The single best defense against things that go bump in the night for franchisees, is a mature and well-financed independent franchisee association, IndFA [see todays Thought-terminating cliche post on Blue MauMau].
- Each franchise trademark system should have their own.
- You should never buy into a system that does not have one.
Don’t be fooled: Unless there is a lawyer that the IndFA retains to give independent advice, the salesmen are telling you lies. The franchisor very often creates their own advisory committee to give the illusion of franchisee input. Ask for the lawyer’s name and talk directly to him or her.
National Associations: Starting and running a trademark system is difficult at times.
In the U.S. there are about 5,000 franchise systems and 1,200 in Canada. In Canada, there are only a few dozen functioning IndFAs for one reason alone: The franchisors don’t franchisees talking together.
- I started the Canadian Alliance of Franchise Operators in 1998 and killed it off in 2005.
The only reason I stopped it was because others were using it to give the impression of strength that was not there. I approached all the major Canadian stakeholders (Big Franchising: franchisor association, 5 Canadian banks, product franchisors, law firms, salesmen, Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, Industry Canada etc.) for assistance or financial support.
- Even offered to give the Ministry the Information Sharing Project for free.
Big Franchising’s position has been consistent ever since 1998 when I breached the sacristy of the CFA’s trade show at the CNE with a CBC film crew. Franchising holds it beliefs rigidly: Like some 2nd rate religion or cult.
The irony, of course, is that without their resistance as expressed in my brilliant 6 week banking career [see The Apprenticeship of Les Stewart] and my recent blackballing (RE: providing general and employee benefits to Canadian franchises),I wouldn’t have the time much less the need to be typing away here.
- Funny how things work out, eh?