It seems as though every year I get a slew of questions that lead back to licensure. Certain professions require a license. Licensing is important because there are requirements in order to get the license and standards in order to keep the license.

In order to keep a license there is usually a continuing education requirement and a scope of practice. Recently body workers have come under fire. Body works are not licensed massage therapists. Many cities and towns are not allowing for body workers to open businesses.

There is next the scope of practice issue. Licensed professionals have a scope of practice they must adhere to and not go beyond that scope. For example a physical therapy assistant cannot bill their services to an insurance company and they have to be under the direct supervision of a physical therapist.

What if the consumer has an issue? Frequently consumers hire unlicensed contractors to work on their homes and businesses. Also frequently are the issues that arise due to poor workmanship and incomplete work. If the contractor is licensed then there is actually some recourse through the state. If the contractor is not licensed then that ability is lost.

It is important to use licensed individuals as there is some protection provided. It is also important for those licensed to stay within their scope of practice to limit legal issues.

I am snow weary. Usually this condition does not hit me until the end of February, but with two storms the feeling started early.

“The snow brings out the worse in people,” said a plow driver.

This is true- patience is lost.   Here are some other issues that the snow brings:

  1. Timing. If you have contracts or due dates on projects then be advised to make sure you have an understanding about date flexibility. The postal services are not running on time, in fact a form I sent to the court was delayed. I called until I was told it was received and recorded. If date and time is important, then you may want to consider a courier service.


  1. Liability. Yes, sidewalks, parking lots and common areas should be clean, but please recognize that in many locations there are 30+ inches of snow with no place for the snow. Think about using technology to avoid driving or at least to be understanding.


  1. Prepare. I do have the ability to work from home, but this means in order to do so I must back up my computer files. This is important for not only security reasons, but so that you can complete your work as seamlessly as possible, especially if due dates are immovable.  As an adjust professor, I have noticed that my students have not kept up with the reading on missed classes, but the classes will continue and with online classes they will be made up with many students behind.  No need to get behind if you keep up with the work and remain prepared.


Most importantly, it is a time to be able to use collaborative negotiation in order to solve issues, looking past positions to find out what truly are the issues, keeping in mind it is usually timing, liability and preparedness. Do not be stuck in your way (in ice or snow), but collaborate to find a solution. It will not melt the snow faster, but it will make it bearable.

The most popular True North Business Consulting newsletter  and video is on the topic of charities.  The holiday season is a good time to revisit the topic and update it.  First, as a business you may want to choose one or two charities to support- a local food bank, a larger organization or something personal.  When you choose a charity to support you want to do some homework.


First, check the grade of your charity.  Charity Navigator ( provides information on where funds go in each charity.  For example the American Red Cross gets 3 out of 4 stars versus Feeding of America gets 4 stars.  Why the difference? Possibly expenses or salaries could be an issue.


Second, make sure you agree with the mission of the organization.  You may be a pet lover and want to link to an animal shelter, but you should see if it is a no-kill shelter if you believe that is important.


Charitable giving can also be to your benefit.  Not in the way that is makes you feel that you are helping others, but it may help your business. Try to choose a charity with an active website or social media program that is willing to recognize your business as a contributor (a link back to your webpage would be great).  If the charity has a newsletter, then ask to be featured. This may be easier with a smaller organization than a larger organization.

A Holistic Approach
By: True North Business Consulting

Each month True North Business Consulting, LLC presents a different topic to help you in your business.

The idea behind holism is that all the parts must be taken into account, not just the whole. In the health and wellness community it is known as alternative medicine, taking into account social, physical, and other components to help those with illnesses. It has been successful, so why not apply the same idea to business?

What this means for businesses is that it is not just about reaching the end goal, but how you get there. All the businesses I work with want to be successful, meaning they want to make money. But, there has to be thought given to all the dimensions.

When advertising are their truthful statements being made? And where did the statements come from? So many times people use written information from websites as if it is open to the public. It’s not. Someone wrote that copy and it should be respected. Ask permission, if you want to use their words.

Part of managing a business is the everyday dealings. Those dealings are with clients and with employees. Each should be treated with respect. No one wants to do business with a practice that is not well run.

As employees we spend a lot of time at work. There needs to be benefits, even small ones like sharing a meal. Never take employees fore granted.

Make sure the contracts are fair to both sides, that all of the ramifications and risks are understood. Too many times one party takes advantage of the other party. Even more so, there is a vindictive nature that seems to come out to destroy each other. I am sure that was not the primary intention of dealings, and all of the ramifications- more than loss of money are not being considered.

