How the Sharks- Tank

Neil Siskind is the Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment
Neil-Siskind-photo
Learn more at:  http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

 

Neil Siskind is the Conservator of the Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve
Neil-Siskind-Picture

The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River. The Preserve includes a variety of species of animal and plant life, and is a precious example of the thoughtful maintenance of New York’s priceless open spaces. The land’s uses are limited to outdoor recreation such as hiking and climbing, and the study of ecology, nature and land use. The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve allows for the intelligent contemplation of our valuable natural resources and the most effective ways to protect and maximize them.
Neil Siskind, Founder, “National Fatherhood Day”- March 29th

Neil-Siskind-pics
To encourage recognition of the needs of boys and girls who are living without fathers or father-figures in their lives.

Read about the non-profits and charities whose missions Neil Siskind supports at: www.neilsiskindsupports.com

You can read what clients and associates are saying about Neil Siskind at: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-bio/.

Neil Siskind’s Volunteer Work:
Volunteer, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Donate to one of my needy public classrooms: http://www.donorschoose.org/NeilSiskindGiving

Help Neil Siskind make sick children’s wishes come true: Neil-Siskind/Help-Make-A-Child-Smile.htm

Help Neil Siskind help children with cancer to be more comfortable: http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR?px=3182108&fr_id=2632&pg=personal

Champion Children– We seek to inspire people through stories of children who have overcome challenges: http://siskindlawfirm.com/champion-children/

Neil Siskind’s Pro Bono Work:
Protecting New York’s senior citizens from fraud and financial abuse www.savingseniorcitizens.com
siskindsenior-logo

Senior FreeStart Business- Pro Bono: We seek to help put senior citizens in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

Veteran FreeStart Business- Pro Bono: We seek to help put Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

Neil Siskind’s Philanthropic & Environmental Work:

-Hudson Riverfront Land Conservation: The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River.

-Founder & Chairman, The Fatherhood Assignment: A think tank to educate the public about, and advocate for the children of absentee fathers. http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

-Founder and Developer of “National Fatherhood Day” (TM), observed annually on March 29th, to encourage recognition of the needs of boys and girls who are living without fathers or father-figures in their lives.

Neil Siskind’s Government Work:

-Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Boston, MA, 1994, Intern
-Office of Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Newington, CT, 1992, Intern
-Hartford County Department of Probation, Hartford, CT, 1991, Intern

Neil Siskind’s Community Assistance:

Established and operated a temporary legal clinic offering inexpensive legal services to struggling Long Islanders during the recession to help clients resolve debt, plan estate matters, organize finances, start small businesses and obtain governmental assistance such as Medicaid.

Neil Siskind’s linkedin URL: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/

 

Article:

As smart and wise- and accomplished- as the Shark Tank “Sharks” are, sometimes they get it wrong on big and important issues.

Kevin fails to see the value of brand equity. If a product does not have a patent, Kevin feels it is not valuable. If a woman is selling delicious chocolate covered pretzels with vanilla frosting to a wide audience with repeat sales, Kevin will ask what it is that prevents him from doing the same. That question totally disregards brand equity. What about Cheerios? What about Walmart? These are not patented products. They are products people like, with trademarks people trust, leading to repeat sales. Mark is usually the one to set Kevin straight on these matters.

But an even bigger misconception propagated in the Tank is that an investor needs 51% or more ownership of a business in order to have control over business decisions. This is not always true. In New York, for example, the majority owner of the interests of an LLC does not always have the majority voting percentages. It depends on how the LLC is set up. Alternatively, a member of the LLC may own only 30%, 40% or 50% of the membership interests, but have 51% or more of the voting percentages. The Sharks say that they need at least 51% of the equity so that they can keep control of the operation and protect their respective investments…but in New York, and probably in other states, it’s not true.

Entrepreneurs in New York can continue to have the majority ownership in their respective companies while providing a Shark with voting control over operations. Here is the relevant provision of the New York LLC Law:

§  402.  Voting  rights  of  members.  (a)  Except  as provided in the
operating agreement, in managing the affairs of  the  limited liability
company,  electing  managers or voting on any other matter that requires
the vote at a meeting of the  members  pursuant  to  this  chapter,  the
articles  of  organization  or the operating agreement, each member of a
limited liability company shall vote  in  proportion  to  such  member’s
share  of  the  current  profits  of  the  limited  liability company in
accordance with section five hundred three of this chapter.

