Presidential Secrets

Get Professional Help

"It depends on what the definition of 'is' is." -Bill Clinton.
When you find one or two programs that provide a solid match for your interests, experience, ability and financial resources, seriously consider taking those UFOCs to an accountant and an attorney. You may follow the advice about reading the UFOC, but if you're not skilled in understanding legalese, reading a balance sheet or preparing your own detailed projections and financial plans, the information in the UFOC will be of limited value to you.

An accountant experienced in assisting small businesses can be an enormous help to you in the evaluation and early planning stages of the new business. With your accountant, you can estimate how much it'll cost you to build out the business, when the business is likely to begin breaking even and how the financing should be structured. A set of projections showing the likely early performance of the business will be an invaluable roadmap for you in the early days.

"Undertake not what you cannot perform, but be careful to keep your promise." -Washington.
Just as important is a review of the contracts by an experienced business attorney. He or she can look over the UFOC and franchise contract, and explain to you the contractual obligations imposed on you, and the legal dynamics of the franchisor/franchisee relationship. Your legal counsel can also advise you regarding any provisions that are unacceptably contrary to your legal interests, and can explain any provision you don't understand. If these concerns need to be addressed with the franchisor, you'll have the benefit of your attorney's experience in explaining your position.

Expensive? Sure, accountants and attorneys can be expensive, but it's some of the best early development money you'll invest in the franchise. They don't look quite so expensive when you take a close look at the alternative.

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This article was originally published in the January 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Presidential Secrets.

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