Become a Franchise Owner Book Review

Prospective franchisees should read a new book from The Franchise King, Joel Libava, called Become a Franchise Owner: The Startup-Guide to Lowering Risk, Making Money, and Owning What You Do.

I don't make that recommendation lightly. But Joel and I share a common passion. We are both passionate about making sure that franchisees investigate and research franchises carefully. All too often people invest their life savings in a franchise only to find out that the franchise wasn't for them. While proper due diligence and investigation doesn't guarantee success, it definitely gives you a better chance!

Joel's book is straight-forward and full of practical tips in researching franchise opportunities. He says that most people start off their franchise research by making two mistakes:

  1. Going it alone without anyone experienced in franchising to assist them;
  2. Starting the search by searching for a franchise. You've got to determine if franchise ownership is right for you first.

Now I must disclose that Joel included a short piece I wrote for the book on my thoughts in reviewing the franchise disclosure document and franchise agreement. After reading the entire book, I am even more flattered that he asked me to write the piece because I believe his book is the best I've read on the steps franchisees need to take in order to properly research franchising and how best to lower risk in the process.  It's a small investment ($8.99 for the Kindle version and $14.63 for the hard cover) but could save you big bucks down the road. If you're thinking about researching a franchise, my hope for you is that you read this book before starting. And if you've started, stop now and read this book before it's too late.

How Business Gets Done

 I am proud to be one of the authors of How Business Gets Done: Words of Wisdom By Central Iowa Experts. Thirty-two experts from Central Iowa have collaborated to share their best practices on a variety of subjects including marketing, leadership, accounting, and legal. It's a great desk reference for any entrepreneur.

Visit to pick up a copy of the book. Proceeds go to fund scholarships through Hats off to Mike Colwell and Drew McLellan for masterminding such a great book.

CyberLaw: A Legal Arsenal For Online Business

If you operate an online business or you are thinking of starting one I recommend you pick up a copy of Cyberlaw:  A Legal Arsenal For your Online Business.  Written by Iowa intellectual property attorney Brett Trout the book is new and updated with lots more content than his previous version. This book still has the helpful sample agreements and policies, but now covers new topics like document retention policies and social networking. Trout also offers easy how-to’s on avoiding legal pitfalls. The rich content and practical advice is bound to save you costly legal fees down the road.

The great thing about this book is that it is actually written for entrepreneurs - not lawyers.  You will appreciate the easy to understand language.  If you call Brett directly you might even be able to pick up an autographed copy from Iowa's toughest attorney

Case Selection: Trust Your Gut

Tim Johnson of Carpe Factum recently challenged Iowa patent lawyer Brett Trout and me to show how we "thin-slice" clients and cases. Brett posted first and did a great job with how he thin-slices clients.  That leaves thin-slicing cases to me.  Thin-slicing is a concept from Malcom Gladwell's book, Blink, and is about how we as human beings are capable of making sense of situations on the thinnest slice of experience.

So, what five things do I look for to quickly size up a litigation case?

1)  Do I like the client?  I generally see the good in people.  If I don't like someone there is a significant possibility a jury or judge won't like them either.  That is not to say the client must be perfect.  No case is perfect and the client won't be either. (Just as lawyers are not perfect).  But I ask myself about whether I am willing to sit next to this person at trial.  It also doesn't hurt if the other side wears a black hat.  But experience tells me a client is never as good and the other side is never as bad as you initially think.

2)   What's the law?  You can have huge damages and a wonderful client but if the law is not on your side - forget about it.  I turned down the largest damage case that ever walked into my office because it could not be won.  You must have a reasonable chance of winning.

3)  Am I familiar with the subject matter?  Preparation of a case in an unfamiliar area of law costs more time and increases the risk.  Plus, I need to be qualified to handle it. 

4)  Will the recovery be worth the effort?  This is true for both the client and lawyer.  If it is an hourly case, I consider the likelihood the client will recover significantly more than they have paid in legal fees and expenses.  If it is a contingency case, the risk is on my shoulders.  So, I consider the likelihood of recovery, the potential amount of recovery, and how much I will need to invest (in time and money) in order to complete the case.  It is also important to know whether the judgment is collectible. 

