On March 11, Ser & Associates continued their monthly Entrepreneurship Workshop series for small business owners, offering free access to legal professionals and information that will help local businesses grow.

“It was a workshop geared for assisting business owners interested in becoming franchisors. We wanted to help them understand the legal landscape of franchising and start thinking about how they want to structure their franchises,” said Zach Evangelista, Ser & Associates attorney.

He explained to the group that franchising includes three criteria: payment and fees, substantial association with a trademark, and substantial control over the business operation. Franchising comes down to level of control over the franchisee.

“In my case, I come from the IT field and I bought into a company in the pest control industry where I had no idea what I was doing being a franchisee, but you are taught how to run this business without ever having any experience in it. That is why I like franchising,” said Yoel Gutierrez, Co-Owner of Mosquito Joe of Miami, an outdoor pest control franchisee who attended the workshop.

Some of the other attendees included representatives from a digital marketing firm, a process serving company, insurance company and a restaurateur. Regardless of the type of business or business model, Ser & Associates shared with the group that there are a variety of options everyone has to grow your business.

“Licensing is right for people who have well established brands, but don’t want to learn new industries or don’t have the desire to expend the capital to learn them,” said Evangelista.

“I had no idea how licensing worked. I didn’t know that we can do it in this type of scenario,” said Gutierrez, “ I think it’s great. These are actual experienced lawyers talking about these issues and topics that we are interested in.”

Shirley Lopez of L & L Process is a self-described “entrepreneur at heart” and was seeking out information to better educate herself on all of the possibilities she has as a small business owner.

“It’s good to know overall. I’m an entrepreneur. I don’t know what other opportunities are out there,” said Lopez, “I was looking to strategize for my own business. Is licensing the answer? I don’t know yet.”

While many who attended the workshop are just starting to explore the idea of franchising or licensing their current business or a future business, everyone agreed on two key things: access to this type of legal information from seasoned professionals is crucial for their growth, and becoming a franchisor also requires having the right legal representation through the process.

“You definitely want to do things right and not get sued. You always want to make sure you are doing things in line with the law for your state and if you are franchising, for the laws out of state,” said Gutierrez.

“We want to help improve the business community here in Doral and Miami-Dade County, while keeping an informed populous,” said Evangelista.

The next Entrepreneurship Workshop hosted by Ser & Associates will be held on April 8th at 11:30am and cover Government Contracting and Minority Certifications. RSVP to attend at Jessica@ser-associates.com. Lunch is provided.

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