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Rush Nigut practices primarily in business and franchise law in West Des Moines, Iowa. His practice includes both transactional and litigation matters.

I read an excellent article from the Franchise King, Joel Libava, that he wrote for the SBA website on what it takes to franchise your business. His article highlights various points including:

  • Validating the idea
  • Duplication
  • Creating a system
  • Legalities
  • Marketing and sales

We also had some Twitter discussion regarding the fees and royalties that

For the last 40 years, Entrepreneur Magazine has released its Franchise 500 List, ranking the “best” Franchises in America. They rank them based on Five Pillars: Costs & Fees, Size & Growth, Support, Brand Strength, and Financial Strength & Stability. The giants at the top aren’t much of a surprise, with McDonald’s, Dunkin’, and Taco Bell all in the top 5. Many other big names are also scattered on the list. The Franchise 500 gives information on investment costs, and many other things you can expect if you decide to purchase a franchise for a specific company. If you are interested in purchasing a franchise, this list can be a great asset. However, it shouldn’t be your only resource, and most certainly does not tell the whole story.

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There have been a series of changes over the past year in federal regulations that impact your old LLC operating agreement. Since I see on a regular basis operating agreements that do not incorporate the changes in the regulations, I thought I would mention a key change in this post. With the new regulations there is no longer a “tax matters partner” which you will see in most operating agreements. Instead, the LLC (partnership) must designate a Partnership Representative (the “PR”) who does not need to be a partner. The PR is similar to, but is different from, the tax matters partner. Formerly, the LLC/partnership was required to designate a tax matters partner to act as a liaison between the partnership and the IRS. That tax matters partner was required to be a general partner and could be an individual or an entity. The tax matters partner had the authority to bind the partnership, but not to bind other partners in the partnership. Also, a partner that was not the tax matters partner had rights during an examination, including certain notification rights and the right to participate in the proceeding.

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Last May we announced that we were a part of a pilot program the Iowa Secretary of State’s office launched for fast track filing of limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations. I am happy to report that the filing system has worked like an absolute gem. Now it is truly more convenient than ever to get your business formed within the State of Iowa. Our turnaround time for preparing and filing LLCs and corporations has been dramatically reduced. In my years of practice I must admit that this is one of the best projects a government office has pulled off. I give Iowa Secretary of State’s office major kudos for their work.

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Let’s get down to brass tacks. The main reason Republican lawmakers in Iowa are looking to change the way Iowa judges are selected is because they want protection for social issues like an anti-abortion bill they hope to pass this legislative session and due to the Iowa Supreme Court decision in Varnum from several years ago where the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that non-religious, civil marriage, is available to everyone. Since Varnum, special interests worked hard to oust Iowa Supreme Court justices. And now, these special interests are setting their sights on changing the process for the Judicial Nominating Commission that ultimately appoints judges in Iowa. Under the current system, Iowa lawyers elect one-half of the commissioners to the Judicial District Nominating Commissions while the governor appoints the other half of the members. Lawmakers want to change this so that lawyers no longer elect one-half of the commissioners but rather lawmakers from the political parties would nominate the other half.

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I recently had the distinction of reviewing a franchise agreement for the very first prospective franchisee in a franchise. My review revealed there were still many issues to work out in the agreement and with the system in general to make it reasonable for the franchisee. But the potential opportunity was very intriguing to the prospective franchisee due to the financial success of the underlying business. Sometimes it is difficult to balance the legal issues (what I know from past experiences with franchises that have failed) v. prospects of financial success (i.e.the potential for a significant return on investment particularly with a new or inexperienced franchisor).

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If you’re not a risk-taker, you should get the hell out of business.

– Ray Kroc

I read the above quote today, and wondered, is this true? Do you really need to be a risk-taker to be in business? And, if you don’t take risks you should actually get the hell out of business. Because as a business lawyer, our whole being is about reducing risks for clients, not advocating for it.


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