Small Business Law: Why Wouldn’t You Get It In Writing?

October 28, 2011 § Leave a comment


This article originally appeared in the Metropreneur on Oct. 20, 2011.
In every aspect of life, we seek out second opinions when we receive services from a professional or tradesperson. It just makes sense when we are dealing with issues and matters that we are unfamiliar with that we either affirm the advise or recommendation that we receive.

It does not matter whether we are dealing with a strange noise our car is making, the need for better insulation in our homes, or an invasive procedure recommended by a medical specialist. Common sense, fiscal sense, and sometimes safety mandates we obtain another opinion to either confirm or call into question the original recommended course of action.

So why do people seemingly never get second opinions when receiving legal advice or services? Because we have been brainwashed and conditioned that it is uncouth or impolite to do so.

Ridiculous! Here are some reasons you absolutely must have a “second opinion counsel” in your corner:

Just as you would want a second medical opinion before undergoing an intensive treatment or surgery, it is important to have a second attorney review your case if you have any doubts about how your lawyer is handling your proceeding. Some valid reasons to pursue a second legal opinion include:

  • You want greater certainty you have made or will make the proper decision to sue or go forward if suit is already filed
  • You suspect improper, incompetent, or insufficient handling of a case
  • You believe there is a conflict of interest
  • Your case is moving too slowly
  • Your case is costing a lot but you are not seeing results or value for those costs
  • Your lawyer does not seem familiar with the area of law or the legal complexities involved with your case
  • You can’t get meaningful answers or clear strategies from your attorneys about the case

If you are concerned about how your lawyer is preparing or prosecuting your case, it may be in your best interest to receive a second opinion from a law firm that you can trust. Our attorneys are committed to reviewing all aspects of your legal proceeding and can advise you on whether or not your case is being properly handled.

Whether you need clarification on the legal process or you are considering changing or adding your current counsel, we have the knowledge and experience to address all of your legal business concerns.

Intern Confidential: Adam, Lending intern

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

We’ve been lucky this summer to have several fresh faces around the office as interns, rolling up their sleeves to learn what it takes to keep a community development organization like ours afloat. Here are their thoughts:

As a finance major, I came to ECDI hoping to learn about credit analysis, portfolio analysis, cash flows, and the use of financial ratios in ECDI’s lending department. Although I was able to learn about all of these things and more during my time here, what I learned about most was the importance of economic development in the lives of everyday Ohioans. Not only did ECDI’s activities help bring about measurable change in the lives of our clients, especially for our lending clients, but ECDI also worked very hard to support those individuals with technical assistance to ensure they would be successful even after their relationship with ECDI had ended. At ECDI this is common practice, but at many banks and mortgage lenders across the country, especially during the last few years, engaging in activities which knowingly harm their clients even before their business relationship is terminated was commonplace and eventually disastrous. While most banks in America do a good job of serving large businesses and medium to high wealth individuals, the riskiness and unprofitability of serving start ups and lower income individuals had made these clients targets for predatory lending long before the Great Recession completely ostracized them from traditional financing sources. « Read the rest of this entry »

Intern Confidential: Catherine, Development Intern

August 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

We’ve been lucky this summer to have several fresh faces around the office as interns, rolling up their sleeves to learn what it takes to keep a community development organization like ours afloat. Here are their thoughts:

When I tell people I study Economics they ponder and think my days are full of analyzing numbers, finance, or some sort of math. I try to tell them that Economics isn’t all about math, and I haven’t been able to completely articulate what I mean, until I started working at ECDI.  Working at the Economic and Community Development institute is really about people, ideas, and innovation. Every day we work with people who want to make something of themselves. Young entrepreneurs and creative individuals who want to start their own business and provide for their families. We help them do that. And that’s what economics is to me. Utilizing creativity to make something happen.. -Catherine

Entrepreneur Academy – This Week in ECDI Training

May 10, 2011 § Leave a comment


We’ve got a reputation for small business lending in the community, but we’re pretty proud of our diverse and dynamic training offerings. They aren’t just for our program participants either, we encourage all types of community members interested in small business development to scope out a training course. Here’s what we have to offer this week:

QuickBooks and Financial Management  – Wednesday, May 11th 6-9 p.m. $25
Learn how to set up QuickBooks for your biz!

Retail Design Basics – Wednesday, May 11th, 1-4 p.m. $40
Learn how rethinking your retail interior can improve your business. Instructors Tim Lai and Eliza Ho of Tim Lai ArchitecT.

Financial Literacy (English language)- Sunday, May 15th, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. $25
Basic financial literacy course, instructed in English.

Register online or tell a friend and get learnin’!

The Happiest of Hours

May 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

Save the date for the Hills Market Charity Happy Hour next Wednesday, May 11th from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Guest bartender is indie-biz golden boy Wolf Starr, who will be mixing and muddling and stirring (okay, maybe just uncapping and uncorking…) on behalf of our brand new Invest Local Ohio fund.

Merrymakers have the chance to get $2 off the price of any one topping pizza. Proceeds from the sale of all pizzas go to ECDI’s Invest Local Ohio fund, which gives individuals the opportunity to support local microenterprise through community investment.

Come tie one on with us! It’s revelry for a cause.

