Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 11, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 16



 Mountain Views News Saturday August 11, 2012 


The latest on Business News, Trends and Techniques

By La Quetta M. Shamblee, MBA


Becoming familiar with the laws that impact 
your business is critical to your success. 
It takes only one small misstep to create a 
web of frustration and huge legal expenses 
for things that can be avoided altogether by 
knowing the basics about the laws that relate 
to your business. You can start with a review 
of what you may already know about laws in 
the five key areas below.

Local laws: What licenses and/or permits are 
required to operate your business? Most cities 
require an annual license for any individuals 
or organizations involved in collected money 
in exchange for products or services. This 
includes home-based businesses.

Staffing: Will you hire employees or 
independent contractors? The laws and tax 
implications differ and it is imperative that you 
know the difference. Employers are required 
to adhere to certain standards to comply 
with federal and state laws. Companies that 
have certain government contracts may also 
have requirements to adhere to guidelines 
established within a specific jurisdiction (i.e. 
Los Angeles County) 

Facilities: Is your place of business in 
compliance with building codes and 
standards for your type of business? If 
you’re open to the public, is it accessible 
to individuals with limited mobility to 
comply with federal ADA (Americans with 
Disabilities Act).

Products & Services: Do you need 
professional licensing or certification to 
market and sell your products and/or 

Other areas of high priority include contracts 
and written agreements used in the operation 
of your business, and recordkeeping for 
banking, accounting and taxes. You don’t 
need to be an expert in any of these areas, 
but taking time to gain an understanding 
of the basic requirements in each areas is a 
necessity for every entrepreneur. Start with a 
simple search on the internet where you will 
find volumes of free information, including 
links to additional resources. Your state 
government’s website is a great place to start. 
In California, visit


Businesses are printing QR 
codes on packaging, signs, 
t-shirts, brochures, ads and 
other print collateral to 
drive traffic to designated 
landing areas on the web. 
A QR (Quick Response) 
code is a type of bar code 
that can be scanned or read 
on a smart phone with an 
app like “ATTScanner.” The 
code is linked to some type 
of digital content on the 

Setting up a QR code is easy 
and usually takes just a few 
minutes. (Search for QR 
code generators on Google 
and you will find lots of free 
options.) The tricky part is 
coming up with a good idea 
and campaign for your QR 
codes. If you are just getting 
started with QR codes, here 
are 5 ideas you might consider:

1. Set up a QR code to build your email list. For example, Jamba Juice has a QR code sign 
at their counter. While you are waiting for your smoothie, you can scan the QR code and sign up 
to become a Jamba Juice “Insider” to get coupons and offers emailed to you. If you use Constant 
Contact for email marketing, they have a QR code generator for email sign ups; it’s very easy to 
create and takes about 2 minutes to set up. (Look under the section called “Grow my Contacts” in 
the Constant Contact tools.)

2. Be creative with QR code signs at trade shows: D-Lux 57 (designer aprons) hangs a wall of 
framed QR codes in their trade show booths. Each framed QR code links to something different; join 
the mailing list, product information, their main web site, other product categories like their mother 
and daughter line and QR codes that make it easy to connect with them on a variety of social media 
sites (see photo).

3. Use QR codes for customer service videos. If you sell a physical product, put a QR code on 
your packaging that links to a video about how to use the product, how to set it up, how it works etc. 
You want to make sure to put your videos in a tool that plays video on a smart phone; YouTube is 
usually the best bet.

4. Think like a museum. If you have a physical location that has interesting eye candy, say a 
statue or painting, you might put a QR code sign next to it that links to a fun facts or history page. 
You might even create a QR code treasure hunt if you have multiple pieces in your facility.

5. Give incentives for using your QR code. Set up a call to action (join your email list or other 
type of registration), give instructions to show that they have signed up at point of purchase to receive 
some type of instant gratification (coupon, free drink, discount etc.) 

