BizLaunch 2013 a success

The CLBC attended BizLaunch 2013 at Forsyth Tech. We enjoyed the event, and got a chance to meet small business owners in the community. Sign us up for next year.

Ali holding down the fort at BizLaunch 2013.

Posted by Casey Crowley

The Foreclosure Crisis and the Community Law & Business Clinic

Foreclosure remains a significant problem in most of the U.S. and for millions of families. After five months of relative decline, lenders accelerated foreclosure and repossession efforts during June 2013, as evidenced by an 11% increase in foreclosures over June 2012.

The loss of a home to foreclosure is devastating. In addition to being dispossessed of the home, families frequently lose personal belongings, incur costs for relocating and face significant challenges in finding new housing following the foreclosure. School age children face the challenge of a new school after frantically moving to another home, often disrupting their education. Finally, because the home represents the largest asset owned by most families, its loss can mean a permanent setback that limits options for financing college, building future assets or saving for retirement.

Although lenders have a legitimate claim to dispossess homeowners following default on a mortgage, it is often the case that the homeowner has options available to modify, forebear or otherwise protect their home. And by doing so, the homeowner can keep their family’s shelter while also preserving an asset for the community.

In 2011 the Community Law & Business Clinic published the first edition of the North Carolina Foreclosure Manual. Recently updated in 2013, this guide provides answers to the most common questions raised by homeowners and their advocates as they face foreclosure proceedings. The most recent edition of the guide is available online.

Since 2010, the CLBC has represented more than 100 families facing foreclosure and, in most cases, assisted these families in protecting their housing by securing modifications or settlements in civil proceedings. If you are facing foreclosure, and would like information about your options, contact the Community Law & Business Clinic.

Posted by Steve Virgil

BizLaunch 2013

The Community Law & Business Clinic will be at the BizLaunch 2013 Resources Fair on August 6, 2013 at Forsyth Tech West Campus. We will speak to small business owners about legal issues they may be having with their startups. It is oftentimes difficult for small businesses to afford the legal assistance they need. Part of the CLBC’s mission is to increase access to competent legal counsel by offering pro bono legal services, enhancing the chances of success.

Learn more about BizLaunch 2013. We’ll see you there!

Posted by Casey Crowley

What’s the Difference Between a Manager and a Director?

A common problem in the non-profit realm is the relative murkiness of the director role in the organization.

Leadership in for-profit corporations is relatively clear-cut, though not necessarily simple. Boards of Directors are responsible for high-level functions, including strategic-level oversight of operations and financial position, managing and supervising upper-level managers, and making sure that the fiduciary duties they owe the company are being fulfilled. Managers in these companies are in charge of implementing the strategic-level initiatives and policies of the Board of Directors. The overarching goal, of course, is to maximize value for stockholders, who are the owners of the company.

These roles in the not-for-profit ream, however, can be unclear or unstructured. Part of the problem lies in the fact that the organizations are small and the reporting structure flat. It is common for a non-profit founder to wear several hats, especially at the startup stage.

So what does a not-for-profit Director actually do? Simply put, a good director raises or donates money, and makes sure program services are administered in a responsible and sustainable way. If you find yourself doing day-to-day management activities as a director, it’s time to find new managers.

Posted by Casey Crowley

CLBC-Urban League Small Business Seminar – Week 4

This week, Clinic Director Steve Virgil stopped by the Urban League’s Quality of Life Institute to wrap up the CLBC-Urban League Seminar Series.

This week, regulation and licensing was on the docket for discussion. Unfortunately, the array of regulation can often make starting small businesses a daunting task. Part of the reason for this difficulty stems from the fact that sectors where small businesses are apt to come from–often food and service–are also those with a particularly cumbersome regulatory burden. Lack of access to pro bono or affordable legal assistance simply compounds the problem.

Hopefully, the seminar presentation and slides (below) lay out a road map for aspiring or current business owners, allowing them to spot legal hurdles before they become problems. Don’t hesitate to contact us to see if we can assist you in complying with the applicable regulations, licensing requirements and employment laws.

Slides from the presentation are available online.

Posted by Casey Crowley

CLBC-Urban League Small Business Seminar – Week 3

This week at the Urban League, the focus was on finance. The big takeaway here is no surprise: get an accountant. Knowing how a company makes money and where it goes is the very essence of a for-profit business. Pricing a product, for example, is nearly impossible without knowing how much it costs the company to make it.

In the non-profit realm, an eye for the financials is important, although the equation is reversed: the amount of money coming in dictates the subsequent activities of the organization. Cash flow is a prerequisite for, rather than a consequence of, operations.

Slides from the presentation are available online.

Posted by Casey Crowley

CLBC-Urban League Small Business Seminar – Week 2

This week’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Seminar covered intellectual property, governance and Director fiduciary duties.

Intellectual property protection often can seem like something that can be put off, but protecting your ideas–especially in the context of a startup–can enhance your ability to monetize your ideas and is vital in accessing funding sources.

While somewhat less diverting, proper governance is no less important to the success of a company or nonprofit. Make sure you and your directors understand the differences in role of managers and directors, and the fiduciary duties that directors owe to the organization. Failure to cleave to these duties can have serious ramifications for both the director and the organization.

Slides from the presentation are available online.

Posted by Casey Crowley

CLBC-Urban League Small Business Seminar – Week 1

This week’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Seminar covered business entity types and the legal implications thereof, and Steve Blank’s Business Model Canvas. The Business Model Canvas is a great 30,000-foot exercise which helps break down the monolithic task of business planning into intuitive, bite-sized steps. Creating such a model for small businesses prior to meeting with your attorney can help you both plan legal representation and spot potential legal issues before they arise.

The slides from the presentation can be found here.

Posted by Casey Crowley

Community Law and Business Clinic partners with Urban League

The CLBC-Urban League Small Business and Entrepreneurship Seminar Series kicked off this week at the Urban League’s Quality of Life Institute on Patterson Ave. The kickoff was largely a chance for participants to get an idea of what will be covered in the next 4 weeks. Check out the Winston-Salem Journal’s announcement of the partnership and coverage of the kickoff event.

Posted by Casey Crowley