The 5 Danger Zones of Business—Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law

When is the last time you did an assessment on your company’s exposure or liability areas? Today’s guest, Brett Trembly, talks about The Five Danger Zones for small businesses, and really any business, to review.

Take The 5 Danger Zone Quiz = https://tremblylaw.com/dangerzones/

Brett is a founder of Trembly Law Firm, a franchise and business law firm in Miami. The firm has grown from one attorney in 2011, to ten attorneys and twenty employees, representing some of the largest businesses in the eastern United States. The company made Law Firm 500 list (with 444.27% growth). The law firm’s mission is:  “Protecting the Economy, One Business at a Time.”

He also started Get Staffed Up, which is a virtual assistant staffing company that liberates mostly law firms (and recently other businesses) with incredible offshore talent. This year they qualified to receive Inc. 5000 award as well!

If you are ready to talk about franchising your business you can schedule your free, no-obligation, franchise consultation online at: https://bigskyfranchiseteam.com/ or by calling Big Sky Franchise Team at: 855-824-4759. 

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:02):

You’ve worked hard to build your business, and now it’s time to grow. Welcome to the Multiply Your Success podcast. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team and a serial entrepreneur. And today’s opening question is all about your danger zones in business and taking a look at how you are protecting your business from external and internal threats, legal threats, liability, employees, contractors, partners. All different kinds of folks that you interact with on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, annual basis.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:44):

And today’s cast is Brett Trembly, and he’s the founder of Trembley Law Firm, which is a franchise and business law firm and they’re really focused on small business. They’re based out of Miami and they’ve grown since the founding in 2011 tremendously. They have been recognized as the fastest growing company on the Inc. 5000 list, they’ve been recognized on the Law Firm 500 list. And one of the things that I really like about Brett’s firm and why I wanted to have him on the show is because his company’s mission is protecting the economy one business at a time. And he really believes in protecting the small business and small businesses out there.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (01:32):

In addition to running and growing his law firm, he’s also the founder of a virtual assistant staffing company called Get Staffed Up, Get Staffed Up, and they’ve been recognized on the Inc. 5000 list as well. So just some really incredible success he’s been able to have. And I’m excited for you to hear his interview and hear him talk about the five danger zones of business. So let’s jump into my interview with Brett Trembly.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (02:00):

Tom, nice to be here, thanks for having me. Quick background on myself. I grew up in New Mexico, so that’s a very small state population-wise compared. And I ended up leaving the state. I moved to Miami in 2005, so I’ve been here for 16 years. And I came here for law school and I just saw so many more opportunities out here in a bigger city with a lot going on, multiple sports teams and so I just really liked it. Kid from a small town moves to a big city type thing.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (02:33):

And at the end of law school, I went to work for a small firm and I just had the personality. I always knew that I would work for myself, so after three years I wasn’t going anywhere fast at that firm. I don’t really think my fault, it was just one guy and he didn’t really have the vision. Since I left over 10 years ago, his firm looks the exact same. And so I saw the writing on the wall and had the oppor … What do I do? Do I open up my own thing or do I go work for someone else? And for me that was easy.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (03:08):

So I started Trembly Law Firm in very late 2011, coming up on our 10 year anniversary here. We do business law, business litigation and franchise law. So franchise and business have a lot of similarities with some unique features for franchise law. And our mission is to keep people out of the courtroom and that’s how I got into the franchise world and the legal game.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (03:35):

So I love what you said there about trying to keep people out of the courtroom. I know for our audience here, they’re predominantly small business owners or growing businesses and so that’s always … I don’t want to say a driving fear, but it’s always looming in the back of every owner’s mind, some potential lawsuit or something that comes along the way.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (03:59):

So would you talk a little bit about what that means to you? That’s a pretty interesting philosophy and culture you’re building.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (04:08):

Well, yeah, what we say is that businesses can handle outside threats. It’s not fun and it can be very expensive, but when you’re internally, when you implode, when there’s fighting amongst the shareholders, it’s almost impossible to recover from. But we have had small clients basically spent $100,000 defending themselves from a lawsuit. We win, you lose … You win the battle, but you lose the war because they’ll say, “It’s just not worth it. Why would I be in business and try to provide jobs and grow, and it’s just so easy to sue me in lie over nothing, and then make me spend so much money defending myself.”

