Legal Matters

A One-Page Business

For many years clients have asked me – “Now that I have my new company (corporation or LLC) what should I do next?” Tax and payroll issues aside, I’ve always asked them, “What does your business plan tell you to do?” Their response was almost universally a blank stare or they would ask, “What’s a business plan?”

At that point I shared with them a transformative experience that I had in 2001. I went to a seminar at a convention I was attending. Jim Horan, an author and motivational speaker, conducted the session. The seminar was called the “One-Page Business Plan”, which explained why having a business plan was critical to the success of any business. During the session, Horan also explained the importance of updating your business plan as your business grows. With a long, multi-page, complicated business plan, this could become a daunting task. On the other hand, updating a one-page plan is a simpler and less intimidating endeavor.

How to Get Started

Before writing your one-page business plan, here are some questions you’ll need to answer:

1. What is your vision (what will the company look like in three years)?

2. What is your mission (why are you building it)?

3. What is unique about your business (your point of differentiation)?

4. What results will you measure to see if your business is doing what it should be?

5. What is your strategy for building this business?

6. What is the work to be done?

The Plan

When I attended this seminar, it included workbooks and templates to help you arrive at the answers that would make it easy to write a one-page business plan. The good news is that all of this is now available on the Internet. CLICK HERE and in a matter of minutes you can create a business plan that will allow you to track your business progress and keep you focused on doing the right things.

If you need assistance developing a more comprehensive, long-term business plan, you don’t need to attend a seminar. Call our office and let’s talk.



Contact Ron Axelrod at 585-203-1020

Many people are unfamiliar with an ethical will – also known as a ‘legacy letter’. In this article we will describe what an ethical will is, explore what it aims to accomplish, and how it differs from a legal will.

Unlike a traditional will or trust which is a legal document that transfers your personal and physical assets to your loved ones or charities after you pass, an ethical will aims to leave behind those intangible gifts to your loved ones such as personal stories, life lessons, wisdom you’ve gained from your life experiences, blessings, how you wish to have values or traditions preserved, and much more. It is your personal legacy letter to those who you’ve included in your legal will and is written by you, rather than an attorney.

Not Exactly a New Idea

Since ancient times, people have shared stories, wisdom, and blessings with future generations in hopes of leaving a personal legacy. A dying Jacob gathered his sons to offer them his blessings and to request them to bury him in Canaan with his ancestors, rather in Egypt. In modern times, Barack Obama’s legacy letter to his daughters, written on the eve of his inauguration in 2009, told his own personal story, expressed his values, and asked them to reach beyond their individual life goals to help others.

Messages You May Want to Include

Because your life’s worth cannot be measured by possessions alone, an ethical will is a beautiful way to relay meaningful messages to your loved ones straight from your heart. Messages that you may want to include are:

· Cultural, spiritual, and religious traditions you would like your family to preserve

· A written document with family history and stories to be cherished for years to come

· Your own personal story and how major events in your life have impacted you and formed your values

· Life lessons you want to pass on to your children

· Gratitude to those you cherish that you have not thanked enough

· Apologies to those you fear you may have hurt in the past

· Guiding principles you’ve lived by and hope are adopted by those you’ve left behind

· Wishes for your family and future generations

Inheritance Decisions Explained

If you’ve decided not to divide your estate equally among your beneficiaries for various reasons, your ethical will is an opportunity to explain why you have made these decisions. Maybe one of your children is financially well off and receives less of your inheritance than someone who is in greater need. Or, if it is important to you that one of your children follow your strong religious beliefs and they’ve chosen another path, this might also influence how your estate is being divided. If one beneficiary is to receive their inheritance outright, while another’s will remain in trust for many years, an ethical will offers you the opportunity to explain why.

Sharing Your Letter Sooner than Later

An ethical will tells your family what it is in in your meaningful life experiences that helped shape your values. It can be used as a healing tool offering apologies to those you have hurt and forgiving those you have hurt who may have hurt you. And finally, it allows you to share any advice you have for your family going forward. These are all good reasons why your loved ones should read your legacy letter now, while you’re still living. Sharing it with family and friends before you pass may also offer you greater peace of mind – having left nothing unsaid. If worded properly – leaving out judgments and criticisms – your loved ones will cherish your legacy letter for many years to come.


