Congratulations to What's For Dinner - Des Moines and its owners, Dawn Angus and Kristen Severs for their feature article in the Des Moines Business Record. The success of their meal assembly business has brought multiple inquiries from would be entrepreneurs who are wondering whether they offer franchises opportunities for their business. The thought of expanding beyond the single store operation had intrigued the owners but the investment of time and money is substantial. A franchise also opens you up to FTC and state regulations which require disclosure statements such as an offering circular.
The article discusses how Dawn and Kristen were presented an opportunity to offer a license of their recipes, Web site and logo. In these particular circumstances we were able to craft an agreement which provided them the opportunity to expand their reach beyond the single location but without all the hassles and expense of a franchise.
So is licensing a viable option for businesses looking to expand rather than franchising in all circumstances? Absolutely not. Whether or not licensing is right for you is completely dependent upon the facts and circumstances of your own individual situation. (See Don't Let Your Distribution or Licensing Agreement Become an Inadvertent Franchise).
Iowa has very specific laws on franchising and other business opportunity promotions. In order to license your business product here in Iowa you must fall within the exceptions to the franchise and business opportunity promotions. Particularly if you are offering a business system or marketing plan to a new business it may be difficult to fall within the exceptions to these important regulations.
In order to determine if licensing is right for you be sure to consult a business and/or franchise lawyer before acting.