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What You Need to Know About Overtime!

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Monday, June 26, 2017


If your employees work more than 40 hours per 7-day workweek they may be entitled to overtime pay. New overtime rules were set to take effect late in 2016. These regulations would have expanded the number of employees eligible to receive overtime pay but they are currently tied up in federal court. It is vital that you observe the current regulations to avoid potential fines or litigation. If you have questions about state or federal overtime rules, contact your LegalShield provider law firm.

  • Current Rules - Federal overtime regulations are part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA entitles employees working more than 40 hours in a workweek to one and one-half times their regular pay rate. If your business has, “an annual gross volume of sales made or business done of $500,000 or more” you are required to pay overtime. All schools, hospitals, medical facilities and public agencies are required to pay overtime. Click here to determine whether FLSA applies to your business.
  • State Regulations - Many states set additional rules for overtime pay. California, for example, requires overtime for those who work more than 8 hours in a day and double pay for those who work more than 12 hours in a day. Other states set specific thresholds for businesses that must comply with overtime rules. Arkansas requires employers with more than 4 employees to pay overtime. Click here to view a map highlighting current state overtime laws. It is important to understand both the federal and states regulations where you do business.
  • Exempt Employees – There are exemptions for some executive, administrative, computer professionals and other professional service employees.

From the Department of Labor:

A. Currently, to qualify for exemption, a white-collar employee generally must:

  1. be salaried, meaning that they are paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed (the "salary basis test");
  2. be paid at least a specific salary threshold, which is $455 per week (the equivalent of $23,660 annually for a full-year employee) in existing regulations (the "salary level test"); and
  3. primarily perform executive, administrative, or professional duties, as provided in the Department's regulations (the "duties test").

Certain employees are not subject to either the salary basis or salary level tests (for example, doctors, teachers, and lawyers).

  • New Rules from 2016 – Overtime exemption thresholds were set to nearly double in December of 2016; however, the new rule is currently tied up in court. There is a great deal of speculation about the fate of the new rule with many expecting a change in direction from the new administration. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would allow certain employers to offer comp time instead of overtime pay. The bill still must pass the Senate but it is yet another sign that changes are coming. It is important for all businesses to follow these changes carefully.  If you have any questions, contact your LegalShield provider law firm or Kenyatta Turner at 602-367-1069 or

Tags:  Accounting  business owners  business resources  business risk  business services  employees  Employers  Hiring  HR  human resources  labor  legal  legal services  management  small biz  small business  small business owner  startup  tax  wage hour lawsuits  women-owned business 

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Don't Make These 5 Startup Mistakes

Posted By Karen Cummings, Radiant Marketing, Monday, November 28, 2016

An amazing idea ensures startup success, right? Wrong. No one loves to hear it, but three out of four startups will fail before they ever get to market. Managing and navigating a startup can be a minefield—especially if you go it alone or are starting off with no business experience. Many entrepreneurs have little prior experience in the business world and without that valuable experience, many startups endure the misfortune of failure. If you have a startup, or are thinking of launching a startup, set yourself up for success by learning from other’s mistakes.

Avoid these 5 startup mistakes at all costs!

Fearing failure

One of the biggest startup mistakes you can make is to be afraid of failing! Fear of failure can prevent you from even making that initial leap. Jumping into your fear is incredibly positive for your business’ success and how you pick yourself up and learn from mistakes is the ultimate key to great success. Many successful entrepreneurs credit their ultimate success to their ability to fail often, fail quickly and learn from those failures.

Quitting quickly

Giving up shouldn’t be an option when it comes to startup success. Be prepared to make it through those inevitable roadblocks and bounce back from lots of “no’s” in the beginning. Overcoming any negativity will help to fuel you in the right direction. Rather than quitting, when necessary consider shifts in thinking, planning or development that can keep you on path for growth!

Forgetting about marketing

A huge startup mistake is to think “I’ll figure out marketing later”. Marketing is crucial to startup success. Many startups spend all of their money on product development and overhead and leave zero dollars for marketing to generate customers. Eliminate the “if you build it they will come” mentality. Start planning and developing your marketing strategy if you want your startup to thrive.

Misunderstanding branding

Underestimating the value of a brand, or believing branding is simply the logo and look of your business, is an all too common startup mistake. Branding is one of the most powerful assets a startup can create. Your brand is a deeper, more articulated definition of your business and acts as a reminder to what you want your business to be and represent. Branding lives in the mind of consumers, and will ultimately be the driver in the relationship that is established with your audience, and why they care about what you do.