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (04:49):

So we came up with at the law firm something called the five danger zones, where we walk our clients through five different areas. Looped all the lawsuits together and categorize them. And they happen, again, internally with shareholders, employment law, contracts, not good written contracts, compliance, and intellectual property. So we have our checklist on what to help all of our clients, protect them from in all those different areas.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (05:21):

And it’s our roadmap. You’re never guaranteed that some crazy person’s not going to make up a lie and sue you and take you to court. But having the leverage and the contracts and everything in place, or the asset structure or asset protection, the things to help minimize the exposure for business owners. It’s what we’re passionate about.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (05:41):

Well, that’s great. And I have to imagine, for our audiences listening in. Okay, right, you went through those five point checklist pretty quickly there. So I’d love for you to maybe expand a little bit on each of those, as these points of areas of potential concern that they need to be thinking about or buttoning up, or calling someone like you to help support them. So would you mind walking through those five pieces or those five steps?

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (06:11):

Sure, sure. So the first one is your corporate infrastructure. How you’re setup, where your parent company is, what state you’re located in. Do you have operating agreements in place, shareholders agreements, all the things that business owners skip out on, because frankly it’s time-consuming and it costs money. And you’re more worried about getting into business and making money than you are getting all your legal ducks in a row, which makes sense. But soon after you start being profitable, you need to circle back around and take care of those things. And shareholder disputes are so common, so you really want your rights delineated in writing and non-compete agreements, all the internal things that you need to protect yourself.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (06:56):

And then there’s the category number two, employment law. So your employee handbooks, your employment contracts, all of the different things that you need to do to prevent yourself from hopefully getting slapped with a discrimination claim or a wrongful termination claim, overtime violations, wage and hours, keeping all of your … I mean, this is big in the franchise world too, because what happens is a lot of times an employee now will try to sue the franchisee and the franchisor, so that’s an interesting development in law that’s going on. But you’ve got to keep good time records. You can’t just hope that people don’t sue you and claim that they worked 60 hours a week when you know they worked 40, but it’s on you as the owner to prove it.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (07:43):

The third area is outside contracts. So vendor agreements, supply agreements, just any sort of contract that you have with anybody you’re doing business with that’s not an employee, for example. The fourth area that I mentioned was compliance. ADA lawsuits are really out of control, especially down here where I am in South Florida. TCPA, if you’re engaging in text message marketing, that can get you in a lot of trouble. There’s a lot of different area regulations, local and-

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (08:19):

And Brett, sorry to interrupt there. You threw out a few acronyms about the … Hopefully I’m saying it back, ADA and TCPA and some of these things. What are those, just curious? What do each of those mean?

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (08:35):

[crosstalk 00:08:35]. Sorry, Tom. So ADA, Americans with Disability Act, very good act that is supposed to help people who need it, but it’s being abused by plaintiff’s lawyers. They will sue you for not having enough handicap parking spaces for example. Okay, well, that one I could see, but what if you do, but the parking is 11 and a half feet wide instead of 12 feet wide, six inches. And now instead of just having mitigating factors, you have this whole federal lawsuit that you have to defend for one tiny little thing.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (09:11):

But worse than that is you have these serial plaintiffs who are called testers, and they’ll just go up and down the block and sue every single business and basically say, “Well, you can prove that you’re in compliance, but it’s going to cost you a lot of money. So why not just settle?” So abuse of the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, is rampant right now.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (09:31):

And the other one I mentioned is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act or TCPA, which prevents people from having their phones blown up with robocalls and robotexts, just texting thousands and thousands of people at the same time. But you get these marketers that come along, and this happened to one of our franchise clients, and say, “Hey, I got this program. Everybody that’s checking out, buying food from you, you get their phone number or have them pay with their phone so you can get their phone number, just have them enter it. And then you can start texting them for deals and specials.” So it sounds great, but if you don’t do it the right way, it can come with heavy, heavy federal penalties.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (10:11):

So those are the two that I mentioned. And to the finish up the fifth category, that would be intellectual property, so patents, copyright, and trademarks. So many people just don’t take the time to get their trademark in place. Less of a concern in the franchise world, because you’re licensing the trademark marks from the franchisor usually. But for other small businesses, it just sad when you see somebody using the same name for 10 years, and then someone else comes in, trademarks their name and tries to cause problems that way.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (10:46):