About MJ: MJ and her brother David own HUTdogs, a creative services business that specializes in Social Media 
Education for business owners. Join their conversation on Facebook and get good tips and tricks about social media, ign up for their upcoming classes and presentations at:

KNOW…………….. By Patricia Richardson, M.B.A

If you are forever looking for transactions in your QuickBooks database you 
will like the new “Persistent search bar”. As an instructor I am constantly 
getting asked by students, “Where did this or that transaction go?” whenever 
they don’t get the results that they are looking for. First they don’t think that 
they entered the transaction so they enter it again (same transaction, same 
results), they fiddle around some more and when they get totally lost, they ask 
that question. My response is always, “Use the Find button and enter the amount.” When searching 
for a specific entry, you can search using three options: equals an amount, more than an amount or 
less than an amount. They are always surprised when two or three transactions for the specific search 
are displayed. Good news! This upgraded feature now makes it easier. You will find it in the top 
right hand side of the screen, near the icon bar. You no longer have to try to remember which drop-
down menu to use to locate the edit options where the Find button is located. QuickBooks users can 
search details in QuickBooks transactions or lists as well as getting answers to questions on how to 
use QuickBooks. Simply type what you are looking for in the search box and click on the magnifying 
glass to initiate the search. 

Clicking on the search results opens a second window, which allows you to edit a list entry or create 
a transaction. The results can also be filtered by transaction type (check, deposit, bill, etc.), amount, 
and/or date range. The QuickBooks file’s icon bar can be customized to remove the search bar from 
displaying on the screen by right-clicking on the icon bar, then choosing Customize Icon Bar and 
removing the check mark from the box next to the Show Search Box in Icon Bar (shortcut key F3).

…On another note - Business Owners Beware!

The “California Labor Compliance Bureau” is not a government agency. The California Department 
of Industrial Relations (DIR) Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE/Labor Commissioner’s 
Office) announced that the group has reportedly distributed misleading business solicitations 
requiring immediate payment of a “processing fee” of $275.00 for labor-related postings. The group 
is not a government agency and does not have any affiliation with the Labor commissioner’s office. 

One of my clients was taken in by such a solicitation and when I told her it was not an official 
solicitation, but likely a scam, she called and her money was returned. Further, according to the 
DLSE; investigators who visit business to ensure compliance with labor laws will “never request 
payment in lieu of citations or ask for money onsite”. The DLSE investigator protocol is a follows:

• The investigator identifies him or herself,
• Discusses with the employer his or her rights and responsibilities during the inspection, as 
well as what happens during the process,
• Interviews the employer, employees and asks to review records that demonstrate hours 
worked by the employees, workers’ compensation policy for the employer, payroll records and 
related documentation. The investigator may call to verify that the employer’s workers compensation 
policy is up to date,
• If additional records or an audit is required, the investigator makes a notation of the items 
needed and frequently asks the employer to appear at the local district office to present the required 
• It is never proper for an investigator to request any kind of payment during the inspection, 
• Gives the employer a written record of any citation and discusses the employer’s right to file 
an appeal. 

Patricia Richardson the owner of Monrovia Computerized Business Service and is a local accountant, 
educator and trainer working to help business owners realize their business mission and vision by 
empowering them with tools and training in areas that may not be their core competency. For additional 
information, or 


by Noah Green1

 For the owner of a small business, getting served with a lawsuit can feel like the 
approach of a giant wave ready to topple their little boat. After all, small businesses usually 
have tight budgets and little ability to pay the sums demanded by the party filing the lawsuit, 
let alone hire an attorney to defend their business. The purpose of this article is to give small 
business owners a few ideas to help them survive the case.

If the small business owner has received a letter threatening litigation or an actual Complaint 
initiating a lawsuit, they should forward it to their own lawyer immediately. The time when 
a case is young is a valuable opportunity to sit down and have an honest conversation about 
who the plaintiff is, what they want, and whether they are actually entitled to it. Moreover, 
this beginning phase is when a case can be settled for pennies on the dollar and at a low cost 
in terms of attorney’s fees. The longer the case drags on, the harder it may be to settle as each 
side invests more resources and needs to “win” in order to get a return on their investment 
or even avoid bankruptcy. The central point is this: The quicker a case can be ended, the 
less expensive it will be and the likelihood of a small business surviving and growing will 

 If the case cannot be resolved quickly, it is time to batten down the hatches and prepare for 
battle. The following is a list of a few cost-saving measures that can be employed to help keep 
down expenses while still aggressively litigating the case:

- Insurance Coverage – If the claim is covered by insurance, the business will usually 
not have to pay anything out of its own pocket in terms of settlement dollars or attorney’s 
fees. Review the claim with your attorney to determine if there is applicable insurance 

- Avoid Motions – Motions filed by the defense attempting to get the case thrown out 
before it goes to the jury are usually denied by the judge and are generally a waste of time 
and money. Better to simply begin gathering evidence and preparing for trial.

