How to Develop a Successful Business Idea

IL business attorney, Illinois business lawyerMost of us, at some point or another, have had those fleeting thoughts about a product or service that could serve as the foundation for a new business. On the other hand, maybe you have watched another company offer goods and services while knowing that you could do it better. So how does one go from the “idea” phase to the “action” phase of starting the actual business based on the idea? There are, of course, many steps, but the first important one is to determine whether or not the idea is truly marketable.

What Is Your Idea?

Not every business idea is going to grow into the next Microsoft or Google, and that is okay. A successful service or product is not necessarily going to break records or reshape the world as we know it. In order to be profitable, your idea simply needs to solve some type of problem for those you intend to reach.

With that in mind, you need to think about what your idea actually is. Is it a physical item that you intend to manufacture and sell? Is it an improvement on an existing product? Or perhaps, it is a service that you expect to provide for your clients in exchange for payment. No matter what you have in mind, a clear understanding of the idea is critical.

Learn as Much as You Can

Before you launch your business, you will need to research the viability of your idea and how it might fit into the current economic landscape. For some people, industry reports and formal market research studies are appropriate, but it is important to look at more than numbers. You should also talk extensively with friends, family members, and trusted business associates regarding your idea. Be sure to look beyond the friendly and supportive comments and to hear what they are saying about whether they would spend money on your idea. If you want a forum with fewer personal entanglements, there are thousands of message boards and other resources available online where entrepreneurs from all over the world discuss ideas and share their perspectives.

Keep Yourself Organized

By its very nature, an idea is nebulous, and even if you have jotted down a few notes, there are many factors that you will need to consider as you take your idea from a concept to a business plan. As early as you can in the planning process, starting writing things down. Make a list of potential advantages and disadvantages, and keep track of any challenges or opportunities that arise along the way. These records will serve as the basis of your business plan, even if you need to put the idea on hold for a time and you decide to come back to it later.

Work With a Wheaton Business Lawyer

If you have a possible idea for a new business, it is never too early to speak with an experienced DuPage County business law attorney from Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC. Our team will provide the guidance you need and help you build your new venture from the ground up. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225513

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2019/10/30/nine-ways-to-figure-out-if-you-have-a-winning-business-idea/

Are Non-Compete Agreements Legal and Valid in Illinois?

IL Business Lawyer, Illinois employment attorneyIf you are on the job hunt or have recently been hired by a new company, it is important that you review the contract given to you by your new employer. Many new hires will sign employment contracts relieved to have found a job rather than skeptical about the contract’s details. No matter how much your employer appears to explain the contract in front of you, there is always the chance that some details are being left out. One of the terms that you may overlook is a non-compete agreement hidden within the pages of text. Many employers will be upfront about this agreement to avoid any future contention while others may fail to mention what this means for you as an employee of their company. In order to avoid this confusion, you should always take the time to review your hiring contract with a reputable business attorney.

What is a Non-Compete Agreement?

Evident in the name, this contractual agreement restricts employees from working for or becoming a competitor for a set period of time. These non-compete agreements, also known as covenants not to compete (CNC), are enforced when an employee separates from their employer and the employer wants to prevent the employee from taking on a position that would be considered their competitor. Depending on the details of the agreement, these CNC regulations can last weeks, months, or even years after leaving your place of employment. This is meant to protect the company’s secrets and to keep the employee from poaching other employees to work alongside them.

In order for the non-compete agreement to be considered valid, there is particular information that must be included:

  1. The effective start date of the agreement.
  2. The reasoning for the purpose of the agreement.
  3. Specified dates in which the employee will be unable to work in a competitive sense and geographical location outlined in the agreement.
  4. Information on how the employee will be compensated for agreeing to these terms.

How Broad Can These Go?

For obvious reasons, CNC agreements must have specifications for what is considered “competition.” If these descriptions are too broad, the non-compete agreement may be deemed invalid in a court of law. In 2018, the Illinois court saw a lawsuit in which the employee claimed that the agreement was too broad to be considered valid and enforceable. The agreement in question prohibited the employee from being employed to any extent by any company that works in the same business as the employer within 50 miles of the company’s office. This included taking a position that had no relevance to their previous position, such as janitorial work. Looking at this agreement, the terms deny the individual’s ability to hold a job within a reasonable distance of their home. For this reason, the court sided with the employee stating that the agreement was much too broad to be considered valid. This is one instance in which the court took the employee’s side; however, more often than not, the employer is granted their wishes.

Call a DuPage County Covenants Not to Compete Lawyer

No one intends on having the same job forever, but some may feel as if they must stay in their position due to the details of their contract. It is not unheard of for CNC agreements to act as a tool to keep employees in their position by restricting their ability to find another job. If you feel as if your contract is unreasonable, you should have a Wheaton non-compete agreement attorney read the terms and conditions of the CNC. If the conditions are too broad or restrictive, you may be able to have the agreement thrown out by a court of law. The legal team at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, has worked with employers and employees to make sure their contractual non-compete agreements are valid and enforceable in Illinois. For legal help, contact us at 630-665-2500 to schedule your initial consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-a-non-compete-agreement-2062045

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/litigation/committees/business-torts-unfair-competition/practice/2018/overreaching-covenants-not-to-compete/

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/noncompete-agreement.asp

 

Should I Franchise My Illinois Business?

Illinois business lawyer, IL business attorneyIf your business is growing more and more successful by the day, you may be thinking about franchising. The benefits of franchising your business can be enormous, but franchising before you are ready can be disastrous. It can be hard to know whether now is the right time to expand your business. As with any business-related decision, the decision to franchise should not be taken lightly. You will need to take an honest look at your business’s strengths and weaknesses as well as your own ambitions and personal goals before you can know whether franchising is right for you.

Is Your Business Replicable?

Franchising can be a great way to expand your company without needing a large capital investment. However, not just any business is able to be successfully franchised. Is your business unique enough to be marketable?  Do you have a sustainable competitive advantage? Even more importantly, how replicable is your business? If the success your business has enjoyed so far is the result of a smart business model and unique, in-demand products and services, you may be able to replicate this success in a second location. However, if the business’s success is the result of its current location or your own dedication to 15-hour workdays, you may not be able to duplicate the success in a franchise location. Keep in mind, a franchise location must be lucrative enough to pay royalties and still leave the franchisee with a decent profit.

How Involved Are You in Day-to-Day Operations?

Another key question to ask yourself when considering franchising is what you want your own role to be in your business. If you are the type of business owner who likes to personally open and close shop every day, how willing are you to take a step back from daily operations in favor of a management position? Being a franchisor will involve a great deal of time and energy. There may simply not be enough time in the day for you to continue having a high level of day-to-day involvement in the original location while also managing franchise locations. On the other hand, if you have a staff with the leadership skills and business knowhow to run things in your absence, you may have the freedom to take on the responsibilities of being a franchisor.

Contact an Illinois Business Lawyer

At Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC, each of our skilled Wheaton business law attorneys have more than 40 years of legal experience. Whether you need help with franchising your business, buying or selling a business, creating an effective employee contract, or other business law needs, we will provide legal guidance you can depend upon. Call our office today at 630-665-2500 today and schedule a confidential consultation to learn how we can assist you.

Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/71886
https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbeagelman/2019/03/28/how-and-when-to-franchise-your-business/