contact an attorney
While by no means risk free, franchising can offer a shortcut to business success. Read the article reprinted from The Costco Connection in which Nancy Lanard provides suggestions to follow when investing in a franchise.
Reprinted with permission from The Costco Connection, a magazine published by Costco Wholesale Corporation
"Franchise business activity is strongly on the upswing, according to Nancy L. Lanard, one of three partners at the newly formed Spadea, Lanard & Lignana. The Philadelphia-based firm includes partners Tom Spadea and Josh Lignana, and three associates. “Back in 2007, I’d get two or three inquiries a day from businesses interested in becoming franchisors, or franchisors looking to register in additional states,” said Lanard. “That dried up in the recession, but it’s back to that level. It’s almost a boom time again, where prospective franchisees can borrow and franchisors have easier access to credit for expansion.” Spadea, Lanard & Lignana is primarily a transaction-oriented firm, built on Lanard’s nearly 30 years of experience and Spadea’s network of contacts developed during his years as an executive with franchisors Rita’s Italian Ice, Saladworks, and Huntington Learning Center. Read more »
Attorney Tom Spadea interviewed on Franchise Today by host Paul Segreto. Paul and Tom discuss the nuts and bolts of landlord and lender negotiations and how the same, done effectively, improves the chances of franchise success.
Responding to Employee Theft
To best protect its interests, an employer who suspects that one of its employees is stealing should immediately consult the company's attorney for advice. Typically, the attorney will advise the employer to take steps that include the following:
Commence the Investigation Promptly: A small business owner should initiate the investigation of a purported theft by an employee immediately. This prevents the employer from running afoul of criminal and civil statutes of limitation.
Place a Third-party Employee in Charge of the Investigation: A management employee other than the supervisor who first observed or reported the theft should perform the investigation. This avoids the taint of bias that a more involved player would bring to the investigation. In addition, the employer should interview the accused in the presence of a witness.
Maintain Strict Confidentiality: Maintaining strict confidentiality throughout the investigation is essential. Failure to act discretely in handling an employee theft can subject the company to defamation claims by the accused employee. Read more »
The surest way to diminish your company's otherwise sharp business communication is to pepper your presentation with simple grammar errors. Nothing causes a client to discount your message more quickly than to spy one of these top ten common mistakes in your letter!
This list provides an easy path toward keeping your business colleague's attention on what's important: your underlying ideas. Dust off your grammar school rules and clean up your correspondence by avoiding these top ten errors:
1. ITS OR THEIR?
Mistake: The practice of this management company is to have each corporate tenant sign their lease on the third day of the month.
Correction: The practice of this management company is to have each corporate tenant sign its lease on the third day of the month.
Alternative Correction: The practice of this management company is to have all corporate tenants sign their leases on the third day of the month. Read more »
What Are Patents, Trademarks & Copyrights?
The average person has a great deal of confusion about the difference between patents, trademarks and copyrights. Each of these protect a valuable asset of an individual or business.
What are Trademarks?
'Trademarks" are logos, names or symbols that are used on products. "Service marks" are logos, names or symbols that are used on services. These marks are used by the company to distinguish their product or service from their competitor's. The purpose of trademark law is to protect unfair competition and avoid confusion in the marketplace. Trademarks protect a company's goodwill that is gained when customers associate a mark with that company's product or service. For example, Toys R Us® is a valuable trademark of a national toy store. If a toy store wanted to open with the name "Play Things R Us", this would constitute an infringing trademark. Read more »
It can seem quite daunting when first faced with a commercial lease that is filled with pages of terms and conditions. How does a potential tenant decide the important issues? Most prospective tenants are concerned with the business terms of the lease - what is the rent, what are the additional charges, repairs and maintenance responsibilities? However, the legal issues, if not properly addressed in the lease, can be extremely costly to the tenant. Read more »
The choice of an entity is often the first important legal decision that an entrepreneur must make. In the last few years the choices have become greater. An individual business owner can have a sole proprietorship, corporation (C or S) or limited liability company. An organization with several owners can be formed as a general partnership, corporation, or Limited Liability Company ("LLC") (note limited partnerships and Limited Liability Partnerships will not be discussed in this article).
On what basis does a firm make this important decision? Certain key factors help to form a guide in answering this question.
This is the easiest, least costly and least regulated form of organization for the individual owner. The only legal necessity for forming this business is to commence operations. It is recommended to file a fictitious name registration in all states in which the business will operate and check zoning and licensing laws for the location of the business. Additionally, all marketing materials should be trademarked and/or copyrighted. Read more »
How to Avoid Stormy Seas and Promote Smooth Sailing to Protect Your Business
As captain of the figurative ship, you want to prevent your sailor employees from leaving one day to sign up at a competing port of call. A non-compete agreement, restricting an employee from going adrift and joining a competitor for a reasonable period of time after she leaves your voyage, can effectively shore up customer goodwill and proprietary business information, provided that the agreement is enforceable under Pennsylvania law.
The following currents on non-compete agreements will help steer a course that avoids litigation and provides a safe harbor for your business:
The best time to have an employee sign a non-compete agreement is the period before he sets sail. Pennsylvania courts are likely to hold that executing a covenant not to compete prior to the employee's tour of duty in the employment relationship provides sufficient consideration to support the restrictive covenant. Read more »
Joseph was planning to buy a new house from a builder until he came to the conclusion that the builder's sales representative had misled him about the availability of a particular model. In an earlier time, he might have been content to vent to a sympathetic neighbor across his backyard fence, but this is the age of cyberspace.
Joseph registered an Internet name that was very similar to that of the builder and then created a website as a forum for relating the reasons for his frustration with the builder. He included a disclaimer making it clear that visitors were not on the builder's website. There was no charge to access the site and the site contained no paid advertisements. Once in a while, an e-mail intended for the builder came to Joseph's site, but he promptly forwarded it to the builder. Read more »
Whether or not to give the green light to franchising a business is a complex decision. While franchises may yield avenues of opportunity for expansion and profit, a business owner should also be aware of the possible bumps along the road in the franchising process. To provide a general roadmap for potential franchisors who are considering going down this street, I recommend at the outset paying attention to these signs:
Both the federal and state governments place limits on franchising to which a possible franchisor must be alert. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and various state agencies regulate franchises, and state laws may differ from state to state. Read more »
“If you can't reach out and touch it, it is not insured.” That was the gist of a court's ruling in a lawsuit brought by a company that lost a large amount of electronically stored data when an employee inadvertently pressed the “delete” key on a keyboard. The company looked to its insurer to cover the expenses for restoring the data and to recover lost income caused by the disruption. The insurer denied coverage on the basis of policy language that limited coverage to a “direct physical loss of or damage to” covered property. Read more »
Are you looking to buy a franchise? Do you imagine yourself as the owner of your own franchised business? What are the key concerns and issues that you need to know before you buy a franchise? You have been given the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), what is this and how should you use this information? What should you know about the franchise agreement prior to signing it? Why are the franchisor’s audited financial statements important? Make sure you read this article to learn the answers to these questions.
1. Learn What You Can From Other Franchisees
Speak to as many franchisees in the franchise system as you can, asking them what they liked and disliked about the support and training they received. You should also speak to prior franchisees - people who have left the franchise system and ask them what they liked and disliked about the support and training they received from the franchisor. Both existing and former franchisees are listed as exhibits to Item 20 of the FDD. Read more »