Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 25, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 14



 Mountain Views News Saturday, August 25, 2012 


The latest on Business News, Trends and Techniques

Legal Insights by Noah Green1 

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.


 When used in everyday conversation the word “bankruptcy” 
carries with it connotations of poverty, incompetence, and failure. The 
idea that bankruptcy should be avoided at all costs is rooted deeply in our 
culture and that those who are “bankrupt” should be ashamed. 


 Yet bankruptcy has come a long way since the days of the debtor’s 
prisons of the nineteenth century. The right to file for bankruptcy is included in the Constitution, 
legislated by Congress, and interpreted by the federal courts. Moreover, as America is still slowly 
crawling out of the worst recession in 80 years, many more of your countryman have found themselves 
declaring bankruptcy over the last few years than one might realize. As an attorney who has been to 
bankruptcy court many times I can say that the quality of the courts, lawyers, and litigants is above 
and beyond what you may otherwise expect. In other words, it is all about money and business and 
the people there just want to fix their finances and are smart enough to take advantage of the laws 
created to help them do so.


So who typically files bankruptcy? Individuals and businesses who find themselves in the following 

Homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage but who may have the resources necessary 
to catch up if given enough time. These homeowners typically try to get a loan modification first, 
but their lender is unwilling to cooperate. Under Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code, if such 
homeowners are able to get a come up with a plan to pay off the outstanding balance over three-to-

five years they can get what amounts to a court-ordered loan modification. In some cases, the debt 
owed on a second mortgage may also be discharged entirely or “stripped” if the home is worth less 
than the value of the first mortgage, i.e., it is “underwater.”

Business owners who cannot work out repayment plans with their creditors but who may be 
able to repay their debts over time and just need a “timeout” to restructure should consider filing 
under Chapter 11. This Chapter is also available to real estate investors with multiple vacant rental 
properties who need to prevent foreclosures while they renovate and re-rent or sell some of their 

Individuals or businesses who are simply too far behind to ever catch up on their credit cards, 
medical bills or other debts, and who simply need a “fresh start” should file under Chapter 7. For a 
business filing under this Chapter it generally means that it will be dissolved. Yet this will allow its 
owners to possibly start another business while disposing of the debts and assets of the old one. On 
the other hand, individuals who file under Chapter 7 are generally be able to keep their personal 
property (other than a home with defaulted mortgages) while having their outstanding debts 
discharged, with the exception of certain debts such as student loans or child support payments. 
Though the debtor’s credit rating will suffer for several years, they will never have to dig their way 
out from under the mountain of debt they find themselves under. 

 In short, bankruptcy should not be considered a shameful thing. Rather, it is a legitimate and 
in some cases wise business decision that every citizen has the right to use in order to rectify their 
financial situation. 

By La Quetta M. Shamblee, MBA


The 90-day countdown to Christmas will begin approximately 30 days from now. For businesses that 
offer products or services appropriate as gifts, the days following Thanksgiving thru Christmas Eve 
can account for a significant portion of annual sales. This short time period accounts for more than 
50% of annual profits for some retailers. Those who understand this reality have probably had plans 
in place since the spring.


There is still time to finalize plans and make sure everything is in place to capitalize on the fast-
approaching holiday season. Consider a holiday marketing campaign designed around a specific 
product or line of products, or perhaps product displays with certain eye-catching color schemes. 
Once you settle on your plan, start spreading the word to your existing customers. Design and print 
colorful postcards or flyers to place inside packages with every sale to inform your customers of what 
you have available for their gift-giving needs. If you have a mailing list, this is a good time to use it to 
inform them of upcoming holiday specials and activities.

Whether you offer produces or services, having gift certificates or gift cards available is a smart idea. 
Some shoppers may not ask if you offer gift certificates, so be sure that you let all customers know by 
displaying the information in your store and on your website. Have you considered adding a festive 
touch to your shopping bags or packaging to add a little pizzazz to your customers’ experience of 
purchasing from you? Small, inexpensive touches using ribbon, tinsel or other simple accents will fit 
right in with Christmas decorations and music that puts adds to the holiday shopping mood.