Notice the first sentence: “Except as provided in the operating agreement…”.  The operating agreement can say whatever the members want it to say. Each entrepreneur’s state law should be reviewed.

Moreover, Sharks can do deals where their voting percentages increase if they cause sales to increase, or where a Shark’s voting percentages decrease if they fail to induce an increase in product purchases. This would not affect the equity percentages.

Even more simply, a Shark can be designated as an LLC’s managing member to make specified, or even all, operations and management decisions. A Shark can actually have as little as one (1) membership percentage interest to obtain this power.

So, when entrepreneurs refuse to give up 51% or more of their equity where the Sharks theorize that they need this in order to have operations-control to protect their respective investments, entrepreneurs may be right to refuse such offers. They should know that the Sharks can be given voting and management control without having an ownership majority……….and that’s how you bite a Shark back.

Advertisements

Entrepreneurship Has Been Institutionalized

Neil Siskind is the Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment
Neil-Siskind-photo
Learn more at:  http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

 

Neil Siskind is the Conservator of the Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve
Neil-Siskind-Picture

The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River. The Preserve includes a variety of species of animal and plant life, and is a precious example of the thoughtful maintenance of New York’s priceless open spaces. The land’s uses are limited to outdoor recreation such as hiking and climbing, and the study of ecology, nature and land use. The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve allows for the intelligent contemplation of our valuable natural resources and the most effective ways to protect and maximize them.

 
Neil Siskind, Founder, “National Fatherhood Day”- March 29th

Neil-Siskind-pics
To encourage recognition of the needs of boys and girls who are living without fathers or father-figures in their lives.

Read about the non-profits and charities whose missions Neil Siskind supports at: www.neilsiskindsupports.com

You can read what clients and associates are saying about Neil Siskind at: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-bio/.

Neil Siskind’s Volunteer Work:
Volunteer, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Donate to one of my needy public classrooms: http://www.donorschoose.org/NeilSiskindGiving

Help Neil Siskind make sick children’s wishes come true: Neil-Siskind/Help-Make-A-Child-Smile.htm

Help Neil Siskind help children with cancer to be more comfortable: http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR?px=3182108&fr_id=2632&pg=personal

Champion Children– We seek to inspire people through stories of children who have overcome challenges: http://siskindlawfirm.com/champion-children/

Neil Siskind’s Pro Bono Work:
Protecting New York’s senior citizens from fraud and financial abuse www.savingseniorcitizens.com
siskindsenior-logo

Senior FreeStart Business- Pro Bono: We seek to help put senior citizens in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

Veteran FreeStart Business- Pro Bono: We seek to help put Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

Neil Siskind’s Philanthropic & Environmental Work:

-Hudson Riverfront Land Conservation: The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River.

-Founder & Chairman, The Fatherhood Assignment: A think tank to educate the public about, and advocate for the children of absentee fathers. http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

-Founder and Developer of “National Fatherhood Day” (TM), observed annually on March 29th, to encourage recognition of the needs of boys and girls who are living without fathers or father-figures in their lives.

Neil Siskind’s Government Work:

-Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Boston, MA, 1994, Intern
-Office of Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Newington, CT, 1992, Intern
-Hartford County Department of Probation, Hartford, CT, 1991, Intern

Neil Siskind’s Community Assistance:

Established and operated a temporary legal clinic offering inexpensive legal services to struggling Long Islanders during the recession to help clients resolve debt, plan estate matters, organize finances, start small businesses and obtain governmental assistance such as Medicaid.

Neil Siskind’s linkedin URL: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/

 

 

Entrepreneurship Has Been Institutionalized

We hear magnificent stories of great startup successes leading to billion-dollar buyouts and public offerings. But thousands of new businesses fail every day. That is the side of the American dream to which we and the media do not bear witness. Failure lurks in the shadows while the small number of successes bask in the spotlight.

But I am not writing to highlight the failures, I am writing to highlight “the system” and the cause of failures in some cases.

Many startups, particularly in the technology space, are not the dreams of one small man or woman, as it may seem. They are often the brainchilds of experienced investors, or those with a connection to serious investors, including to private equity or venture capitalists. Often, new technology businesses are started by people having connections to would-be investors who, in turn, have connections to investment banks to take them public or larger company executives to buy them out. In other words, the exit strategy for a new idea and new business is often known from the get-go. While there is no problem with this in theory, in practice this deceives the masses of people who believe they have equal access to the American dream. An individual who has a business idea does not realize that a competitive idea may be fast-tracked for success through connections to investors and predetermined exit strategies. So while it seems that every good idea has equal chance of success, this is really not the case.

