successhospitalityHappy New Year to all. I can’t believe another year has come and gone already. For myself, as the new year turns I’m taking a moment to reflect back on how well I achieved the goals I set for myself last year and to create new ones. Hence, it’s been a good time to dust off the old business plan to reflect on progress made or the lack thereof. In other words, I’m holding myself accountable for doing what I told myself I was going to do. So far, my persistence and diligence is bearing fruit for those new goals I’ve taken on. I’m also looking to scrap those goals that aren’t working.

I know some of you are contemplating taking the plunge this year to establish your own winery or wine based business. If so, this is a great time to lay your foundation towards developing a successful winery or wine and hospitality based business by creating your business plan.

Creating a business plan forces you to focus on identifying your goals and objectives as well as how to set plans on how to reach them. In other words, where do you see your business 1 year from now, 3 years from now, or even 5 years from now? Who are your customers? What specific products will you offer? Have you identified your competition? What are your start up costs and sources of funds? What is your mission? Who is your target market? How will you manage the local, state, and federal regulations governing the business of alcohol? Exactly how will your business take shape in 2016?

These are just a few questions to think about when starting your own winery, wine or hospitality based business. As the beginning of the year unfolds, use this time to build your business plan and set achievable goals. Your business plan will keep you on the right track in 2016 and the years to follow.

I have a dream. You have a dream. Or do you?

Every year when the New Year rolls around I’m reminded of the folks that have approached my practice happy-new-year-wine-and-grapesat the beginning of every year to discuss their desire to open their own winery, restaurant, or other wine based business. We typically discuss how to best proceed in their mission. I listen respectfully as they share their dreams and passions. We talk about the hard work, the diligence and the finanacial committment that will be necessary to fulfill their dreams. Some of these entrepreneurs to be, discover that they more romantic hobbyists than entrepreneur, abandoning the dream along the way. Others non-committers speak their dreams out loud, failing to act, while watching at a distance as others take their dreams and implement the very dream they thought they once had but for their own failure to act.

When the dust settles and clears, what I’ve learned is that the difference between those that “talk the talk” and those that “walk the walk “ comes right down to the “doers”.

The “doers have a dream that they hold on to very tightly. “Doers keep their visions and plans to themselves so as to limit the negative feedback from those who would discourage them, identifying barriers or reinforcing negative thoughts their dreams can’t be accomplished. The “doer’s work diligently when no one is looking, often without pats on the backs, or ego’s stroked, perservering with their vision and goals. The “doer’s stay committed to their fulfilling their dreams of opening that new tasting room, restaurant, bed and breakfast or wine based business.

As the new year of 2013 unfolds, who will you be? Will you stay true to your dream of beginning the new path towards entrepreneurship. Perhaps your dream is to finally act on that expansion that you’ve been planning for years. Or maybe, this is the time to pursue that new acquisition. Might this be your year to build a new business? Whatever the case, if it is your dream, now is the time to act. Now is the time to do. Don’t let others derail what you know in your heart and mind is your dream path to follow.

Be a “Doer” in 2013. This is your time. This is your moment. Live your dream.

Before You Say “I Do”, Know Exactly Who Is Standing Next To You

imagesI am routinely approached by people who have an idea to open a new winery, restaurant, catering business or other wine and hospitality business. Many of these persons often consider entering their new business venture with a family member or friend.

Typically I recommend that before they say “I do” to forming a Company or Partnership, that they first ask themselves if they are choosing the right person for the business. In other words, who is standing next to you?

Saying “I do” or choosing the wrong business mate can have dreadful consequences with disastrous long term effects.

When picking the right partner for your new Company or Partnership, you must keep in mind your business objectives. Your choice of the right business mate isn’t personal, its business. I repeat:

Its not personal. Its business.

Picking a business mate because they are your “friend” is rarely ever a good idea. Business decisions can strain personal relationships that can lead to having a negative effect on your buisness.

When picking the right partner for your new business, focus on individual (s) that have a complementary skill set to your own. Pick someone who is best suited to building a practice together. Pay less attention to where your partner went to school, more attention to he or she has achieved or accomplished.

Perhaps you are good at organizing the financial side of the business while your business mate may be customer service oriented. Maybe your partner excels at being the “face” of the business, while you on the other-hand may be solution oriented. You may be a good problem solver whereas you partner may be great at networking and fundraising. Is your partner a visionary or an executor? These are factors to consider whether you bring or have something each uniquely offers to the business. In other words, your best partner/businessmate is one that is the Yin to your Yang.

