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Thinking About Starting a Blog? : Be Inspired by the 9 Main Purposes of This Blog

April 13, 2014

blog-wordle-1

For my presentation in Washington, DC, in two weeks for the International Women’s Insolvency Confederation Spring Meeting, “IWIRC Talks Social Media” panel, I have taken a look back at the posts I (together with my law clerks) have written for my two blogs.  Here is what I have discovered about my writing.  Hopefully, this post will inspire you to blog about your craft, passion, favorite subject matter.  Let your enthusiasm be contagious.

The purposes of a blog can be many fold.  I have found that I write mostly for the following purposes:

  • Humanize Myself: I want to humanize myself as a lawyer/business. I am real person, not just a headshot.  I eat and breathe.  I have a family and a life, in addition to my legal work. Here are some such posts:

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/thoughts-behind-our-2013-holiday-card/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/my-sons-kindergarten-poster/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/go-confidently-what-is-on-your-refrigerator/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/to-all-fathers-happy-fathers-day/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/integrating-my-photography-hobby-with-my-law-firm-business-development/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/the-influence-of-walt-disney-on-my-12-year-old-self/

  • Evidence Industry expertise:  As a person whose livelihood depends on rainmaking, I have always known that developing an expertise in a specific industry is important. For me, my niches include fashion, technology, media, real estate.  I wish I were even more laser-focused, but with bankruptcy work, the cases cut across many industries.

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/my-response-to-opening-night-of-pittsburgh-fashion-week/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/my-personal-recount-of-the-ports-1961-fashion-show-at-ny-bryant-park-feb-12-2010/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/why-isnt-that-louis-vuitton-bag-ever-on-sale/  (one of top 5 posts of all-time)

  • Add value/inform: My lawyer coach Cordell Parvin has taught me that marketing should be “pull marketing” not “push marketing”. He says to create content that makes people want to be pulled toward you because you add value to them.  Writing this content comes easily to me because I always wanted to be a journalist and a professor.  Sitting at a Starbucks writing a blog post is down time for me.  Most of my posts over the last four years are of this nature.   I was ramping up my law firm and wanted to share was I was learning.  Here is a sampling:

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/using-not-abusing-powerpoint-my-top-10-tips/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/flying-solo-the-nuts-bolts-of-building-a-solo-law-practice/  (one of top 5 posts of all-time)

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/are-your-business-meetings-productive-lessons-from-a-cmu-study-on-%e2%80%9ccollective-intelligence%e2%80%9d/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/the-importance-of-an-elevator-pitch-if-no-one-knows-what-you-do-who-you-do-it-for-and-why-you-do-it-better-how-can-you-expect-to-build-your-business/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/business-decor-brand-image-what-does-your-office-art-say-about-your-business/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/the-art-of-the-elevator-pitch/ (one of top 5 posts of all-time)

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/116/ (top 10 lessons from Maxine Clark’s Build A Bear Workshop) (one of top 5 posts of all-time)

  • Inform public and clients about local resources: When I consult my clients, I am obligated to let them know about the vast resources out there for entrepreneurs. Instead of giving them a flyer, we email them blog post links.  Here is a sample:

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/the-chatham-university-center-for-women-entrepreneurship-assisting-women-entrepreneurs-since-2005/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/need-to-start-a-business-western-pa-read-about-bridgeway-capital/

  • Inform and promote community interests: Ever since I opened up shop in my hometown, I have also written more posts about events or concerns that impact the community.  I write things about which I authentically care. Authenticity is important.

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/wvs-2014-economic-outlook-town-meeting-with-attorney-generals-office/

  • Promote outside events: A blog is a good way to SPREAD the word about external events, firm events, and about cool things your clients are doing.