A big budget isn’t always required to have a big impact. When it comes to promotional activities, 
“It’s the thought that counts” is an adage that carries a lot of weight. Hosting a holiday gathering 
with cookies and cider, or coffee and fruitcake at your place of business will serve as opportunity to 
demonstrate your appreciation for your customers. It will also allow you to meet and greet them, yet 
again, in your place of business.

What business owner do within the next 30 days will have a direct impact on how much they maximize 
sales and profits from the shopping that commences between the day that follows Thanksgiving, 
through Christmas Eve.

Make a quick QR code with

Most people think making a QR code is a lengthy and expensive process. But, you can actually make 
a QR code in less than 5 minutes for free with is a cool tool that allows you to shorten a long URL, share it and even track how many people 
click on it. Here is a cool trick that lets you make your shortened into a QR code:

1. Decide where you want your QR code to link (what url/web address). You can create as many 
QR codes as you want.
2. Go to (note – there is no “.com” in the address). Paste in the URL in top right 
“paste a link here.” Look for the new address that is generated. 
3. Copy the new address and paste it into the address bar of your web browser. At the end 
of your address simply add “.qr” (For example: (note, all we did was add 
the .qr on the end of the address and it automatically took us to a page with the QR code art)
4. Download the QR code art and use it on your printed material.
5. Make sure to give it a test on your own smart phone. We have found the ATTscanner app 
works great.

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, 

Sign up for their upcoming classes and presentations at:


 In today’s modern political biosphere, one 
would think that it would be nearly impossible 
to hide information that may be potentially 
damaging to a political campaign for any useful 
amount of time. It seems that nearly everything 
about anything can be found online, if one has 
the resources and the determination to dig deep 
enough and to find out most things, one doesn’t 
have to dig that deep in order to find it. 

 In the age of Google, YouTube and WikiLeaks, 
those in high places can be almost certain that if 
they’ve said or done anything unseemly at all it’s 
online somewhere. Forever. Information such 
as this wasn’t always this available to the public 
as it is today. Anyone who’s been around long 
enough to know what the Pentagon Papers were, 
or what the Watergate scandal was all about, 
can certainly remember the state of technology 
back then. We were just as likely to hear about 
Breaking News during the 6 o’clock News on TV 
or in the headlines of the next day’s newspaper. 
The 24-hour news cycle had not yet been born 
or even imagined in the minds of the most 
technologically forward-thinking people of the 
day. Most of the effort to break a story took the 
form of a reporter working his or her sources for 
information and corroborating the story before 
committing to ink or air because the consequences 
of “getting it wrong” were career-ending. Fast-
forward to today’s never-sleeping news cycle and 
the unrelenting pressure to “get it first”. Today’s 
reporters, bloggers and opiners can get the most 
intimate details of a story from the most reluctant 
of subjects by working online resources for nearly 
up-to-the-minute details about whatever the 
subject may have said, thought or done around a 
particular topic of interest.

 On Thursday, the website Gawker (http:// released what it is calling, “The 
Bain Files”. These documents, totaling more than 
950 pages, purport to show that Presidential 
candidate Mitt Romney was far more intimately 
involved in the workings of Bain Capital than 
he has admitted thus far. During his campaign, 
the candidate has repeatedly stated he retired 
from the private equity firm in 1999. Further 
investigation revealed his signature on documents 
well into the 2000’s. These documents show in 
detail the complicated financial underpinnings 
of his business dealings and investments in the 

 This disclosure is significant because Mr. 
Romney has been opaque to the point of barring 
the press from asking about his financial dealings, 
even though it has been commonplace for 
candidates to high public office to disclose such 
information to the public. This candidate has also 
refused to release any of his full tax returns for 
public inspection. 

 Presidential candidates have released tax 
returns to the public and to their parties as part 
of the vetting process since the days of the Great 
Depression, with figures such as Ronald Reagan, 
George H. Bush, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton 
releasing 8 years worth of returns each. Mitt 
Romney’s father, George Romney, released 12 
years of returns when he ran for office, but the 
record goes to Bob Dole who released 23 years 
of returns during his bid for the Presidency. Next 
to these predecessors, Mr. Romney is starting to 
look very pale in comparison. 

