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 ( 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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