seems likely to be the first of many.

The legislative effort to limit the number of licenses the state issues drives up the value of said licenses to the point where it almost seems to bait those who don’t win the competitions to get one, and who sometimes end up angry and confused as to why.