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Howard County MD Business Law Blog

Planning is important for service businesses

Some Maryland entrepreneurs are talented enough to sell their services instead of selling products. When they decide to start a service business, it is still important to thoroughly plan instead of just diving in. Doing so can help them meet the business's goals and be successful.

Like other types of ventures, companies that will sell services should start with a good business plan. It should include the goals and objectives for the company. It should also include the amount of income the owner would like to make, the expenses that will be incurred and the type of business operation the venture will be.

New Jenni Rivera series gets caught up in litigation

Maryland fans of the late Mexican singer Jenni Rivera may have to wait to discover more about her life on television. Although a Univision series was in the works that would have detailed her life for the public, Rivera's estate launched a lawsuit against its creators in September 2016. In their complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, her heirs argue that the creation of the biopic series violates existing contracts.

The breach of contract lawsuit revolves around documents dating back to 2013. These non-disclosure agreements were signed by Rivera's former manager, and the plaintiffs say they forbade him from sharing certain facts about the singer's life. In addition to requesting that the court hand down an injunction to halt the series' production, the estate asked for monetary damages.

Getting the most out of strategic planning sessions

As summer draws to a close, many Maryland businesses start planning for the coming year. Strategic planning sessions may help companies to articulate their goals and develop plans for growth. Though someowners don't like long-term planning, it is important to at least write down a long-term vision so that it can be used to determine what tasks need to be prioritized in the short term.

While planning for the coming year, owners may want to develop a vision of where they would like their business to be in three years. With a three-year plan articulated, it will be easier to decide what projects to implement in the first year of that plan. To ensure that resources are used efficiently, owners should try to keep their list of priorities to a minimum.

Hachette sues author for breach of contract

Maryland residents who have read "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" might have heard that its author has been hit with a lawsuit by his publisher. Hachette alleges that the author, Seth Grahame-Smith, is in breach of contract.

According to the lawsuit, Grahame-Smith signed a contract with Hachette in 2010 to deliver a sequel to "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" and a second book by June 2013. When Grahame-Smith failed to deliver the second book on time, his deadline was pushed back twice. After he failed to meet the final deadline of April 1, 2016, he was contacted by letter on April 20 and informed that he had to either pay back the advance or turn in the book within 60 days.

Succession planning for business stability

Maryland business owners need to think about succession planning for a number of reasons. Often, the founder of a company is very talented, hard-working and difficult to replace. As the founder ages, potential recruits to the organization might turn down offers for fear of instability when the founder leaves.

Those within the organization might be concerned as well and might be more vulnerable to offers from headhunters. People may be anxious about who will take the founder's place, and there might also be long-term issues that need to be addressed like renewing leases. Even for employees who remain with the company, work may suffer and morale may drop as people become concerned about this.

The components of an effective business plan

Entrepreneurs and business owners in Maryland and across the country are constantly reminded of the importance of putting a comprehensive business plan into place, yet many of them still decide to take a wait-and-see approach to cope with the uncertainties and complexities of the modern market. While having a rigid plan that is difficult or impossible to adapt when the situation changes can be a hindrance, having no plan at all can turn even a fundamentally sound commercial venture into a gamble with very long odds.

Business experts are quick to point out that the vast majority of new commercial ventures fail relatively quickly, but studies have found that companies founded by entrepreneurs who take business planning seriously are usually still going strong after three years. An effective business plan begins with clear goals that can be used as benchmarks to measure success and highlight areas that require attention, and entrepreneurs should also ask themselves if they are truly prepared to put in the kind of effort that will be required to achieve these goals in a sometimes ruthless and unforgiving marketplace.

Developing a content marketing strategy

Having a content marketing plan is very important for Maryland business owners. While the strengths of the product or service that is being sold is crucial, the target customer must be told about the product or service before they can purchase it. To attract potential customers, businesses can use content marketing strategies to promote their products on the platforms that their target customers visit.

Identifying the right platform is a crucial part of any content marketing strategy. Before advertising products that are aimed at a target customer, business owners must understand the habits of their target customers so that they can reach them on the websites that they frequent. The content that is used must be geared towards the targets and catered to their interests and the keywords that they tend to search for.

Tips for creating a winning business plan

Starting a business is an exciting experience, and one that requires hard work and forethought, as many Maryland business owners know. However, unforeseen events and misfortunes can occur from time to time, and a strong business plan can help keep the company afloat. Here are some tips for creating a strong business plan.

One of the biggest setbacks for many startups is that they run out of money because the owner underestimated the company's operating costs. It may be that the demand for the company's products or services was low, the cost of supplies was higher than expected or the company lost income because of unpredicted circumstances. To counteract these losses, an effective business plan will reflect solutions to keep the business operating as smoothly as possible.

How to make an effective strategic business plan

Most business owners in Maryland understand that strategic business planning is key to a company's success. However, understanding its importance and actually executing a strategic business plan are two different things. When a business plan just sits on the shelf, it becomes nothing more than a static document.

Strategic business plans often fail to create change in an organization because they do not contain clear directions. To be effective, a business plan should set the trajectory for a company by outlining specific goals and articulating clear vision statements. A solid plan for how to reach the specified goals and achieve the company's vision should also be included in the strategic business plan.

Startups require intelligent planning

Although many Maryland entrepreneurs aspire to become iconic mavericks who fly by the seat of their pants, business plans are a must. Start-up company owners may be misled into believing they can survive with lean strategies that forego in-depth strategies or mistakenly think they don't require well-documented plans. On the contrary, entrepreneurs who have business plans could find it easier to make forward progress and take charge of their development.

Startup plans ought to be created by teams who work together to develop such documents over time. This process can keep employees on track as they determine whether they are actually reaching their goals. Consistently rethinking a business plan may also help companies prune unnecessary details.