Shark Tank highlights the issue. Two investors with a similar idea or product are not on equal footing where one of the entrepreneurs has an investor with distribution contacts. One entrepreneur’s product may be better, but the entrepreneur with the ability to get his or her product into distribution is in a far better position to get an investor, sell the product and put the better, but less connected company out of business. The Sharks, of course, realize the value of distribution to a company’s success and often highlight their relationships with retailers. One phone call and one order can change the trajectory of a product or business.

All is fair in love and business. That’s for sure. It is unfortunate, however, that entrepreneurship has been institutionalized such that having financiers and distributors investing in one entrepreneur is a necessity and a great advantage to having the business prevail over another and better product. It is not about a better mousetrap. It is about the engine of business getting behind an idea or entrepreneur through a relationship- rather than due to ingenuity. Requiring the right relationship makes entrepreneurship as institutionalized a process as the corporate world itself. One business cannot start on a shoestring and some moxie, while a competitor is starting with a financier and a predetermined exit strategy. Just like business in the corporate world, entrepreneurship in this day and age is about who you know.

I am not suggesting that entrepreneurs throw in the towel. I am suggesting, however, that if an entrepreneur has an idea or product targeted at a potentially large market (as opposed to a local business concept), know the realities of entrepreneurship today, and use your time and resources to get a well-connected investor on board, with equity (contingent on them doing what they promise in terms of raising capital or obtaining shelf space), so that you can compete with another entrepreneur who has this tool to work with.

What is a “Flip” Really?

By: Neil Siskind, New York Lawyer http://www.siskindlawfirm.com

Neil Siskind is the Founder of The Fatherhood Assignment
Neil-Siskind-photo
Learn more at:  http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

Review Neil Siskind’s personal and professional references at: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-bio/

Volunteer, Pro Bono, and Government Background:
Learn about how we try to give back http://www.neilsiskindsupports.com

Neil Siskind’s Volunteer Work: Volunteer, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Donate to one of my needy public classrooms: http://www.donorschoose.org/NeilSiskindGiving
Help Neil Siskind make sick children’s wishes come true: Neil-Siskind/Help-Make-A-Child-Smile.htm

Neil Siskind’s Pro Bono Work: Protecting New York’s senior citizens from fraud and financial abuse www.savingseniorcitizens.com siskindsenior-logo

Champion Children – The Siskind Law Firm We seek to inspire people with stories of  children who have overcome challenges: http://siskindlawfirm.com/champion-children/
FreeStart Business – The Siskind Law Firm We seek to help put war veterans and senior citizens in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of  the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

Neil Siskind’s Philanthropic Work:
-Hudson Riverfront Land Preservation
-Founder, The Fatherhood Assignment: A think tank to educate the public about, and advocate for the children of absentee fathers. http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

Neil Siskind’s Government Work:
Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Boston, MA, 1994, Intern
Office of Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Newington, CT, 1992, Intern
Hartford County Department of Probation, Hartford, CT, 1991, Intern

Neil Siskind’s Community Assistance:
Established and operated a temporary legal clinic offering inexpensive legal services to struggling Long Islanders during the recession to help clients resolve debt, plan estate matters, organize finances, start small businesses and obtain governmental assistance such as Medicaid.

Neil Siskind’s linkedin URL: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/

Article:

The word “flip” or “flipping” is used to describe the process of buying a piece of property and reselling it either following, or without making necessary repairs and/or improvements. But, the term is actually not meant to apply in this manner.

The word “flip” in a real estate context actually applies to a contract assignment. This occurs when a buyer of property secures a contract to buy a property and then assigns- or “flips”-  the contract to a different buyer in exchange for a fee from such new buyer. So “flipping” really applies to selling contracts- not the underlying property for which the contract was made.

Residential property contracts are not typically ever “flipped”. This is because a seller wants to know exactly who is buying their house and that they have the credit to secure a loan. Absent a clause allowing for an assignment or “flip” of the contract to a third party, residential contracts can not be flipped. Contracts for commercial real estate are more normally the subject of an assignment or “flip”, as long as no provision in the contract specifically prevents it. In this day and age, where creditworthiness and the ability to secure financing is difficult, contracts may prevent a contract flip or at least require seller approval.