And Brett, do you have this checklist or these points, or is this available for someone to have access so we might be able to either share or post a link for the audience?§

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (10:55):

Yeah. In fact, we have a download, it’s tremblylaw.com/dangerzones. And anybody can take the quiz and see if they’re in compliance, and we’ll send you an email with the results.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (11:12):

Fantastic. Well, I think anyone listening in needs to take the danger zones quiz. I love the name and how you’ve put this together so succinctly and easy to follow and understand. It’s fantastic.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (11:25):

One of the things we like to ask every guest is get into our show formula here and ask about misses, makes and multipliers.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (11:33):

Yeah. I mean, everybody has misses. And I like that you asked this question because people don’t like to talk about it. So the firs, attorney that I ever hired started a competing firm. And I love talking about hiring and team building, by the way. I have 25 team members at the law firm and we have over 40 internally at Get Staffed Up. And then hundreds of additional virtual assistants that we employ for other people.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (11:57):

So we tend to, and I see this a lot, people will make a hire and then it won’t go well and then they’ll say, “Oh, I tried that.” And then they’ll just give up. It’s like, well, it doesn’t mean the first time you take a swing at a tennis ball, if you don’t hit it in that you just give up. It just takes practice and it takes perseverance. And people are funny and nobody is put on this earth for their sole purpose to work for you. So you’re not entitled to good people. You’re not entitled to a great team who takes care of all of your needs. You have to work for it, and you have to create the right environment for it, and you have to have good strategies behind it.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (12:40):

So I like to just mention that. That’s a miss that I had, and thankfully I got it right and we have incredible attorneys now and a great team. I would say more recently, I got in on Bitcoin early, but not enough, I just dabbled. So that’s a huge miss. I’d be in the Caribbean somewhere on a boat if I had done that properly, so that’s another miss.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (13:04):

I think a lot of us can say the same thing. You see it, you’re like, “I don’t know. I don’t know.” And before you know it, it escalates and the price to buy in is high now, and anyway.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (13:15):

Well, great. Well, thank you for sharing that. And let’s talk about a make or two that has come in your career. Obviously you’ve got lots of things to talk about, just even some of the accolades you recently mentioned. Is there any event or anything that stands out to you that you’d like to share?

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (13:33):

So my first two years running the law firm, I really struggled. I was trying to do everything myself and I started reading the right books. Because I thought I knew everything, so that was an ego thing. “Well, I know how to run a business.” But I was trying to do everything myself. So without learning that the only way to grow is to get other people to do the work of the business. The business isn’t you, you’re not the business so you have to … If you’re going to own a restaurant and you’re going to try to be the host or hostess, the waiter or waitress, the chef, the marketer, the owner, you’re going to have a horrible restaurant. But so many people go into business and they try to do everything, all the roles, and it’s terrible.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (14:17):

So I got a coach, and a very good one. I’m still in the program all these years later. And that was a big make for me, was investing in myself and saying, “I got to figure this out by learning that I don’t know everything, but someone else does.” And I always say that, “If Michael Jordan also had a coach, then why get to that point where I tell myself, No, no, no. I’ve got it all figured out.'” So I believe heavily in any business I’m in, of having people that you’re learning.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (14:51):

Brett, is there any multiplier that you’ve used throughout your career or professionally that’s helped you in growing?

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (14:57):

So I was lucky enough to be turned on to a book called The Miracle Morning back in 2016. And The Miracle Morning is the concept that if you get up earlier, and half the people are like, “No, you already lost me.” I’m not a morning person, I’ve never been. I get a boost of energy at night. I can stay up all night, but then I would need to sleep all day. So I’ve had to train myself to go to bed earlier, get up earlier. But those are the morning hours that you can take advantage of where nothing’s happening. And you can start to own your day instead of having your day own you. And when you get up late and you’re rushing to work, by the time you get there, you’re already just putting out fires all day, and you’re reacting to your day instead of owning it.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (15:40):