Before you say “I Do” and walk down the aisle of entering a new business venture with a new partner at your side, make sure the right person is standing next to you.

Planning your business well with the right partner or founder will lead to a long term prosperous business relationship.

Now you can say it. “I Do”.

Eight Ways To Ensure That Your Pennsylvania Winery Or Hospitality Business Remains In Order

Forming a separate business entity for your new or existing winery, restaurant, corporate_compliance300_0catering, or wine based hospitality business is a critical step. Your corporation is responsible for the debts and liabilities of your wine or hospitality business shielding your personal assets separate from those of your business. But once the business formation process is complete, your job isn’t finished. You must ensure that your Corporation or LLC entity remains in compliance so that your “corporate veil” is not pierced, making you personally liable for the debts of your wine or hospitality business.

Here are eight ways to ensure that your Pennsylvania winery or hospitality business remains in compliance.

1.) Do not co-mingle your personal and business finances.

2.) Maintain your regular and annual corporate minutes and resolutions.

3.) Be sure to file your annual reporting requirements with the Secretary of State.

4.) Record any changes and amendments to your Articles of Incorporation and file
those timely with State and Federal Regulatory bodies, i.e Municipal Reporting and Zoning Requirements, Liquor Control Boards and the Federal TTB as applicable.

5.) If you operate out of state, make sure your business is legal out of state in the event you need to qualify as a “Foreign Corporation of LLC” within the state that you are doing business.

6.) Take time out of your busy schedule to address your administrative legal requirements.

7.) Maintain your corporate tax filings just as you would with your individual taxes.

8 ) Contact your Accountant or Legal Counsel should you run into any compliance issues.

How To Ensure Your Wine and Hospitality Business Success In 2012

wine pourimages
If you’re preparing to open your own winery or hospitality business you have no doubt heard the warnings “its a jungle out there” or that “most businesses fail within the first five years”.

Whether your winery, restaurant, or hospitality business success or fails, the one sure truth is that you’ll be guaranteed to have some challenging times. Building a successful wine or hospitality business can be a true roller coaster ride. New entrepreneurs often underestimate the difficulty and pain that comes with starting a new business. The responsibilities are great. The time pressures are demanding. The financial investment often comes with significant personal costs.

The good news is that if you have fire in your belly, building your own business into a success will give you a personal sense of satisfaction and joy. It feels good. Thus if you’re starting a new winery, restaurant, or hospitality business in 2012, it is essential that you do it right. Here are just a few good tips:

You should consider preparing an effective business plan.
Know your market.
Watch you cash flow.
Deliver a good product or service.
Implement the right legal protections.
Listen to your customers.
Participate in your industry’s trade organizations.
Hire a good attorney who understands your business.

Arming yourself early on at the inception of building your new winery or hospitality business will go a long way to helping your business grow and become a success. And, by all means, “get in where you fit in”

Is Your Winery, Wine Or Hospitality Business On Trickster, Fraudster, Scammer, Gangster Alert?

Just how alert are you from the tricksters, fraudsters, scammers, and gangsters that are out to drain your winery, wine or hospitality business profits? These predators prey on the fact that while you’re out planting grapes, stocking the tasting room, meeting with new vendors, or maybe seeking counsel with me, you’ll be to busy to notice that your winery or hospitality business has been targeted by yet another treacherous scam.

Perhaps its an invoice for a product you didn’t order. Or maybe you’re being hounded by a debt collector seeking a past due collection on an internet service you didn’t buy. Could it be you’re being gouged for some ink you didn’t receive?

Either way, now is as good of time as any to learn how to protect your business from these predators. Take a moment now to watch this video and learn what you can do to protect your business from fraud.

Now, tricksters, fraudsters, scammers,and gangsters beware!

Will Your Pennsylvania Restaurant Or Hospitality Business Be Voted Most Likely To Succeed?

Running a successful restaurant or hospitality business can be extremely grueling.1888_vote It takes more than just your passion to succeed. You have to be well prepared to avoid making painful mistakes along the way. Because at the end of the day, diners vote with their forks. And…you want them to vote for you.