You go it alone

In most situations, it’s extremely daunting to tackle launching a startup on your own. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get stuck working on things alone. But having an extra set of ears and eyes on the ins and outs of your startup is invaluable. Getting help where you can from friends and professional colleagues will help to effectively launch your startup. Finding a mentor who has been where you are can do wonders in guiding you down the right path.

We can help you on your startup journey and help you develop a strong brand for your business. Set up a Discovery Session today!

Tags:  marketing  small business  startup 

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Building the Legal Startup

Posted By Mary Juetten, Traklight, Monday, February 1, 2016

Recent years have seen a rise in the number of legal tech companies, but not an acceleration in the rate of legal tech adoption among legal practitioners. Here at Evolve Law, we are trying to accelerate the adoption rate with educational events that bring together the legal community to hear discussions and demos surrounding the latest in legal technology. One of our most recent events, “Building the Legal Startup,” was hosted by Stanford University, and featured a number of thoughtful speakers and panelists offering their insights and advice on what’s needed for legal tech startups to grow and thrive.

The Evolution of Legal Tech

We were fortunate enough to have Eddie Hartman, co-founder and chief product officer of LegalZoom, offer the opening talk. The talk illustrated how traditional practitioners of the law are failing to grasp how technology is impacting how people obtain their legal services, and in fact that many lawyers and firms are opposed to the introduction of technology into the law. To illustrate his point, he described the three different types of goods:

  1. Search good. A search good is something that is familiar and can be easily evaluated before being purchased.
  2. Experience good. An experience good requires first hand experience with this good to appraise its quality, but once you have, you understand it to be good or bad.
  3. Credence good. Even after your experience, you’re still not sure if it’s any good.

Not being sure if their experience or the product or service they received is any good is most people’s experience with the law. The average person isn’t well versed enough in the law to adequately say whether their contracts or wills are up to standards.

Irrespective of quality, most people can’t even afford to take advantage of traditional legal services based on the fees and hourly rates charged by the traditional practicing attorney. The overwhelming majority of Americans who are facing a legal issue don’t avail themselves of the services of an attorney. It is this disconnect and monopoly on legal services, Eddie argued, that necessitates the need for legal tech disruption.

Selling Into Legal

The panel was moderated by our own Mary Juetten and featured Josh King, VP, Business Development & General Counsel, Avvo; Jeroen Plink, Managing Director USA, Glasswall Solutions; Miriam Rivera,Managing Director, Bay Area Growth Fund; and Steven Silberbach, VP Global Sales,  Clio. The discussion centered around what it was that makes selling to lawyers and law firms difficult.

One of the barriers for legal tech firms is the general lack of awareness on the part of law firms as to what role legal tech can play in their practices. Law firms and the lawyers that staff them can tend to be conservative by nature, and adverse to change. They tend to be focused on the needs of their clients, and as such reactive to the particular events that require their attention. Many don’t look beyond their own self-interest, and don’t give consideration to anything that doesn’t work directly to their benefit. Many smaller practitioners have to weigh investment in their practice against investment in personal needs or wants.

It is that relative shortsightedness that makes it hard for many attorneys to step back and look at the larger picture when it comes to their firm. The sales process can be long for legal tech companies, an agonizing grind for those eager to generate revenue. But despite this appearance of intransigence from attorneys, there is a key to selling to lawyers, as the panel illuminated.

Many legal tech companies make the mistake of thinking that lawyers need to be sold to by other lawyers, or that lawyers require an altogether different sales approach from any other business. And while it is true that you may need to make adjustments to what you would normally do in a sales call with other businesses, the consensus on the panel was that selling to attorneys was ultimately not that far removed from selling to any other small business owner. The only requirement for legal tech companies is that they need to make clear to attorneys what it is that their product does and how it can add value to their practice. They have to understand that most lawyers aren’t necessarily looking at ways in which they can improve their firm;  it’s incumbent upon the sales person to make the case to change how the attorney operates to someone who wasn’t necessarily looking to change the way they do business.

Sales can be a tricky area for a lot of legal tech startups. Many founders don’t come from a sales background and aren’t fluent in the ins and outs of the sales world. In those instances, it’s helpful to work with someone who does come from the sales world, or to seek out a mentor or adviser that has some level of knowledge regarding sales. Having the right sales people in place is one of the most important matters in the early stages of your business. Even if you as a founder are never going to be the expert on sales, it’s important that you possess enough knowledge to be able to measure and judge the performance of your sales people. Even more so than the rest of your team, you have to be willing and able to make changes early with your sales team when things aren’t working.