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/intellectual-capitol-presents-where-to-start-an-a-to-z-presentation-for-entrepreneurs/

  • Promote firm events:

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/2013-holiday-fair-celebrating-women-swimming-in-the-stream-of-commerce/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/did-you-ever-have-a-grand-opening-for-your-business-should-you-re-open-your-business-read-about-ours/

  • Customer profiling:

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/coffee-talk-with-stan-muschweck-standout-marketing/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/what-are-bloggers-saying-about-your-product-or-service-learn-from-maniac-magazines-megaphone-marketing/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/blue-tomato-design-firm-salenes-business-of-the-month-december-2009/

  • Evidence legal expertise: I do write about legal topics, but not that much. The posts take more time to put together.  I should repurpose more of my legal writings; I had to research/write them anyway for various engagements.  In April of 2013, upon Cordell’s insistence, I decided to spin off into another blog www.steelvalleybankruptcy.wordpress.com focused on business bankruptcy (my niche).  That is where I post more technical posts.  The audience for that blog is different than the audience for this one.

-New Developments:

http://steelvalleybankruptcy.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/freedom-industries-inc-files-for-chapter-11-bankruptcy-following-historic-wv-chemical-spill/

http://steelvalleybankruptcy.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/dragonfire-inc-running-out-of-breath-as-it-files-chapter-11/

http://steelvalleybankruptcy.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/dance-moms-instructor-abby-lee-miller-files-for-chapter-11-protection-public-disclosure-of-private-facts/

http://steelvalleybankruptcy.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/fat-lady-may-sing-for-the-last-time-the-new-york-city-opera-files-chapter-11/

-Technical:

http://steelvalleybankruptcy.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/the-company-you-own-files-bankruptcy-can-creditors-still-come-after-you/

http://steelvalleybankruptcy.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/inside-the-trenches-of-a-chapter-11-the-firehose-of-the-first-30-days/

http://steelvalleybankruptcy.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/ch-7-or-ch-11-which-bankruptcy-option-is-best-for-my-business/

http://steelvalleybankruptcy.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/what-the-heck-is-a-preference-action-paying-off-favorite-creditors-as-a-business-tanks/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/corporate-bankruptcy-or-business-wind-down-pros-and-cons-of-chapter-7/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/inside-the-trenches-of-chapter-11-bankruptcy-case-preparing-the-initial-filing/

http://mazurkraemer.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/what-are-the-5-cs-of-business-lending-getting-financing-in-todays-environment/

Call or email me if you want to talk more about getting your own blog started.   I will share my slides from my IWIRC panel as soon as we are finished!

 

 

 

 

 

Consumer Bankruptcy FAQ: Do Not Forget Forms of identification For Your 341 Meeting

April 13, 2014

ssncard     FAQ:  My 341 meeting of creditors is approaching.  What forms of identification do I need to bring with me to the meeting?  What if I don’t have a drivers’ licenses or social security card?

      Most people bring a drivers license or passport and a social security card.  Do not forget to bring these.  The Chapter 7 Trustee will adjourn the hearing if you do not have proper ID.  This will mean more lawyers fees for you and possibly having to ask for another day off of work.   ORDER a duplicate SOCIAL SECURITY CARD if you have lost yours.   A W-2 works too as long as it has your social security number on it.  See entire list of acceptable id at this link.

 

 

 

FAQ- Do I need a Federal Employment Identification Number?

April 13, 2014

I am in the process of incorporating an LLC for a client.

I am running across some basic information that people frequently ask me.  Here is one of the first questions:

Do I need an EIN?

You need an EIN if you:

Started a new business
Hired or will hire employees, including household employees
Opened a bank account that requires an EIN for banking purposes
Changed the legal character or ownership of your organization (for example, you incorporate a sole proprietorship or form a partnership)
Purchased a going business
Created a trust
Created a pension plan as a plan administrator
Are a foreign person and need an EIN to comply with IRS withholding regulations
Are a withholding agent for taxes on non-wage income paid to an alien (such as an individual, a corporation, or a partnership)
Are a state or local agency
Are a federal government unit or agency
Formed a corporation
Formed a partnership
Administer an estate formed as a result of a person’s death
Represent an estate that operates a business after the owner’s death.