5)  Is the case interesting or a cause worth pursuing?  It helps to have passion for the case.  We often live with cases for years at a time.  I always ask whether I can make a difference and help someone.   

When I follow these factors it tends to lead to more success and happiness both on my part and the client.   

Mavericks at Work

I recently enjoyed the book Mavericks at Work, Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win.  The authors are William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre.

According to the book the first question to ask yourself is:  Do you have a distinctive and disruptive sense of purpose that sets you apart from your rivals?

An example is Cranium which had a much higher purpose than just selling their games.  Instead, they were rethinking how parents could relate to their kids and how families could relate to one another.

My sense of purpose with this blog is that I can educate and provide information to clients and business people in such a way that helps them identify legal issues and make more informed choices about what legal services they need.   

So ask yourself, what is your higher purpose?


Is Your Team Dysfunctional?

One of the best business books I have read recently is Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni of The Table Group. In an easy-to-read format he diagnoses symptoms of teams in trouble:

1. Absence of Trust
2. Fear of Conflict
3. Lack of Commitment
4. Avoidance of Accountability
5. Inattention to Results

My guess is the flaws of malfuntioning teams may hit home for many businesses and law firms. This book is definitely worth the read.

Your (Law Firm) Management Sucks

Your (Law Firm) Management Sucks

I recently read Your Management Sucks by business consultant Mark Stevens. It's a great book that I highly recommend. (It is the sequel to Your Marketing Sucks which I also recommend). In his latest book Stevens advises that you should declare war on your business management philosophy. Here is his seven-point declaration of war:

1. Unleash the Power of a Personal Philosophy: Don't just rock the boat of your business, be prepared to capsize it.

2. Challenge the Oxymoron of Convential Wisdom: The so-called smart thing is all too often stale thinking masquerading as truth.

3. Take a Good Look in the Mirror . . Do You See a Leader? The worst damn thing in the world you can do is copy a success. Be an original.

4. Develop Your Personal Killer App: Become greater than the sum of your parts.

5. Unleash Your Manhatten Project: Implement the plan that will change your world and life.

6. Capture Ideas with a Butterfly Net: Seek out what you need to know and use it for personal growth.

7. Apply C+A+M, the Universal Equation for Perpetual Growth: Win customers and make them deliriously happy.

So that got me thinking. How do lawyers rate in this equation? Do lawyers and law firms suck?

Does your law firm:

Return phone calls promptly?
Send personal notes to thank clients for their business?
Give clients anything to acknowledge their loyal patronage?
Invite your clients to anything that doesn't involve charging a fee?
Do anything fresh, powerful and unique?

If not, your law firm missing the opportunity to stand out. So take Mark Stevens' advice - declare war on how you practice law today. For more information about Mark Stevens and his books you can visit his Web site at


Iowa Corporate & Business Attorney to Write "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting a Business in Iowa"

Iowa Corporate and Business Attorney to Write "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting a Business in Iowa"

Des Moines,Iowa corporate and business attorney Rush Nigut is currently working on an online handbook entitled, "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting a Business in Iowa". The handbook will appear on the Web site of Sullivan & Ward, P.C.(a law firm located in West Des Moines, Iowa) and the rushonbusiness blog. The guide will aid entrepreneurs in the formation of their Iowa business and will include the following information:

1) Choosing a structure and forming your business;
2) Iowa state requirements for officially forming your business;
3) Nonprofit corporations;
4) Selecting your business name and how to protect it;
5) Iowa state responsibilities for maintaining your business entity;
6) Key terms and information for your business;
7) Iowa tax information;
8) Small Business Development Center information;
9) Financing your Iowa business;
10) Duties as an Iowa Employer;
11) Writing a business plan;
12) Human resources management;
13) Insurance issues;
14) Iowa state licensing issues;
15) Governmental regulations;
16) Environmental issues;
17) Successfully marketing your Iowa business.
18) Iowa Business Resource Links;

Click here for more information if you are interested in forming an Iowa business entity.