Network: Reader-to-reader advice on a variety of topics.
Most small mail-order companies have run up against banks' unwillingness to grant them merchant credit-card accounts, which would allow them to accept credit-card purchases. Daniel Sherron asked about alternatives (Taking Credit, June 1992, [Article link]).
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Writing and Marketing Shareware, by Steve Hudgik (Tab Books, 800-822-8138, 1991, $18.95), offers several alternatives. Also, there are companies that will sign contracts with a bank to process charges for merchants like you. They do charge more (4% to 5%), but it may be your only option. Check with your bank. Another tip: Discover Card and American Express are more receptive to mail-order business.
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Commercial realtors have asked for Michael Brooks's personal guarantee before they will lease him space for a cabaret. He's afraid to risk such long-term liability. In November 1992 he asked, Is a personal signature required (Signing Your Life Away, [Article link])?
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You should execute your lease in the corporate name only, if that's possible. And read the lease carefully. In case your business doesn't survive, demand the right to sublease or assign the lease to another party. If the lease allows subleasing only at the landlord's discretion, set qualifications for a prospective sublessee that the landlord must accept. In case you outgrow the space, look for an option to acquire further space at a predetermined rate.