SOURCE:  SEE ALSO http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Do-You-Need-a-New-EIN

 

Cooper-Booth Management Co. files for Chapter 11

April 13, 2014

By: Katie Imler, Law Clerk

 

On May 21, 2013, Cooper-Booth Management Company, Inc. a full-line, full-service wholesale distributor for retailers and convenience stores, filed for a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Case No. 2:13-bk-14522). The company began in 1865 as Booth Tobacco Company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Being family owned and operated for three generations, Cooper-Booth has been recognized as one of the Top 20 leading convenience store wholesales in the country. Murton Margolis is Emeritus and Barry Margolis is President.

 

Cooper-Booth, located at 200 Lincoln West Drive, Mountville, PA 17554 listed assets of $500,000-$1 million and liabilities of $10-$50 million enumerating over 200 creditors . See summary of the docket here. Schedules are due June 4, 2013. The Debtor is represented by Aris J. Karalis and Robert W. Seitzer of Maschmeyer Karalis P.C., 1900 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Cooper-Booth’s largest creditors include Maryland Comptroller of the Treasury-Alcohol & Tobacco Tax $7,438,500.00, PA Department of Revenue $3,330,768.00, New York State Department of Tax & Finance Division of Treasury $3,140,324.74, Delaware Division of Revenue $1,563,285.93.

 

CooperBooth Product OfferingThe federal government has frozen the Debtor’s bank accounts while an investigation is pending to determine if one of the Debtor’s customers has been illegally smuggling untaxed cigarettes into New York. Basel Ramadan and his brother, Samer Ramadan, bought cigarettes from the Debtor Cooper Booth Wholesale Inc. using business fronts in Virginia allowing them to pay the $0.30/pack Virginia cigarette tax instead of the $4.35/pack cigarette tax in New York.

The two moved 20,000 cigarettes a week to the New York City area without paying the New York taxes, which cost the state approximately $80 million in taxes. See more on the story here.

 

The Debtor’s case was initially assigned to the Honorable Judge Eric L. Frank, but was reassigned to the Honorable Judge Magdeline D. Coleman. On May 22, 2013 Judge Coleman issued an order demanding timely filing of all Schedules. Judge Coleman also entered an order directing the joint administration of Debtors’ Chapter 11 Cases 13-14522 and 13-14521 pursuant to Bankruptcy Code § 1015(b), determining 13-14519 as the lead case. The Debtor’s second voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy was for Cooper-Booth Transportation Company, LP (Case No. 2:13-bk-14521), which listed $1-$10 million in both assets and liabilities. Most of the liabilities are for state and federal taxes.

 

The University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence Celebrates 20 Years of Empowering Local Entrepreneurs!

April 13, 2014

By:  Justin A. SaporitoMAZURKRAEMER Law Clerk

Founded in 1993 and run out of the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE) began with a $300,000 grant and the mission of being the “innovative leader of economic renewal and growth serving enterprising people and businesses in the region.”  In pursuit of this mission the IEE utilizes a dynamic approach of programs and services including monthly workshops, customized consulting, social initiatives, educational programs, professionally-led peer forums, and social events.

Institute-for-Entrepren.-Excellence

This dynamic program has led the IEE to grow to $3 million in annual revenue and the annual serving of hundreds of businesses through its seminars, customized consulting, and millions of dollars in raised capital and revenue.  Last year alone the IEE served 824 businesses, helped create 39 startups, raised $10.7 million in capital, increased $14.4 million in revenue for clients, and educated more than 1,400 business leaders through 56 programs and seminars. (according to its 2012 Community Impact Report)

The IEE provides its services through its 8 institute centers and programs.  These centers/programs consist of Agricultural Entrepreneurship, a 12-month Entrepreneurial Fellows Program, the Family Enterprise Center, the Information Technology Program, PantherlabWorks, the Small Business Development Center, Student Entrepreneurship program in conjunction with Katz School of Business, and the Urban Entrepreneurship Program.  For more information about these programs please click here.  To take advantage of one or more of these programs an individual or firm must become an IEE member.  Membership includes benefits in addition to participation in IEE programs.  For more information about membership please see the IEE’s membership brochure or contact the IEE’s membership director Shelley Taylor.