Marketing vs Sales vs Product Development

Within any legal tech startup, there can be a tension between sales and product development people. Both are vital for the future of your company, but each has differing views on where the the overall focus of the company should be. As a leader, you have to determine the balance that you strike between how much of your resources you commit to each. What’s important is determining a strategy and focus, and sticking to it, rather than finding yourself at the whims of customer demands in the interest of making a sale or two. While it’s important to listen to your customers, it’s dangerous to start shifting the direction of your company based on that feedback.

When it comes to marketing, flexibility is vital in early stages. You have to be able to change your messaging when you find that it isn’t resonating with your audience. Once you’ve found a message that works, your marketing can help drive people to your site and hopefully keep them coming back. But getting people to visit your site isn’t enough. That’s where having a marketing expert who can help turn those visits and page views into actual conversations between potential customers and sales people can be a huge difference-maker between yourself and other companies in your field.


Fundraising can be a difficult task for any company, legal tech or otherwise. Part of good fundraising is setting yourself up for success before you even go out for your next round. The panel laid out some of the qualities that VCs tend to look for in companies as well as characteristics that businesses that successfully raise funds tend to have.

Companies that the panel have seen be successful raising funds have had a partnership between legal expertise and tech expertise. They have also been able to answer basic questions that VCs are looking at: is there a minimum viable product? Do you have customers? Do you have the right team? Do you have experience in the market? Investors need to see that you have the right processes and the right team in place before they think about putting money into your company. They also want to know that there’s a sizable market for your product;  if you don’t have a product with a big total addressable market, you likely won’t get much interest from VCs.

First You Get The Power, Then You Get The Money, Then You Get The Reference

Anyone familiar with the oeuvre of Al Pacino and Brian de Palma should appreciate the inspiration behind Jules’ Darwin Talk. From a certain perspective, Tony Montana is a classic immigrant-made-good story, arriving on our shores with nothing and using his gumption and guile to become a successful entrepreneur. And if you take out the violence and drugs, there are some lessons that can be drawn from Tony rise through the, shall we say, less-than-legitimate business world.

Selling is hard, and the sales cycle can be long, especially when it comes to lawyers. Lawyers are by nature skeptics, and as a sales person you have to break through that natural skepticism to get them to buy into what your product has to offer. Having perseverance is vital in trying to sell to lawyers. Staying in the game and grinding away at making sales is a good way to build character and to build the brand credibility that lawyers look for when they’re thinking about buying from you.

And funding is hard to come by in legal tech, as the dollars going into funding companies in the sector are being far outstripped by their counterparts in fintech. That’s why trying to build through sales and revenue rather than looking for funding is a viable option for many legal tech companies. Sales are a way to bring in revenue and get money without having to give away part of your company. Once you’ve started to sell, you can appear more attractive to investors and won’t have to give away as much of your company.

Respect within the legal community can be perhaps the hardest thing to come by for legal tech companies. Lawyers aren’t buying because they don’t think much of legal tech. While those of us in legal tech obviously are aiming for short-term success, ultimately we’re also aiming to change the legal tech industry. Legal tech companies not only have to advocate for change in the legal industry, they also need to make the industry itself understand the changing landscape.

Tags:  startup 

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Avoiding Business Risk

Posted By Mary Juetten, Traklight, Monday, January 25, 2016

Risk is something of a mature subject. That's not to say that risk is solely the providence of people past a certain age, but we become more aware of it as we age and mature. As kids we don't ponder the idea of our own mortality or the possibility of failure; it's less that we think that somehow everything will work out than we just don't think. And we're fortunate to have relatively low stakes at that age. Our bodies and our pride bounce back rather quickly. 

Age and circumstance have a way of changing all that, though, in life as well as business. Adults have far more at risk than kids, and entrepreneurs and business owners have risks far beyond their fellow adults. But part of what being an entrepreneur means is looking at those risks and deciding to take the plunge anyway. And while those risks will never go away entirely, you can take steps to minimize them.

When starting a business, there are so many things to consider when considering risk. One of the most important steps you can take when getting started is forming a business entity. If you're running a business without a business entity, you could be putting your personal assets at risk. And if you're starting a business with co-founders, you could be putting the entire venture in jeopardy if you don't have co-founder agreements in place.

Your business can also be at risk if you discuss it in too much detail in a public setting. If you plan to present at a trade show or other public forums, be sure to speak only in generalities when talking about your product. You should also exercise caution in pitch meetings with investors. While you don't have to go to the extent of having accredited investors sign a non-disclosure agreement, it can be prudent to err on the side of saying less rather than more. 