And so The Miracle Morning talks about doing six things every morning. Silence, which is meditation, affirmations, the vision board, which I believe in. Basically anything I’ve ever put on my vision board has come true. Exercise, reading and scribing. And when you do those six things every morning consistently, and some mornings, it could be 20 minutes total and other you get the full 90 minutes in. But it is a life-changer. And I can honestly say without that, Get Staffed Up wouldn’t be around. Because I gave the book to my now business partner, and we spent years getting on the same page and just connecting through business, that when this idea came along, we were off and running.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (16:26):

That’s amazing. Well, and I tend to be a morning person in general, and I’ve been on a habit lately. I’m up at 5:30 every day and getting my day going. So this immediately clicked, I was like, “Aah. Can it give me a structure to my morning?” I like it.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (16:41):

[crosstalk 00:16:41]. Yeah.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (16:41):

So it sounds great. Well, Brett, the last question we ask every guest is what does success mean to you?

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (16:49):

Freedom. Freedom is so important to me. To be able to wake up every day … I still remember when I left the law firm that I told you about, the only one I ever worked for, I woke up on November first of … So 11, one, 11. I wasn’t really planned that way, but … And the world honestly looked different to me, because I woke up that day and I did not have to report to anyone, check in, justify my time. It was just what I wanted to do that day, what I could accomplish. And I just will never forget how different everything around me looked.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (17:29):

And when your business owns you, even though you own the business, it’s not complete freedom. So me and my business partner at Get Staffed Up, our tagline is, “We help lawyers delegate their rate of freedom.” And by bringing on other great people who don’t want the same things you do, who don’t to own their own business, you can finally get there with hard work. But more than that, smart work and delegating, and finally living a life where you can go where you want and be who you want and not have to answer to people. And that’s really what it’s all about for me.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (18:07):

As we come to a conclusion here, Brett, is there anything you’d like to share with the audience that maybe you haven’t had a chance to say or would like to make sure you get across?

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (18:16):

Look, I mean, life is short. So it’s not like 10 years from now the world’s going to look differently and it’s like, “All right. Well, now it’s time.” You just lost 10 years. And I know everyone’s heard that before, “Well, the time is now,” and then people don’t take action.

Brett Trembly, Esq., Trembly Law Firm (18:32):

But I heard something recently, which really cemented that for me. It was a quote by a guy named David Nagel and he said, “You can’t wait for reality to change to make a decision, your decision changes reality.” Make the decision and then take action, and then things will start to line up for you.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (18:54):

Brett, thank you so much for a fantastic interview and sharing just some wonderful information with our audience here. So let’s go ahead and jump into our three key takeaways. So the first key takeaway I think is an absolute no-brainer for you and your business, is the five danger zones of business. And taking a look at the corporate infrastructure, your employment law, the outside contracts, your compliance, and intellectual property. And go ahead and review that. And Brett offered for you to take the free quiz on his website. And we will have the show notes listed for that. It’s just tremblylaw.com/dangerouszones, for you to take a look at that. I thought that was a great offer.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (19:38):

Number two, is that niches make riches. I thought that was a clever saying, but really it’s a reminder that if you have a specialty or a focus, stay in your specialty or focus. Sometimes we’re tempted by that shiny object to expand into an area, or expand your product or service line into something that is maybe not in your narrow niche focus. So I thought that was a good reminder for any specialty business, stay in your specialty. And number three, for him and what he said is that life is short. I just think it’s a great reminder. Life is short, take action, do it now.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:24):

And let’s go ahead and jump into today’s Win-Win. So today’s Win-Win is to invest in yourself, invest in yourself. And Brett talked about how he hired a business coach many years ago, and he’s still with that business coach. I know I’ve seen the benefits of having a business coach, but I think investing in yourself, that can mean a lot of different things. The fact that you’re listening to this podcast means you’re investing time into yourself. There’s no cost for this podcast, but you’re investing time to learn from others and hear what they’re doing. And the wins that they’ve had along the way, and maybe some of the misses they’ve had along the way. And so I think that’s a great win-win and a great takeaway today. Continue to invest in yourself, it will compound.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (21:22):

And so that’s our episode today, folks. Thanks for tuning in. Please share this. Please like, subscribe, give us a rating. We’d greatly appreciate it. And look forward to having you back next week.

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