Columbus Food Adventures: A Moveable Feast

August 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

via columbusfoodadventures.com

In Cuba, at night, doors open into alleyways, and people invite strangers into their living rooms to enjoy the most authentic Cuban cuisine. They are called paladares, these little home-based micro-bistros, and a tiny menu and limited seating allows for entrepreneurs to dish up genuine, flavorful Cuban fare while keeping costs low.  Operating a paladar is a way to eke out a living, not a ticket to wealth, as the government heavily taxes these microenterprises.  Furthermore, the Cuban government may choose at will to shut a paladar down, and phone numbers are subject to frequent change, making advertising a logistical challenge as well as a heavy cost. How do visitors to Cuba find these secret culinary hideaways? They rely on guides – locals who can show tourists where to find amazing and honest Cuban food.

I’m not sure how Bob Kramer, ECDI’s Director of Food Safety and Services would feel about restaurants operating out of living quarters here in Columbus, but there is certainly something inspiring about the entrepreneurial spirit of the paladares operators and the adventure of an expert-led gastronomical journey. While Columbus may seem unexotic to many (admittedly, we spent most of the last century producing a heck of a lot of Wonder Bread), we have a vibrant food culture. Still, an unguided soul in our fine area code may end up at Applebee’s or Bob Evans instead. Enter Bethia Woolf.

The industrious Bethia Woolf (of Alt.Eats.Columbus , Taco Trucks Columbus, and Hungry Woolf ) thinks that “quality and diversity of Columbus’s food scene is a story worth sharing.” This year she began Columbus Food Adventures, public tours meant to highlight our food scene from out-of-the-way ethnic eateries, to the profusion of taco trucks.

You know that ECDI keeps it local, and we especially want the food culture in central Ohio to continue to thrive.  Our Growing Entrepreneurs Initiative takes into account the high risk of embarking on food-based business ownership and offers business services and training on a sliding scale based on the needs of the participant.  ECDI closes loans every day to make business ownership and small business success a reality for central Ohioans.

What is your food-based business dream? Will you be a stop on one of Bethia’s tours in 2011? To learn more about our programs, visit www.ecdi.org and be sure to submit a general application form. Let’s get started!

Downtown synergy: Facade grants

August 9, 2010 § 1 Comment

We love downtown (we call it home, after all), but certain parts of it could use a facelift.

Did you catch the article in The Metropreneur about grant money from the City of Columbus for downtown economic development? The idea is that while downtown has really picked up some sparkle in recent years, there are still many decaying and abandoned storefronts and facades in dire need of revitalization. Mayor Coleman named the Mile on High zone (bound by Third, Spring, Mound and Front Streets) as the area intended to receive grant dollars for spruced-up storefronts. The City Council approved this program last December; a boon for independent business owners who may not otherwise be able to cover the cost of signage and awnings.

ECDI loans can certainly work some miracles, but our small business loans do have some limitations. Specifically, ECDI loans cannot be used for construction or real estate acquisition. So, a call to all those dynamic, brilliant, hard-working entrepreneurs: apply for this grant and get your digs looking fresh. Down the road, when you need equipment, supplies, or inventory, remember this: ECDI has capital to lend.

Those interested in applying for facade grants should call the City of Columbus, Department of Development, Economic Development Division at (614) 645-8616.

Those interested in applying for ECDI’s programs (including our Microenterprise Loan Program) should call (614)559-0115 or visit www.ecdi.org and submit an inquiry through our contact form.

Three Babes and a Baker on 10TV

July 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Just yesterday we were heaping praise on ECDI microloan client and cupcake truck entrepreneur Carla Saunders – it looks like the local TV news media is hip as well.  Congrats on the flurry of press, Carla! You deserve it!

Dying to know more about the Three Babes and a Baker, Carla’s bakery-on-wheels? Be sure to follow her on Twitter, where she connects personally with consumers by posting her location, the day’s cupcake varieties, and answers questions.

And, hey, while you’re over there, why not follow us on Twitter? We are connecting with the community by sharing information about our programs, giving shout-outs to our awesome clients, and offering information about resources to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Mobile food in Columbus : Viva Taco Trucks!

July 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

via flickr user seibu1

Columbus is city of fans. It’s true that each fall we  paint the town red scarlet and grey for our beloved Ohio State Buckeyes - but summer belongs to taco trucks and food carts. We central Ohioans are so batty for food-on-wheels that there is a whole website devoted to Columbus taco trucks, complete with a locator map !  Maybe you read last Wednesday’s Dispatch article about the food truck boom in Columbus. It featured ECDI client and mobile dessert innovator Carla Saunders, who peddles t0-die-for cupcakes as Three Babes and a Baker.

We’re pretty crazy about food trucks as their very low overhead allows for tasty, gourmet eats for a reasonable price.  While  food trucks may require less initial startup capital than brick-and-mortar restaurants, they are not without unique complications.  All mobile food businesses must operate out of an approved commissary in order to maintain the required standards of sanitation and food storage – not to mention the sticky health and safety regulations that accompany a kitchen on the move.

ECDI is going to be doing some amazing things in the coming year, and among them we’re proud that we’ll soon have a mobile food commissary to call our own. That’s right - mobile food businesses will be able to dock with us, when not out serving the hungry masses.  It’s all part of our mission to be a one-stop-shop for up-and-coming food entrepreneurs in central Ohio through our Growing Entrepreneurs Initiative.

Website Launch : 3,2,1…

June 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Great news! We should be all systems go to launch the new web site very soon!

The website isn’t just going to look sharp - (although it does..thanks, QStartLabs!) – it’s going to be incredibly efficient as well. Clients can now submit online applications and inquiries into our programs with just a few clicks! That means more central Ohioans can capitalize loans sooner. We couldn’t be more pleased.

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