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to minimize risk is make sure all IP is assigned to your business entity. Having patents assigned to one member of your partnership is a recipe for disaster should that person decide to move on from the company. Assigning any and all IP assets to the business rather than an individual will help to avoid any post-split messiness and ownership debates that could derail the company.

Tags:  entrepreneur  small business  startup 

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7 Day Startup Challenge - Welcome & Announce Ideas w/ Dan Norris

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, January 18, 2016

Tags:  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  small business  startup 

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Volunteers Needed: Peer to Peer Committee

Posted By Jamie Low CPCU CIC, Low & Johnson, Inc., Monday, January 4, 2016


ASBA is going to start Peer to Peer meetings in 2016.  In order to do this we need volunteers to decide how this will work and to participate.

Below is what we need:

  •  Volunteers to sit on the committee and help determine how this should work.

  • Volunteers that would be willing to lead a peer group discussion 1 time a month either over lunch in which each person pays there own costs, or at their conference room at an agreed upon time.

  • Participates who would like to be including in a monthly peer group. 

My initial thoughts of how this would work, which might change when I meet with the committee, are as follows:


  1. Peer groups set at different locations throughout the Valley and in Tucson.
  2. Max group of 8 members.
  3. Meeting Monthly either at a restaurant or a volunteers conference room.
  4. Each month we would give all the peer groups a ‘table’ topic to discuss.  These topics would be determined by the peer to peer committee.

Please contact me directly if you are interested at or 480-596-0750.

Thanks for your help.

Jamie Low


Tags:  arizona small business  ASBA  business owner  decision-making  management  small business  startup 

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Ready to Hire a Virtual Assistant? Find Out Where to Start

Posted By Margaret Jacoby SPHR, MJ Management Solutions, Inc., Wednesday, September 30, 2015

As a business owner, you expect to work long hours and wear many hats.  But, there comes a time when "enough is enough.”  You make a decision to get some help. You need someone who can help you become more effective, more efficient, and help you grow your business exponentially, but someone who can also help you get your life back.  In many instances, this could be a Virtual Assistant (VA).

So, if you think you are ready to hire your first VA you’re probably looking for some HR solutions to identify the right way to begin the hiring process.  A lot of work goes into hiring the right virtual assistant, from making sure they’re the right fit for you and your company (and vice versa), to figuring out what types of tasks you’ll have them do to support you, all the way to training them in your processes and systems, according to the folks at

Remember that hiring the best person takes time—you don’t want to fill the position with the first candidate you come across.  He or she may seem like a good fit during the interview, but if you aren’t asking the right questions and going about the process methodically, you could hire a VA that is wrong for your company and one who will disrupt rather that organize your work flow.

But hiring goes beyond just finding the right candidate. There are things you can do during the hiring process that can sabotage your business.  From being too vague in your expectations for the VA, to asking inappropriate questions, a lot can go wrong. So before you interview your first candidate, make sure you cover all your bases by following these tips. Keep in mind that these tips will apply if you are hiring a virtual assistant on a contract, as-needed basis or as an employee of your business.

1. Start with clear, specific job requirements. Developing a written task description will clarify in your mind what tasks and responsibilities will be assigned, what goals and objectives will be set, what value this new position will add to the business. A VA can do many things like handling  your social media, bookkeeping, data entry, e-mail management, and even making cold calls for the business. You decide!

2. Create the Ideal Candidate Profile. The ideal candidate profile will keep you focused and objective.  It should outline what knowledge and experience the ideal candidate should possess. Keep in mind that the knowledge and experience should be relevant to the tasks you will assign and the expectations you have for the position.

3. Develop an Interview Plan. The interview is the most important part of the selection process.  It is a tool to determine the candidate’s qualifications, job-related knowledge, and personality. It is one way to predict on-the-job success based on past and present behaviors and a way to determine if the candidate is a good fit for your organization. Be prepared to ask specific questions. The quality of the questioning is more important than the number of questions.

4. Practice "defensive hiring.” Just as we drive our cars defensively, looking for hazards, observing other drivers’ behaviors, and anticipating emergencies, we need to hire defensively. Since 95 percent of employee problems are caused by 5 percent of the employees, it is wise to take a few precautionary steps in this important selection process.

  • Prepare interview questions that require candidates to give examples of past performance and behaviors, demonstrate their skill level, motivation and competencies. If you are interviewing several candidates, ask some "core” questions of all candidates to evaluate them fairly. For a list of "behavior-based” questions check out our resources page.
  • Conduct thorough reference checking. At a minimum, verify employment history and request a list of current clients the VA is working with. You want to verify that the skills the VA says he or she possesses exist and at what level the VA typically accomplishes for others.