 I suppose his reluctance doesn’t matter 
too much. In this age of the Internet Sleuth, 
something tells me that we’ll all be getting a good 
look at Mr. Romney’s tax returns whether or not 
he cooperates with the process. 

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

Call me sooner rather than later! 

QuickBooks 2012 has a new Easy Setup function 
that is in every Pro and non-accountant edition 
of Premier; Intuit says “Who should use it? Any 
company that is new (or new to QuickBooks) 
should use it if it is being created by someone 
who is not well-versed in QuickBooks”. Well there 
is; you have it; Intuit thinks they have designed 
a product that anybody can use. Well let me say 
that the business owners I work with are usually 
entrepreneurs; people with a big vision who can 
conceptualize the path to get where they want 
to go. Their vision does not usually include the 
accounting grunt work required to maintain the 
record keeping needed to satisfy government 
agencies. So go ahead, use this new feature and I 
am prepared to help you. Just don’t forget that I 
suggested that you should call me before not after 
this happens. 

Use the Express Start setup option to get going 
in QuickBooks quickly and easily; answer five 
basic questions in three screens and get going? 
This is great for new users and non-accountants 
who may experience trepidation (and who might 
put off starting to use QuickBooks as a result) at 
the notion of a full company setup. The answers 
to the questions can be modified later if desired. 
You can access this function by selection the File 
menu. When the QuickBooks Setup dialog box 
opens, click on the Express Start button. Intuit 
also says that “this feature is cool because it lets 
you set up your own company files within a couple 
of minutes, even though you may not know 
everything you need to know ultimately to use 
QuickBooks to its fullest on an ongoing basis”. 

There is also a new Auto Data Recovery feature 
that is a hidden feature in Pro and all non-
Accountant versions of Premier. It comes in very 
handy when there are corruption problems that 
prevent you from opening the data file at all. It 
picks up where the File Diagnostic Tool and the 
verify/rebuild functions leave off.

The Auto Data Recovery lurks in the background. 
It stealthily makes copies of the data and *.TLG 
files and places them in a subfolder (named 
“QuickBooks Auto Data Recovery”) of the 
directory in which the data file resides. To prevent 
confusion, despite the separate nested location, 
the files have a *.ADR name. These files are created 
every 12 hours, with a maximum of two files (12 
hours old and 24 hours old) for each company (so 
that there are two historical points to which you 
can restore data if necessary). 

Should the worst happen and you cannot open 
your data file, it may be necessary to restore the 
data file to a recent point before the problem arose. 
Tech support and articles can guide you to finding 
these *.ADR files, renaming them, and having 
them replace the live corrupted file. This feature 
is important because it enables you to restore a 
corrupted data file even if no backups or portable 
copies were taken. You have two historical points 
from which to choose for restoration. 

Okay, another scam warning (not my 

I received in the mail the other day what looked like 
an official request to renew my fictitious business 
name, Monrovia Computerized Business Service. 
It would cost 89.00 and “Please send the check 
right away to avoid losing the name”. The letter was 
CENTER DIAMOND BAR California. I thought 
that if this was an official form why was it not 
already filled out since the County Recorder has 
all of my business information and it seemed as 
though I had just renewed my fictitious business 

I opened up my QuickBooks file and looked 
under licenses and permits to see what I had 
paid and when. Sure enough there I found my 
payments in 1998, 2003 and 2008 for $27.00 each. 
I contacted the Los Angeles County Recorder (the 
reporting agency for fictitious business names) 
and sure enough I was in good standing (you can 
check on-line) and my next renewal date is in 
2013; the renewal period is 5 years and the cost 
will be $27.00. Prior to renewal you should receive 
a filled in postcard from the Los Angeles County 
Recorder. If you receive a letter from a company in 
Diamond Bar you can check the company name 
on-line to see if a complaint has been filed, I did 
and I just threw the letter away. 

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, patti@ or