To do so, your food business enterprise will need to emerge as a success. If you currently own or plan to own your own restaurant, small chef eatery, catering business or food selling dynasty here are a few good tips that will help you avoid some unnecessary pitfalls as you grow your successful food enterprise.

Make sure you have a sound business plan. A good solid business plan will help you to focus on your location, your anticipated customer base, and what measurable goals you’ll need to make to turn a profit. While you may be an awesome chef or caterer, your ability to stay in business is also a function of your ability to control your costs. A business plan will help you to identify and track your goals and how well you are doing.

If you feel you lack an appropriate business skill set because your real love is your focus on your food, then be sure to retain the right lawyer to look over your business contracts and to conduct your contract negotiations.

You may want to create a Partnership with another individual or entity not just for and injection of money, but for sound business advice. Alternatively you may want to enlist the services of a business or restaurant consultant who specializes in the restaurant industry. This can be a good resource to develop your ideas or help you to implement a successful business strategy.

Develop good employee relations standards. Pursue a good understanding of your federal, state and local labor laws. You want to avoid unfavorable legal action taken against you by knowing how these laws affect the way you need to conduct your business on a daily basis.

Visit your local planning department in your municipality to educate yourself on applicable zoning, parking, signage, noise, sewage and other requirements that you’ll need to know to cut through the red tape necessary to operate your business.

If you plan to serve liquor in your restaurant you’ll need to protect your business investment by ensuring that you’re properly protected from suits filed by 3rd parties for damages or injuries caused by patrons imbibing in your establishment. Invest in liquor liability training procedures for you and your restaurant staff.

If you incorporate these tips into the daily operation of your business, you will be well on your way to running a successful hospitality enterprise.

Keep you eyes on the prize and remember the big picture. Success won’t just be measured in metrics alone but will be expressed with the people connections you make with your food. Now go out there and get your votes. After-all, you’re most likely to succeed.

Do Pennsylvania Restauranteurs and Winery Owners Want To Know What’s Hot In 2010?

Are you a “die hard foodie” who aspires to cook, or a well trained culinary arts graduate who desires to open your own restaurant or small chef eatery? Do you cheftrendsskitched-20100103-150300already own your own restaurant and are looking to keep pace with what’s trending in the food industry? If so, this may be the right moment to act on your dreams or make some well needed changes.

In 2010 the restaurant industry expects to serve over 130 million patrons who will generate economic activity that will exceed $1.5 trillion dollars. If you have a burning desire is to get your own piece of that rock and make your mark in the restaurant and hospitality business consider what’s hot in 2010 in the culinary world as viewed through the eyes of the members of the American Culinary Federation.

The American Culinary Federation is composed of 1800 professional chefs who participated in the National Restaurant Association’s “Chef Survey: What’s Hot In 2010.” Predicting culinary trends and what’s “hot” in 2010, the top 2010 “hot” chef response winners are:

1). Locally grown produce
2). Locally sourced meats and seafood
3.) Sustainability
4.) Bite-size/mini desserts
5.) Locally produced wine and beer
6.) Nutritionally balanced children dishes
7.) Half-portions/smaller portions for a smaller price
8.) Farm/estate-branded ingredients
9.) Gluten-free/food allergy conscious
10).Sustainable seafood

Did you take note that “locally produced wine” made the list of top 10 “hot trends”? Thus when you’re ready to turn your restaurant dream into a reality and begin organizing and planning your initial organizational form, franchise, business name, menu plans, and formal business plans you’ll want to be sure to include wines produced locally by Pennsylvania wineries.

As one who provides legal representation to Pennsylvania’s winery/vineyard owners, wine, restaurant and food based business owners, I believe there’s nothing that the public appreciates more than a well prepared meal with a great Pennsylvania wine!

Now go forth foodie and get your food and wine business on!

How To Build Your Winery, Wine Or Hospitality Business While Avoiding Legal Pitfalls

Nothing can replace the feeling of euphoria that comes with selling that first of bottle of wine made from grapes you crushed yourself or perhaps serving that first entree inlegalpitfalls the restaurant you worked for months to open. Yes, dreams of owning your own winery, restaurant, or hospitality business can be realized even in today’s tough economy. Why? Because a new wealth economy will come by the growth of small businesses. Much of this growth engine will be fueled by new businesses, many of which will be in the wine and hospitality industry.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither was Apple or Comcast for that matter. Succeeding at your dream of building your own restaurant or hospitality business starts by planting the seeds of good leadership and sound business infrastructure. As an owner in control of your business, you quickly come to know that everyday decisions aren’t made on guts alone. They are founded on sound decision making in order to avoid financial and legal pitfalls.