5. Evaluate all candidates using the same criteria. This means that you have asked each one the same core questions, reviewed their prior experience, and evaluated the knowledge demonstrated during the interview (use a scorecard to help you here).

It is important to note that the best-qualified candidate is not necessarily the best fit for your organization.  People are almost always hired based on appearance and skills and usually quit or are fired because of personality. Effective vetting of the VA candidates will increase your chances of hiring and retaining the right person.

Finding and hiring great employees takes time and is one of the most important investments a business owner can make. Find valuable HR Solutions and resources when you sign up for the MJ Management Solutions Blog articles.

Margaret Jacoby, SPHR, is the founder and president of MJ Management Solutions, a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive.

Let’s connect: LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tags:  employees  small biz  small business  startup 

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How to Make Your Small Business Succeed

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Thursday, July 9, 2015


The desire for independence is growing in appeal for small business owners. Author, Speaker, and Executive Coach Leanne Hoagland-Smith discusses the desire for independence growing in appeal for small business owners, along with some of the pitfalls that come with starting your business. Leanne shares some common mistakes that owners will make and how to avoid them.

Tags:  starting a business  startup  success 

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Share Your Experience with New Entrepreneurs

Posted By Rhette Baughman, Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, June 16, 2015

 Welcome to Summer! Although its time to relax and enjoy the sun, HustlePHX is preparing for the fall and we are looking for volunteers! We are looking for people tospeak to our entrepreneurs on the topics of business planning, start ups, business law, accounting, and record keeping. These are 20 min talks to describe your personal experience! We are also in need of instructors that are willing to commit one night a week for nine weeks to teach our curriculum to the entrepreneurs! We would be truly honored to have you on our team! Email Taylor Rodriguez to get involved (! 

Last week, Oye was granted the opportunity to speak at the Balle Conference! In 5 minutes Oye fluently shared the heart of HustlePHX and we want to share this with you! Please take a few minutes to get to know the background of HustlePHX. Also, please share this video with your network as you are spreading the word about HustlePHX! 

We are so thankful for you and your involvement with HustlePHX, and we are excited for what the future holds!


Tags:  entrepreneur  hustlePHX  small business  startup 

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Do You Need An MBA To Be A Successful Entrepreneur?

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When I got my MBA from Northwestern University in 1985, I never planned to be an entrepreneur. My goal was to add to my business skills for my sales support job at IBM. I wanted the additional education credential on my resume, especially since IBM was paying the tuition.  Six years later, I found myself starting my first company and heavily relying on what I had learned in business school.

Here are the skills MBA’s learn that are critical to be a successful entrepreneur:

  1. How to work with a team. One of the best things that my MBA taught me was how to work with a team with diverse skills and backgrounds to accomplish specific goals. There were many times where we could not choose our team, but were forced to collaborate together in imperfect groups. This is good experience for working with a variety of people who may not all have the same objectives and skill levels. Remember that entrepreneurship is never a solo sport.

  2. How to meet impossible deadlines. Students often complained about what they saw as unrealistic deadlines by professors. Later, I realized that these impossible deadlines mimicked what happened in the real world as I had to work long hours to meet customer expectations.

  3. How to network. People do business with people they know, like and trust. Going to MBA school teaches students how to meet other people and determine who they can trust the most. Powerful networks for future work are always built at school.

  4. How to test ideas and their execution without penalty. Students can pretend to start businesses or launch real companies with minimal risk if the company fails. Failing quickly, learning what I can and then taking a new action was a key skill I learned at business school.

  5. How to read financial statements and work with spreadsheets. This is a missing talent that most entrepreneurs never learn and it has a large detrimental effect on their business. Students are forced to analyze balance sheets, profit and lost statements, and cash flow statements within assigned case studies.

  6. How to sell ideas to a team, vendors and customers. Many entrepreneurs only want to develop products and don’t think about how to market, sell and distribute them. They are afraid of these other areas or think they are not responsible for them. Business school emphasizes their critical nature of all these areas and how they represent a key barrier to entry for competitors.

  7. How to develop a plan B (C, D, E and F). Business school taught me that success was not a straight line. Initial solutions failed and back up ideas had to be executed. In the real world, every entrepreneur needs to have multiple contingency plans when products fail and they lose customers or employees.

Did you go to business school? What did you learn that helped you become a successful entrepreneur? What other ongoing training or resources do you utilize?

Source: Forbes

Contributor:  @Aileron_org

Tags:  degree  education  entrepreneur  small business  startup 

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