Digitally defending volunteer advocates

waterdepotI was told recently that I know a lot of people.

I guess I do.

But to Terry and I it’s way more important the quality of our friendships. And we are multi-millionaires in that department…sometimes like having a bucket of ice water thrown on your head: they’re so fantastic.

Technically along the way, I have learned a great deal of the value of meticulous record keeping in defending others and my family.

As a franchisee-only advocate and business consultant, I sometimes have opposed very large corporate entities that have traditionally been used to getting their own way. Tupperware was in excess of $1B in annual sales, I think.

I have learned some very specialized coping skills.

I have always represented franchisees: the 40,ooo Ontario and 76,000 Canadian small business underdogs.  I have done this as an unpaid volunteer in the face of very stiff headwind.

Closer to Home: In 2004, I worked with a Barrie franchisee of the Barrie, Ontario-based  Water Depot system. Specifically I used my knowledge to successfully make the franchisor buy the franchisee out. The franchisee was able to leave without going bankrupt. I don’t know exactly what contributed to its re-organization but I do know who first started talking about forming an independent franchisee association.

Breaking even while exiting with your credit in tact is a huge victory in a predatory business format franchising system.

To accomplish this task, I documented the legal, ethical and repuational challenges of the parties involved. I created an index of documents called a User’s Guide.

You can download a copy of the User’s Guide here.

I consult to individuals and groups and specialize in pre-litigation case preparation. I have developed a non-lawyer’s expertise regarding provincial and federal criminal, banking, civil (especially franchise) law and regulation. But  unlike franchise lawyers who are compensated 95% by franchisors, I only work for franchisees. Or I do landscaping but never both.

How careful and thorough is Les? Very. Since 1998, whenever I have experienced any job going sideways, I start recording the situation in it’s chronology and seek the advice of my long, long time friends. That we have created and had the franchise industry’s first wiki (WikidFranchise.org) shows just how careful I am in recording articles, emails, telephone conversations, etc. in a industry that controls, at times in a predatory fashion, up to 50% of retail sales in Canada ($100B) and the United States ($1T).

Richard Gibson was kind enough to review my social media approach in a recent Wall Street Journal article. I let Bro. Tony Martin, MP (ret. MPP, Sault Ste. Marie) speak to my personal integrity, sense of social justice and commitment to the disadvantaged. I even list Tony as a personal reference occasionally for those clever enough to actually call Madge in the Soo before making and breaching contracts.

This social media thing is a very effective tonic to combat selective memories, feather-bedding, conflict of interests,  and recklessly sloppy implementation of a perfectly transparent, pre-mediated, deeply cynical predatory contracting process.

  • But an honest error should never result in someone losing their job. Especially when she’s being singled-out as a scapegoat.
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