Here are a few good tips you’ll want to consider to when building your winery, wine or hospitality business that will help you avoid these pitfalls:

Prepare Your Business Plan For Your Winery Or Hospitality Business:
Rather than planning as you go, execute. Create a Business Plan that details your
business strategy to determine where your business is headed in the future. Identify
measurable goals and business tactics that will guide you.

Establish Early On The Ownership Structure Of Your Winery Or Hospitality Business:
Choose the business structure that is right for your business. Whether you’re a
Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, or Corporation, choosing the right
business structure that’s a fit for your business is key. In doing so, seek legal counsel
when necessary to assist you in making the right business choices.

Read Your Contracts:
Do not sign agreements you do not read. You may be presented with contract
agreements from your suppliers, vendors and speciality suppliers for products that
make your business unique. Consult with legal counsel to read your contracts and
advise you of the risks associated with various contractual provisions.

Maintain Good Record-Keeping:
Good record-keeping shows the quality of your company to future investors. Due
diligence is necessary to maintain good corporate formalities. Maintain policies
outlining your internal practices on check signing, accounts payable and financial

Seek Legal Guidance When Franchising:
Many aspiring restauranteurs often look to buy a franchise when breaking into the
food and wine business. Franchising is not a guarantee of financial success. While
instant branding comes with franchising, there are also numerous costs associated
with franchising that you may not have contemplated. The U.S. Small Business
provides guidance on answering common questions about franchising.
Before entering a franchise relationship, you will need to consider what opportunities
best suit your needs and interests.

Is there a winery, wine or hospitality business in your future? If so, join the new wealth economy, get your business on and watch your step!

Is There A Wine Or Hospitality Business Franchise In Your Future?

A couple of friends of mine have recently gone into business by purchasing a franchise-agreement-signingfranchise. One friend purchased a pizza franchise while the other purchased a computer repair franchise. Each is reaping the benefit of investing in an existing business model and brand for which the corporate name, logo, products, services, business and marketing processes are already in existence.

Perhaps you too are considering opening a wine or hospitality business by purchasing a “franchise”. Maybe you already own a successful wine or hospitality business model that you would like now to franchise. If so, franchising may be your path to business.

When purchasing a franchise, while you don’t own the business, you own the rights to do business under the existing brand of the original business owner. Alternatively, as an owner of a franchise, you have an opportunity to grow your existing brand as other franchisees pay fees and grow their businesses. Whether or not you have the chops to enter the world of franchising, you’ll need to consider the many advantages and disadvantages of the franchise relationship.

When purchasing a franchise, the original business owner is known as the “franchisor”. The buyer of the franchise is known as the “franchisee”. Typically the franchisor will furnish the franchisee the operational plans to get the business underway . The franchisor will assist the franchisee in the daily operations and support of its business. In exchange for the franchisor’s expertise, the franchisee, can expect to invest thousands of dollars for this support through franchise fees, royalties, equipment costs, training, marketing fees and other costs.

The franchisor will license its way of doing business to the franchisee by executing a complex legal contract known as a Franchise Agreement. The Franchise Agreement will identify both parties commitments, restrictions, specifications, obligations, income and fee payments, warranties, customer service requirements, and terms of the business relationship. The Franchise Agreement eliminates a lot of the guess work that comes with the daily decision making processes of the business.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that disclosure documents be given to franchisees before purchasing a franchise. Franchisors are required to provide buyers with a copy of the Uniform Franchisor Offering Circular 10 days prior to executing the Franchise Agreement. This franchise disclosure document provides prospective franchisees with basic information on the franchisor’s business, background, initial investment, fees, terms, and dispute resolution processes. The more you know about the franchisor, the better informed you’ll be to make a sound business decision.

Before entering a franchise relationship, determine what kind of franchise opportunity best suits your needs and interests. If you are concerned about the numerous risks involved in going it alone in opening your wine or hospitality business than franchising may just be the right vehicle for you.

For additional resources on how to start and grow your wine or hospitality franchise the U.S. Small Business Administration offers some useful guidance to assist you in buying a franchise.

Now, is there a wine or hospitality franchise in your future?