Franchises are excellent ways for entrepreneurs to enter new markets without starting a new business from scratch. Alternatively, if you have a successful business model, a way to grow your business without stretching your time and resources thin is to transform it into a franchise.
The person who decides to run the franchise (the franchisee) opens a new location for the chain. Think McDonald’s, Marriott International, and Century 21. The broader organization went through the growing pains of starting and building a reputable model. Now that they know it works, they package up the blueprint and allow others to capitalize on the imitable successes of the franchise. The franchisee has control over day-to-day operations and other matters but must operate within the boundaries of the franchise agreement. After all, would McDonald’s be the same without those golden arches?
In this post, the BrewerLong team takes you on a journey through how to franchise a business in Florida, explaining how to set one up from scratch or buy an existing one.
It can be hard to ignore if you have a hankering for starting a new business. But there is no substitute for having solid business and legal advice before you dive in. Our team helps entrepreneurs at every stage of business development, from formation to franchising to intellectual property protection and everything in between.
How to Franchise a Business in Florida
Setting up a Florida business franchise is an exciting step, but it takes effort. Let’s explore each option.
As you read, keep in mind that this is general advice. There is no one-size-fits-all method for franchising in Florida because each business is unique, and the laws are complex. For targeted advice on your situation, contact a franchise business attorney.
Turning an Existing Business into a Franchise
Here are the general steps for turning an existing business into a franchise.
Ready Your Business Plan to Franchise
Your first step to building a franchise is breaking down your processes into simple but comprehensive steps. When you franchise your business, you’re essentially allowing someone to open a new branch using your business name, logo, likeness, and other details.
It’s important to have clear expectations and conversations about your reason for franchising and the essentials of your business. For example, think about what the business model is, what has been successful, and why.
Apply for Intellectual Property Protection
Because you will be handing over the golden key to your business’s proprietary information, protecting your intellectual property is critical. After all, you want to maintain control over what belongs to the company, not just hand it over to someone else. Without having the proper protections, you devalue your business’s assets and allow people to steal and misuse your business’s intellectual property.
Save yourself the headache by creating an intellectual property protection plan and applying for the appropriate trademarks, copyrights, and patents. An intellectual property lawyer can help you develop a strategy that protects your business’s assets.
Prepare a Financial Disclosure Document to File with the Federal Trade Commission
In most cases, you will also need to draft and file a Financial Disclosure Document (FDD) with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Under the Franchise Rule, the majority of businesses need to furnish a host of information to the FTC, including:
- Information about you (the franchisor) and the company;
- Your business experience;
- Federal, state, or governmental litigation involving the business;
- Franchise fees;
- Financial investments made by you or others;
- The responsibilities and rights of the franchisee; and
- Restrictions you place on franchisees in purchasing goods or services for the franchise.
A franchise attorney can help you gather the appropriate material to complete the FDD and help you file it. An attorney can also advise you about when you need to file this during the franchise process.
Write the Appropriate Agreements
One of the last steps to franchising your business in Florida is to write the franchise agreement and operating manual. The operating manual is the blueprint for how to run the business.
The franchise agreement is the contract between you and the franchisee (the person who will purchase the rights to use and operate a new branch of your business).
If you haven’t talked to an attorney before this point, we highly suggest that you do. If you word the franchise agreement correctly, it will protect your rights, enable the franchisee to run a successful franchise, and allow everyone to enjoy the fruits of a profitable partnership. But an improperly worded agreement can potentially cause more problems than it solves.
Buying an Existing Florida Franchise Business
Buying into a franchise business is an excellent way to venture out and start a business. Because you are purchasing part of a franchise, you have more assurance that your investment may pay off in the future. Plus, you have the resources and support of an established business but the management and control of owning your own business.
Before you take the next step, it’s essential to do your research. Look into the potential markets and brands to find one that resonates with you.
Take this opportunity to set up meetings with franchise owners to determine which one is a good fit. Also, remember that you will need to apply to be a franchisee with the company. Review their requirements and the potential terms of a franchise agreement.
BrewerLong—Florida Franchise Attorneys
At BrewerLong, we understand the unique challenges entrepreneurs face, especially in the franchise context. We dedicate our time and resources to serving those starting, running, and growing businesses throughout Florida.
Since its inception in 2008, our firm has put people and relationships first, successfully serving business owners and their families.
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