The reason that it is noteworthy to explain to what the word “flip” applies is because investors who are not professional investors, but who are simply looking for a house to improve and sell can easily get caught up in the terminology. When someone sets out to “flip” a house, their own verbiage can have a psychological impact on their expectations. A “flip” of a house is exactly the same as buying a house, putting in the work needed and putting it back on the market to sell for a profit. This takes knowledge, skill and time, and has risks. When a person thinks of the transaction in these terms, rather than just spouting out the word “flip”, it can hit home that there is a risk, capital costs and possibly a long time frame needed to take into consideration in the process. People believe that if they use the term “flip” that it will all go much faster. The word “flip”, historically, is one used by professional investors to lock up “commercial” properties, the contracts for which they feel they can assign to another buyer without ever having to close. They are making a bet. Moreover, they often used a skilled lawyer to negotiate a contract they can get out of if the “flip” cannot be achieved.

Another word or term that aspiring investors use today is “wholesaling”. This is more akin to a true “flip”, in that the original contract buyer does not intend to close on the property, but, rather, seeks to assign the contract to a new buyer in exchange for a fee.

A rose by any other name is of course, still a rose. But one needs to be careful not to call  a “rose” a “rose garden” in order to convince oneself that it can only bloom and be fruitful, but never die on the vine.

Business Owners- Evaluate Proclivities

Neil Siskind is the Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment
Neil-Siskind-photo
Learn more at:  http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

 

Neil Siskind is the Conservator of the Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve
Neil-Siskind-Picture

The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River. The Preserve includes a variety of species of animal and plant life, and is a precious example of the thoughtful maintenance of New York’s priceless open spaces. The land’s uses are limited to outdoor recreation such as hiking and climbing, and the study of ecology, nature and land use. The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve allows for the intelligent contemplation of our valuable natural resources and the most effective ways to protect and maximize them.

 

 
Neil Siskind, Founder, “National Fatherhood Day”- March 29th

Neil-Siskind-pics
To encourage recognition of the needs of boys and girls who are living without fathers or father-figures in their lives.

Read about the non-profits and charities whose missions Neil Siskind supports at: www.neilsiskindsupports.com

You can read what clients and associates are saying about Neil Siskind at: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-bio/.

Neil Siskind’s Volunteer Work:
Volunteer, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Donate to one of my needy public classrooms: http://www.donorschoose.org/NeilSiskindGiving

Help Neil Siskind make sick children’s wishes come true: Neil-Siskind/Help-Make-A-Child-Smile.htm

Help Neil Siskind help children with cancer to be more comfortable: http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR?px=3182108&fr_id=2632&pg=personal

Champion Children– We seek to inspire people through stories of children who have overcome challenges: http://siskindlawfirm.com/champion-children/

Neil Siskind’s Pro Bono Work:
Protecting New York’s senior citizens from fraud and financial abuse www.savingseniorcitizens.com
siskindsenior-logo

Senior FreeStart Business- Pro Bono: We seek to help put senior citizens in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

Veteran FreeStart Business- Pro Bono: We seek to help put Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

Neil Siskind’s Philanthropic & Environmental Work:

-Hudson Riverfront Land Conservation: The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River.

-Founder & Chairman, The Fatherhood Assignment: A think tank to educate the public about, and advocate for the children of absentee fathers. http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

-Founder and Developer of “National Fatherhood Day” (TM), observed annually on March 29th, to encourage recognition of the needs of boys and girls who are living without fathers or father-figures in their lives.

Neil Siskind’s Government Work:

-Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Boston, MA, 1994, Intern
-Office of Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Newington, CT, 1992, Intern
-Hartford County Department of Probation, Hartford, CT, 1991, Intern

Neil Siskind’s Community Assistance:

Established and operated a temporary legal clinic offering inexpensive legal services to struggling Long Islanders during the recession to help clients resolve debt, plan estate matters, organize finances, start small businesses and obtain governmental assistance such as Medicaid.

Neil Siskind’s linkedin URL: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/

 

Article:

No business today is immune from the instant worldwide dissemination of everyday-people’s comments about their products, services or internal business practices. If you operate a service business or if you have employees, you need to be aware of who you are serving or hiring in terms of their Internet proclivities. If potential clients or potential employees are frequently posting their opinions and comments on the Internet about any topic, you need to know. There are steps you can take to protect your business from such clients and employees, a necessity in today’s digital world.

