While the business should be simple, the system should not. You may attract franchisees by your unique concept or name, but to be successful, franchisees need systems that allow them to operate the business and stay ahead of the competition. You need to not only develop a prototype, but also document the systems, recipes, procedures, marketing techniques, and the like that you will provide to your franchisees, and develop training programs that enable franchisees to replicate your success.
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Early on shareholders are often ebullient about business prospects and their ability to always reach agreement. Personal or economic stress can dampen that spirit. Areas of contention include unequal compensation, added capital contributions, debt guarantees, vacation days taken, whether a position on the board is guaranteed. Business divorces, like other divorces, can be expensive and acrimonious. Mitigate risks by documenting your agreements in the form of a shareholder control agreement.
It may be tempting to selectively enforce non-compete covenants against some employees but not others. However, selective enforcement can be used as a defense by a former employee. Uniform and vigorous enforcement of non-compete agreements sends a message to existing employees that such agreements will be enforced if violated. That in turn deters future violations.
The reality is there’s no better time than when relationships are strong and positive to develop an agreement that protects the partnership against unforeseen changes down the road. If a shareholder decides to leave the partnership, a buy/sell agreement can provide liquidity, establish a value for the stock, and offer restrictions on stock transfer in a closely held company. It requires thought and discussion, but can be a lifesaver for a company if done properly.
Thoughtful consideration must be given to the entire trademark portfolio and not just the mark being considered for modernization. Once the changes are made, it’s hard to go back.
Before doing anything else, understand the opportunities available in your target markets. Research the market’s competitive conditions and growth potential. At the same time, recognize the obstacles inherent to market.
Contrary to popular perception, a good premarital agreement is not about creating an inevitable unhappy ending, but rather about planning for possible future events, with input from both spouses.
Your company’s trademarks are the first and most direct touchpoints to your consuming public and thus an invaluable asset.
Even if a business is not legally required to disclose a security breach, consider whether customer relations or other factors weigh in favor of letting your customers know
Not every case can or should be mediated, but mediation is the most commonly used method of resolving legal disputes. So the question is, do you mediate before the lawsuit starts?
One of the common pitfalls for small businesses is picking a domain name that infringes upon another company’s intellectual property rights.
Public documents relating to the patenting process provide virtually all the information needed to predict how the court will interpret the claims.
Despite the common notion that you can defer a buy-sell agreement until you have the resources to devote to the process, you should not put it off.
Just like a yearly visit to the family doctor, an intellectual property audit should be regular and systematic.