 - Depose the “Star Witness” First – Depositions are time-consuming and 

 therefore costly. Minimize the number of depositions necessary to resolve 

 the case by first deposing the opposition’s “Star Witness” who knows 

 most about the case. Secondary witnesses may sometimes be avoided as 

 they generally know less and simply repeat what the Star Witness said.

- Avoid Experts – Expert witnesses are very expensive. Moreover, their 

 testimony is often not taken seriously by jurors because they know the 

 experts have been 
paid for their opinions. 
Avoid using experts unless 
absolutely necessary.

In sum, if the case cannot 
be settled quickly there 
are tools available to 
the company’s attorney 
that can be employed in 
order to litigate the case 
on a cost-efficient basis. 
Lawsuits will never be 
cheap, but a good attorney 
should be able to reduce 
the expenses and help the 
small business live to fight 
another day. 

1 Noah Green lives in Sierra Madre and works as an attorney handling business litigation at the Ryan Law Firm in 
Pasadena, CA. He can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at (626) 568-8808.


For the third consecutive year the Los Angeles 
County Economic Development Corporation 
(LAEDC) has selected the City of Duarte as one 
of five finalists for the Most Business-Friendly 
City in Los Angeles County award in the 
category of cities with a population of 60,000 
and under. The winning city will be announced 
at the 17th annual Eddy Awards on Nov. 8 at 
the Beverly Hilton.

 LAEDC created the “business-friendly” 
award category in 2006 to recognize cities with 
the County that are proactively promoting 
business-friendly programs and services. 

 “You are to be congratulated for your 
leadership and your city council and staff should 
take great pride in the role you are all playing 
to keep quality jobs in L.A. County,” said, 
LAEDC President and CEO William C. Allen, in 
announcing Duarte’s selection as a finalist.

 In receiving the news, Duarte City 
Manager, Darrell George said, “It is rewarding to 
be recognized by your colleagues and economic 
development professionals for this honor. 
Business retention, expansion, and attraction has 
been and will remain at the top of our priority 
list even as we confront the challenges of difficult 
economic times, staff reductions, and the State’s 
abolishment of redevelopment agencies.”

 Finalists in the category, which 
in addition to Duarte include the cities of 
Commerce, El Segundo, Glendora, and La 
Mirada, were selected based on:

• Demonstrated commitment to economic 
development as a priority.
• Excellence in programs and services 
designed to facilitate business entry, expansion, 
and retention.
• Economic development activity over the 
past three years.
• Competitive business tax rates and fee 
• Availability of economic incentives.
• Effective communication with and about 
business clients

The City of Duarte has a pro-business attitude 
mindset that is shared by its entire staff and is 
driven by the overarching desire to encourage 
economic development, bolster the City’s 
economy, and create a better Duarte for residents 
and employees alike.

In the past year, Duarte has amended its Filming 
Ordinance becoming one of the first cities to 
adopt the California Film Commission’s Model 
Ordinance and Guidelines for Best Practices 
in Film Regulations and Policies. In response 
to the voices of local struggling businesses, 
the City adopted a 12-month suspension of 
Code Enforcement on selected temporary 
sign regulations; and the City Council entered 
into a contract with “Nextdoor” to establish 
a private social networking site for local 
neighborhoods to foster neighbor and citywide 
social communication that also provides 
communication between residents and the local 
business community.

Duarte has set the standard that every employee 
be dedicated to the economic development goals 
of the City, with the Planning Department staff 
acting as economic development liaison for 
businesses desiring assistance. The City Manager, 
Community Development Director and other 
key staff outreach to the business community 
through regular business visits. Duarte supports 
quarterly business seminars on topics such as 
business management and website developments, 
hosts job fairs that focus on local businesses and 
workforce development, networking breakfasts 
and provides adequate staffing for its one-
stop permit center in order to streamline the 
development process. These city-funded services 
provide Duarte businesses with critical assistance 
and exposure as an added benefit offered at little 
to no cost.