Moving your company abroad, or even to another state, can be a daunting task. It’s not just a matter of moving a few computers, desks, and chairs. There are so many aspects involved in a company move, some very evident--and others not so much, that it’s easy to just forget about the whole idea, even when you know it’s the right move for your company.
Avoiding these five frequently-made mistakes will help you make your company move a success.
You may have several good reasons to relocate your business. Before you start signing on the bottom line of a new lease, first and foremost consider the legal and tax issues. It is imperative that you review these issues ahead of time. Failure to do so may lead to many costly mistakes.
For example, if you move to another state, what are the requirements for registering as a foreign entity? Also consider the tax implications of maintaining your current business and registering as a foreign entity. Maybe it is better to dissolve your current entity and reincorporate in the new state. Or, perhaps there is another approach.
The same considerations should be examined with respect to relocating to another country. You will need to either establish a stand-alone business or form a subsidiary . Decide which is the best way to go – legally and for tax reasons … and in both states or countries.
Review your current contracts to make sure you aren’t breaching any clause with your move. Also, what are the legal requirements in your new location? And, make sure you have all the permits and licenses required to do business in the new venue.
Review these things ahead of time to make sure the otherwise-attractive relocation makes sense from a legal and tax perspective. Work with seasoned professionals in assessing the move and formulating your plan.
Finalize paperwork ahead of time so your business does not miss a beat.
This is an aspect that could be easily forgotten in the excitement of relocating. Make sure to update your website with the address and phone numbers of your new location, or even better, announce it on your page ahead of time. Also, change your company address and phone numbers in your business documents, such as brochures, business cards, merchandise, banners, billboards, press artwork, or any other marketing material.
Additionally, if you’re relocating to Mexico , for example, or to any other country where English is not the main language, and you want to target the local market, have a professional translation company translate your website. Also, make sure it’s properly localized , with the mannerisms, expressions, and idiosyncrasy of the new country. A bad translation is spotted at a mile’s distance.
If you’re moving overseas, make sure there are no issues with your logo, or with the translation of your business name or tagline. Big corporations like Pepsi, Gap, and American Airlines have their place in the Hall of Shame of bad translation and localization. Don’t let that happen to you.
There’s a saying that goes, if a lot of people are in charge, nobody is in charge. When you’re relocating your company, every department is affected. All of their actions should be centralized and orchestrated by one single person; otherwise, things can go really wrong, there may be serious delays that may cost you thousands of dollars.
There should be one person in charge of the entire move, someone who is responsible for coordinating everyone’s schedules and actions. This person could be someone within the firm, or an external project manager hired specifically to work on your relocation.
The person in charge should be knowledgeable about every step of the process, from the beginning to the end – up to and including being fully operational in your new location.
There are multiple opportunities for things to go wrong when you are relocating. The best defense is a good offense: be prepared. Outline each step of the move and what is needed from each department and when. Think through various scenarios, and have backup plans.
Allow plenty of time to move. Don’t leave everything to the last minute. Some buildings or warehouses have specific schedules to make a move, find out about those ahead of time. Also, there may be obstacles, or you might have to make adjustments to your furniture or to the existing cubicle walls. Also, the IT department needs to install the computers, telephone lines, and other equipment, and run tests.
Depending on the size of your company, at least a week must be allotted for the move. Obviously, you’ll need more time if you have to move manufacturing machinery, instead of just office equipment.
Also, take into account that something (a machine, a computer, paper files, and so on) could be damaged or lost in the move. Have a backup plan in case that happens, and don’t forget to get insurance for your valuables.
Last and not least, a company move is a huge expense whether it is international or domestic. The right moving company can make or break the logistics, and you don’t want to incur unnecessary expenses because equipment, a machine, or your servers, were not properly handled.
Contact several moving companies, conduct thorough research, read reviews by previous customers, and keep in mind that, as in many other things in life, “cheaper” does not usually mean “better.” It’s safest to invest a little more in a reputable moving company, than having to spend lots of money in equipment repairs or replacements.
As you can imagine, these aspects are vital for a company move, and they cannot be ignored. Surprisingly, though, they’re often overlooked, and the consequences can be devastating.
Have a seasoned business strategist and attorney work with you on your company relocation plan. That way, your move will be as smooth and efficient as you imagine, you’ll minimize costs, delays, and most importantly, keep your mind at ease, knowing your company relocation is in good hands.
The driverless car industry is hot and super-competitive. That’s a given. Here’s what’s not hot if you are Waymo, the self-driving car business that was spun out of Google’s parent company:
Recently, there was a trademark spat between Adidas and Tesla. The story piqued my interest because the big players make mistakes that are instructive for small businesses (only on a grander scale)—and because it illustrates the importance of brand identity and underscores why it’s smart to register your mark.In a nutshell, here’s what happened: Tesla filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to register its Model 3, three-bar logo as a trademark. If the registration had been for the purpose of using the mark on a car, there would not have been a problem. BUT, Tesla registered to use its three-bar “E” on clothing. Adidas, a company known for rigorous policing of its brand identity, challenged Tesla’s right to register the mark as confusingly similar to the Adidas three-bar logo. Tesla withdrew its application. Adidas protected its three-bar brand identity.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the largest regional trade agreement in history, between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries. Following in the footsteps of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Mexico, and Canada, the TPP expands upon this to establish new rules for global trade by eliminating 18,000 tariffs, promoting an open internet, disciplining state-owned enterprises, and establishing environmental and worker protection. Its aim is to increase Made-In-America exports, grow the US economy, support higher-paying US jobs, and strengthen the middle class.
