A Franchise Lawyer is the ‘First Mate’ Necessary to Help Steer Your Business in the Direction of Success
A lawyer/client relationship, as most business people know, is one of the most important relationships of your car
eer. In business, there are many obstacles that go hand-in-hand with your many successes, and in order to steer through those ‘shark-infested’ waters (as most would say), your lawyer is the one that must not only be informative and incredibly skilled at their job, but also be the one who is completely and utterly trusted.
In this day and age, with more and more businesspeople turning to the world of franchising in order to make their dream of success become a reality, the role of franchise lawyer has become the most important to fulfill. When considering opening a franchise, self-examination is key. The new owner must have a realistic concept of what the best franchise industry is to fit their specific skill-set or individual personality. But once those decisions have been made, the steps to opening that franchise and seeing it thrive increase in their size and intensity.
Whether you are a long-standing business that is in need of more technical capabilities when it comes to the daily operations of your franchise, or you are the ‘new face’ in the market that is just learning the ins-and-outs of the franchising world, you need to locate and establish a relationship with a representative that you know will enhance, help and protect your business needs.
Your lawyer’s primary task is to make sure that your legal rights are fully protected. Not only must they review or prepare legal documents on your behalf, but they must also understand the many intricacies that come with opening and running a franchise. The ‘olden days’ of Mr. Scrooge are gone; today all businesses are looking for honesty and skill to merge with a personality and a charisma that will not only improve their business concept but also instill the confidence they need to grow their business. The franchise lawyer must also provide an honest assessment of the franchise system and make sure they do their part in making your ‘move’ a successful venture.
Even though when it comes to making the decision to franchise the cost of the business is always a consideration, it is not and should not be the only one that matters. Cost is also not the one that should be given the most importance when it comes to starting, building or expanding one’s business. This is where the franchise lawyer immediately comes into play. What many beginners do not have knowledge of is the fact that with franchises come truly intricate issues – from advertising and media to walking the maze of licenses, rules, regulations and laws – both state and federal.
There are many who ‘romanticize’ the idea of being a business owner without seeing the true reality that being your ‘own boss’ requires a great deal more work than most people are willing to take on. Not to mention, the franchisee does have that ‘higher up’ in charge called the franchisor, who is actually the one in charge of the company, trademarks, system and products but gives the right to the franchisee to run the franchise in an agreed upon location in return for an agreed upon fee.
When running directly into such a premise with no background in the area, the franchise lawyer goes from being one of the necessities to the number one necessity. After all, without having the background regarding franchise systems or the laws that apply to them, a person that holds the education and knowledge to help is required in order to maintain and/or build the company, as well as the personal lifestyle that the client wishes to attain.
For instance, franchising is regulated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and by various state agencies. And, under the FTC Franchise Rule, there are three distinct elements of a franchise which businesspeople must be able to work through. From the trademark to situations where the franchisor actually has significant control of operations; from the approval of the site to the specified production techniques of the business – these are all things you must be made aware of up front before heading down the franchising path. The third item where a franchise lawyer must be brought into the equation is when it comes to contracts where the franchisee payments are spelled out. Up front fees, required payments, as well as any payments the franchisee makes to the franchisor for the right to be a franchisee must be reviewed.
Then there is state law that must also be upheld and understood just as faithfully as the federal law. The definitions of franchises vary when it comes to state law; when it comes to the marketing/advertising plan, the franchisee must understand the intricacies that come along with being granted the “right to engage in the business of offering, selling or distributing goods or services” under a plan that has already been put in place by the franchisor.
On top of all these regulations and definitions there are also the categories of disclosure laws, registration laws and relationship laws that a franchisee must entertain. They must also be aware and understand the various types of health, business and safety laws that may apply to the operation of your franchised business, as well as the penalties that come along with those violations.
Let’s face it, after reading the above, as a business person who is about to or recently has opened a franchise, these laws, rules and regulations can certainly inspire a bit of awe-like dread. But with the right franchise lawyer – a person who not only can walk you through each and every turn of franchising but also form the client/lawyer relationship through honesty and talent – franchise laws can become a much easier task. This leaves you, the owner, to put your energy into making your particular franchise a huge success.
Over future weeks we will be delving into the world of franchise law, as well as a franchise lawyer who has worked with hundreds of both start-up and existing franchises. Mike Rosenthal not only has the immense knowledge that a business person needs, but he also truly enjoys working with owners to help them grow and expand their business through franchising. Hence, clients not only receive a constant stream of good legal counsel, but they are also awarded helpful input from a business perspective.
The world of franchising in the 21st century has become one of the most valuable and most sought after opportunities available. But, remember, when starting out a new venture you do need that ‘first mate’ who
will help you steer through the waters that lay ahead. With your pick of the best franchise lawyer for you and your company comes the opportunity to see your business grow, expand and succeed.
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