A holistic approach to business takes into account the social impact of business decisions, not just for the sake of business. There is an understanding that people are humans, and that there is an end ramification, trying to be holistic will leads to more satisfaction in your business dealings.

If you want more information on this topic or wish to make a consultation appointment, please go to

The Truth about Multi Level Marketing

Too good to be true?
My friend wanted a passive income stream, which means making money without actively selling a product or service. A business associate suggested a product line, explained that customers would order online and she would make money. She went to an information session, was sold on the products and signed up without having a lawyer look at the documents.

She sold the products, and then wanted to known when she would be collecting her payments. It was then she was told she would not be paid, but instead received points towards products. It was not a passive income stream she was looking for, but instead a multi level marketing company or MLM.

Multi level marketing is a system where one business person, the top of the pyramid, receives commissions of their sales and the sales of others they get to sign up under them. It is sometimes referred to a pyramid scheme. This is not to say that they are all illegitimate, they are money makers for some.

What you should look for?
If you want to sell product, you have been approached and are interested, then there are some things you should keep in mind.
• Recognize that you are signing a contract. You may want to have a lawyer review it.
• Is there a penalty if you decide to terminate it?
• Can you easily terminate the contract?
• Next, look at how much money you have to give up front.
• Is the only way for you to make money to find someone else to sell with you so that you gain their commissions?
• Can you just sell the products in your office and do a markup. In this way you are treating the company more as a distributor.

There are opportunities in multi level marketing, but there are also risks. You need to have a good understanding of what it expected for you to make money before signing the contract.

Contact TrueNorth Business Consulting for your legal coaching needs to review your MLM contract.

Welcome to TrueNorth Business Consulting presentation of a Business Makeover. Each month will feature an idea that can help your business. True North focuses on helping health and wellness practitioners to maintain and grow their business using the areas of law, marketing, insurance and project management.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average U.S. worker changes careers 3-5 times during their lifetime. In today’s economy I do not see it feasible. Changing careers requires, more often than not, a large investment and sometimes an uncomfortable amount of risk.

I believe that already existing skills can be changed and repurposed with a limited investment.

I am looking forward to taking a mediation course in March, which will certify me as a Massachusetts mediator. This alone can not be the focus of my business. Yet, it works well within my business service parameters and it was a course at a limited cost. I can offer another service to my clients.

Offering another service

Think about the service you are currently providing. Is there something you can add that will work in conjunction to your business plan? Is there something from your past you can tap into? For example, you may now be a weight loss coach, but previously you were a fitness instructor. How about offering small, at home, group classes? These are many people that feel uncomfortable in a gym atmosphere.

Don’t let your old skills go, revive them and reuse them. Be green and recycle.

Every service provider uses some sort of product consistently in their business enterprise. Or there are products that work well with your business. I receive mail catalogs that contain many different products, products that people are not aware of, which could be stocked in your office. Are you an acupuncturist who helps neck and back injuries? Then why not sell not just herbs, but other products that can help your patients? It requires some effort to find a product you can support, which fit into your business, but there can be great monetary rewards, especially if you deal directly with the manufacturer.
Think of the convenience you are bringing to your clients. With you they can get many services. You have so much expertise, and it can work well together. Take a look at the True North Business Consulting Blog to see the Remarkable Women post for some great examples of how you evolve your business beyond your dreams. You can also look at what Jenifer Gebhard is doing to help her business take off.

I was reviewing a contract for a client who was offered what seemed to be a great business opportunity. No money up front, but a share in the profits. It seemed to good to be true, and as I read I found numerous issues which needed to be discussed.

In speaking with my client I found the need to backtrack and explain and define many terms that as a business person she needed to know to be able to make daily decisions. The words tumbled out of my mouth, “Each decision has legal ramifications.”

A scary thought for my client, which put what s/he was about to do in perspective. Suddenly, my hypothetical questions like, “What happens if you do not want to sell the business?” Because according to the paperwork I read my client, in a weaker position, would be forced to sell. This was not even a daily decision either– day to day things like purchasing office products, dealing with employees and clients.

It can be overwhelming because my client did not have a business background, but this was an opportunity, granted with some negotiation and some risk, but still in essence there was some possibilities. So here was my advice.

1. Do not panic.
2. Ask questions until you are clear or you make yourself clear.
3. Separate your personal feelings…this is not your friend, but a business associate.
4. Do not be rushed in making a decision. On things I am unfamiliar with (as a business person too) I invoke a 24 hour rule. It works on emails too.
5. Collect opinions because people have been faced with similar situations before, and you can learn from their history.

My client feels empowered now with understanding, and that is what you are striving for- to be able to make confident decisions especially in the New Year!