You've probably heard references to the TPP in recent campaign coverage. It is the result of years of trade negotiations, and has been hailed as a hallmark victory for the Obama administration. However, the agreement is still in limbo, pending ratification by Congress--a delay that hardly comes as a surprise. And, both presidential candidates for the major parties have come out against the TPP. Given this, the future of the TPP is up in the air.
Supporters hope for a vote during the lame-duck session, but the TPP's passage could very likely depend on the next presidential administration. In the meantime, we are left to consider the implications of passage of this agreement, as well as its impact on NAFTA, a pre-existing trade agreement of a similar nature.
The TPP is a piece of legislation I have been closely following, and recently had the opportunity to moderate a panel entitled, "The Impact of TPP on NAFTA: Opportunity for Strengthening Ties -- Or Recipe for Disaster." Panel members included Aristeo Lopez of the Mexican Embassy, Laura Sierra of Alston & Bird, Nicholas Guzman of Drinker, Biddle & Reath, and Greg Kanargelidis of Blake, Cassels & Graydon.
The American Bar Association Section of International sponsored this event with the intention of presenting US, Mexican, and Canadian standpoints on the TPP and the impact of its passage on NAFTA. What followed was a thoughtful and informative discussion, and although the topic is highly complex, I thought I'd share some highlights with you.
Ms. Sierra explained some of the political context surrounding the TPP, including that the US has historically been pro-trade, and this is the first time since 1992 that trade has been a significant issue in presidential election year politics. US FTAs are modeled after NAFTA. The agreement eliminates a significant number of tariffs that would be beneficial to US businesses, but there are dissenting voices. Some of the concerns include employment issues, the manipulation of currencies by various countries, and opposition in specific industries such as auto, segments of agriculture and pharmaceuticals and biologics whose concerns were not addressed in the agreement. For example, intellectual property protection for biologics is not included in the agreement.
Mr. Lopez pointed out the benefits of NAFTA--growth in trade between Mexico and the US, especially--and explained that the TPP is intended to expand upon this growth, with attention to subjects that were treated less comprehensively in NAFTA. Another goal of TPP, in Mr. Lopez' view, is to strengthen Mexico's ties to NAFTA and other FTA partners, allowing Mexican goods to reach new markets.
Mr. Kanargelidis noted that the TPP is not intended to replace or override NAFTA, but that the two agreements can co-exist. He pointed out US, Mexican, and Canadian businesses can operate under the clauses of whichever agreement is most favorable to them in a given transaction. For example, the "de minimis" value threshold is 10% under TPP, and only 7% under NAFTA.
An audience member posed the question of whether TPP shipments will be exempt from US Merchandise Processing Fees (MPF) like NAFTA shipments are. Mr. Guzman explained that even though TPP does away with "ad valorem" fees, US Customs might find another way to collect MPF that is compliant with the agreement. He also described the TPP's "focused value" methodology for determining goods' origin, which might be more stringent than NAFTA methods.
Opponents to the TPP often cite concerns about the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision, which outlines the mechanism by which agreement disputes can be settled. Mr. Lopez explained that the TPP’s ISDS provisions are more transparent than those found in NAFTA.
At the conclusion of the panel, Ms. Sierra suggested that a full renegotiation of the TPP is unlikely, given that the agreement was difficult to reach in the first place, and that several countries have already ratified it. However, we might see some side letters that result in alterations to the text pertaining to certain issues. Panelists agreed that the TPP will pass. It’s a matter of time and final form.
The TPP has been negotiated between 12 countries who together form about 40% of GDP, and 1/3 of world trade. The agreement is of an unprecedented scope, and the implications of this agreement are huge. We will soon know if it can pass during the lame-duck session before the election, which is fast approaching!
Granville, Kevin. “The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Explained.” The New York Times. 20 August 2016. Web.“The Trans-Pacific Partnership.” Office of the United States Trade Representative. Executive Office of the President. 2016. Web.
In July, we reviewed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) that passed in Congress by a sweeping majority, and was signed into law by President Obama on May 11—a rare piece of legislation that was largely agreed upon on both sides of the aisle!
In this post, “Trade Secrets: Part Two,” I want to emphasize the importance of understanding what a trade secret is, regardless of whether it is under the DTSA or state law. Surprisingly, many businesses I work with rely heavily on trade secrets for their economic livelihood, and they don’t know it. Not knowing and not tending to that little gold mine of yours can mean a significant financial hit to your business in many ways, not the least of which is losing your competitive advantage.
So, what are the components of a trade secret, and how do you protect it? Think of it in threes: the three key elements of a trade secret and three steps to protect it.