Research your potential clients’, patients’ and employees’ proclivities for using the Internet to post their opinions. Look for any comments they have made on the Internet-at-large or on their social media pages about businesses, political events, social matters or other people. In general, take a look at how often your potential client, patient or employee posts anything on the Internet to see if they are actively using the Internet to voice their opinions, lash-out on issues, talk about previous employers, comment on business services, or to just get a feel for how much they use the Internet to make comments in general. Certainly take time to evaluate if there is any Internet addiction or tendencies to obsessively use the Internet to voice opinions. Further, see if potential employees, clients or patients are saying controversial things online.

This research will alert you that you could one day be the subject of their online comments. Moreover, you should be concerned if an employee has made or habitually makes extreme social or political opinions, because such comments could reflect upon your company.

There are many services for which this will not be realistic. For example, if you are a landscaper, pet store or auto mechanic, it would be overly cumbersome to make such an analysis for each new customer. But for doctors, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, event planners, or anyone else who provides a very personal service and works closely and directly with people, the research could be worth the time. Knowing who you are dealing should be as important to you as it is to the clients or patients in this digital age where people use the Internet to lash-out at or comment on services they receive.

As for employers, this kind of research should be part of every analysis you do before hiring a new employee, as employee-employer relationships can often lead to unfulfilled or unsatisfied employees. Even if a potential employee has not said anything negative or controversial online, hourly postings of any kind on social media can indicate addictive, obsessive or immature behavior via the Internet. Discuss with your attorney having new employees sign confidentiality agreements with liquidated damage clauses for any comments an employee makes online during or following employment.

Never think that someone is not the type of person to write things on the Internet and, thus, fail to do your basic homework. If a person is angry enough, they are capable of doing anything, including writing things online. Although there are no guarantees, at least some basic analysis should be undertaken to protect your business. While it’s true that just because a potential client or employee does not have a predisposition for posting comments online does not mean that he or she would not do such in the future, it is, however, important to know who is in fact predisposed to such activity, lest you be the next subject of their future online analysis.

The Art of Giving

The Art of Giving
By: Neil Siskind
www.siskindlawfirm.com
www.neilsiskindsupports.com
http://neilsiskind.com/

Charity, in its simplest sense, is about giving to those in need without any expectation of getting anything in return. Charity comes in many forms. People give their time, their services and money in the name of charity.

While we see many fundraisers and not-for-profit campaigns to raise money, the hardest thing to do is give of yourself- your time, your emotional commitment and your human touch. This is the hardest way to give. This is not to say that giving of one’s hard-earned money is not commendable if done for the right reasons, but it is easier to donate money you have, than to give your personal efforts, regardless of your net worth.

Giving is not a science. It is an art. Some people have the innate ability and desire to help those in need. Most people find it hard to make a commitment of their time and personhood on a regular basis. As with any other skill or effort, the ability to give of yourself does not come easy to everyone.

I have given countless hours of myself to others- including cancer patients, children in need, senior citizens, striving entrepreneurs, people with financial distress in need of cost-effective legal help, public schools, and aspiring artists in financial distress. It is not easy- but I commit my own business and personal time to these efforts because it seems the right thing to do. Certain people are compelled to help others if they can. I do not say this to be self-congratulatory, but rather to be descriptive of the challenge and art of giving. Some of us are in the fortunate position to be able to dedicate time and service to others. I actually had one case over the years where I gave enormous amounts of my free time and skills to someone who was financially destitute only to have him turn on me for not helping him enough and attack me personally and spread lies about me to others. It was heartbreaking. Some people to whom you give, become expert at the art of taking. They just demand more and more. Of course, the first reaction is, “Why do I bother?”. Why help anyone if no good deed goes unpunished? But you can’t stop giving because of one ungrateful person when you are needed by countless others. It’s not fair to the others. Again, the mission of giving is innate. So one is compelled to carry on with the mission.

The Fatherhood Assignment is about encouraging people to give time and energy to those less fortunate than themselves. We do not raise money- we raise hopes. The goal of The Fatherhood Assignment is to inspire people to play a small role that could impact a youth in a big way. If you are only good at giving money- The Fatherhood Assignment is not for you. We need people to give time, hope and love to others in need. Clicking “like” on a posting about a charity is not enough. It’s not even close to enough. You have to actually give something that money can’t buy…………….compassion.