An ethical will does not attempt to replace a legal will, but is a natural compliment to it and can be a part of your overall estate planning. If you need assistant with estate planning, Ronald J. Axelrod, a Rochester, NY, attorney, can assist you. Call Ron at (585) 203-1020 to set up a complimentary initial appointment.


About Ronald J. Axelrod

Ron founded Ronald J. Axelrod & Associates more than 35 years ago and focuses his practice on estate planning including wills and trusts, elder law and Medicaid planning, and business law in Rochester, New York. He is also co-founder of a business brokerage firm, Transworld Business Advisors of Western New York. His law offices are located at 290 Linden Oaks, Suite 200, Rochester, NY 14625. He can be reached by calling (585) 203-1020 or emailing him at You can also visit his website:

Whether you’re thinking of buying a business or selling an existing one, it’s vital that you have the benefit of a skilled business law attorney since mistakes can be costly. A good business lawyer will minimize risks and maximize benefits, and assist with all interactions, contracts, organization documents, and all aspects of transactions. This article provides general information and does not constitute legal advice.


Your business lawyer will insure that the representations made by a seller are correct and that the business makes the profits the seller represents. It is also critical to have proof of the proper legal formation of the seller, that all of its taxes are current, that there aren’t liens against the assets being purchased, as well as a host of conditions that must be met before a closing can take place.

One of the most important reasons why you should involve our skilled business law attorney as soon as you are considering buying a business is in the preparation and negotiation of the purchase agreement. It is to our responsibility to prepare and negotiate the asset purchase agreement that's most advantageous to you. When individuals take on these responsibilities without the help of a business law attorney, it can have negative consequences that are not realized until it’s too late. Even if a business broker drafts a purchase offer for you, an experienced business law attorney should review it to ensure that the sale closes in the way that all parties intended with the most favorable tax consequences and that you are protected from any post-closing problems.

When it comes to financing your purchase, legal assistance by a business lawyer is critical. He or she will negotiate and draft any necessary loan agreements from financial institutions, and if you’re receiving financing from private investors, your business lawyer will ensure that all legal documents are in compliance with state and federal tax and securities laws.

Your business law attorney will also assist with:

  • Preparing purchase agreements and closing documents

  • Advising on post-closing rights and obligations

  • Negotiating leases

  • Reviewing franchise agreements

  • Reviewing zoning and other local laws affecting the transaction

  • Attending any municipal or zoning meetings on your behalf

  • Assisting with requirements of the Small Business Administration

  • Helping you obtain any necessary licenses or permits

  • Consulting on integration issues post-closing

  • Conducting thorough due diligence assessment of the viability of the business

  • Deciding what form of formal organization is best for your situation


When selling a business the goal of a business law attorney is to protect your interests, make sure you receive everything you bargained for, and then structure the transaction with the most favorable tax consequences possible. A good business lawyer will also help you review many documents, which is called a ‘due diligence review’. These documents include leases, vendor and franchise agreements, material contracts to be transferred, sales and income tax ramifications,

An experienced business lawyer will also assist with:

  • Creating documents that explain the benefits of your business to possible buyers, and prepare non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, protecting your confidential information.

  • Making recommendations to enhance the overall value of your business before you place it on the market

  • Determining the best ways to structure the transaction

  • Reviewing and evaluating purchase offers, including identifying the benefits and risks of potential offers

  • Assisting in the due diligence process, including completing any necessary disclosures, helping to resolve environmental concerns, and tax matters – including sales tax issues

  • Obtaining proof as to clear title of assets being sold

  • Working closely with other professionals, including accountants, lenders, financial advisors and business brokers

  • Preparing necessary documents to complete the sales process

  • Overseeing the entire sales process, so that there is a smooth transition of your business

  • Attending closing and preparing post-closing documentation of the sale


Ronald Axelrod, a Rochester, NY, business lawyer can help you with every aspect of buying or selling a business. He may also be able to help you obtain financing by connecting you with the appropriate individuals in the financial industry to help you finance your purchase.

In addition, Ronald J. Axelrod & Associates also offers a full range of business brokerage services through its affiliate, Transworld Business Advisors of Buffalo. This business brokerage service assists individuals looking to purchase or sell a business in the Western New York region, including Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Batavia. CLICK HERE to see the complete list of services that Transworld Business Advisors provides, as well as a listing of businesses for sale. If you are considering purchasing or selling a business, please call 585.203.1020 for a complimentary review of your situation.