For more information about the IEE please visit their website at http://www.entrepreneur.pitt.edu.

BOOK BITS: Don’t Complain Like a Quacking Duck; Be Like An Eagle & Rise Above

February 26, 2014

DEARTH OF DUCKS

      Cordell Parvin, my lawyer coach, advised me to read the book RAVING FANS: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service, by Kenneth Blanchard and Sheldon M. Bowles.  It was an easy read over Christmas.  For as long as I can remember, when I have ever read books, I highlight parts I might want to read again (usually with scribbles from a pen or highlighter).  I used to type in the quotes into a MSWord document for future reference.  I have an electronic library of these “book files”.   (Yes- I know I am a dork).

Now with Twitter, I have been sending out Tweets of my favorite excerpts of the various books I have been reading, including Raving Fans.   Just check out my recent Twitter Feed.  This excerpt really resonates and I wanted to share with my business clients and colleagues:

“Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.” -RAVING FANS, p. 82          

In our workplaces, sometimes the case, client, or colleague will drive you bonkers.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE.   I once read that 45% of workers in the American workforce hate their job.  This is disconcerting.

Trust me, I have had intermittent periods of gloom and doom in the course of my legal and consulting career.   During that time, it all just seemed like quack, quack, quacking.  Then at other times, I blare my Alicia Keyes, Girl of Fire song, and feel like an eagle.

Like Blanchard and Bowles suggest, don’t waste your energy complaining.   How can you differentiate? How can you rise above?

Bald Eagle in mid-air flight over Homer Spit Kenai Peninsula Alaska Winter

Thoughts Behind Our 2013 Holiday Card

February 26, 2014

2013 xmas card      So, this Holiday season, I sent out this Holiday card.  As an amateur photographer, I often stew over any of our marketing materials.  With the hectic holiday season, I was running out of time and ended up putting this together.

I had the thought for this card in my mind for quite sometime.  The quote at the top has been a guiding one for me for the last few years and I previously mentioned that on this blog here.

I do believe when one door closes, another one can open.  That has been the case for me.  Ten years ago, I never imagined I would be in solo practice and doing the work I have been privileged to do as I do it.  I am grateful.  GRATITUDE.

I photographed my two children.  First on the right, my 6 year-old son with his Jack-O-Lantern smile (8 teeth lost), proudly donning his Pittsburgh Pirates jersey while we vacationed in Savannah, GA.     LOYALTY.  My family and I just moved back to Pittsburgh from WV on August 1.   The City of Pittsburgh was abuzz all Fall over the Pirates’ winning season.  It had been 20 years since the Pirates had a winning season.  TENACITY.  PERSEVERANCE.  My father was an outstanding baseball player and baseball/softball have always been significant parts of our lives.

FACE YOUR FEARS.  My 4 year-old daughter is pictured on the left bungee jumping at Trax Farm near our home.  This was something she had never done.  She was afraid at first, like many of us, but then “faced her fears”- a phrase we repeat often almost daily in our home.  For example, this morning she “faced her fears” by going downstairs all by herself to retrieve push-ups out of the freezer for breakfast (yes for breakfast).  FACE YOUR FEARS.

In the middle photo, there I am.  I ran out of time and had to have my assistant Stephanie take a picture of the three of us in our office parking lot with her iphone.  Nothing fancy.  Not our hair, or our clothes and certainly  not the background.  I wanted the photo to be of the back of the three of us and holding hands.  My children (and my mom!) have been troopers as I have ramped up my firm.

For 2014, I do hope that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, whether in your personal life or in your business life.  My firm is in the lemonade-making business.  We help clients get out of bad situations, take risks, face their fears, overcome, perserve, seize opportunities.   I know that when one door closes, another one really can open, if your eyes are open wide enough.

You can click here to open the Holiday Card.  If you would like to be added to our newsletter list, email Stephanie.

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