There are 4 current categories of franchisee awareness of how to solve their problems.
- Hint: You can’t do it alone but just signing up for an IndFA is putting your neck in a second noose.
1. You think you can do it alone. No informal or formal franchisee organization. You consider everyone else a loser if they have a problem or are not achieving their goals. Contempt for anyone not rowing in unison.
2. Franchisee Advisory Council, FAC. My franchisor is simply misunderstood and is my “fwend”. It is better to to co-operate and work within rather than try to think for yourself. My field guy says “gosh, Les. We’ve never heard that concern before. We’ll check into it.” If you only explain your concerns, then, the franchisor will change his ways because both franchisor and franchisee have to be successful, right?
3. Independent Franchisee Association, IndFA. How could I have I been that gullible and stupid? Talk about a legal revolution to get “respect”. Everyone throw some money in and we get a bad-ass lawyer to whip some franchisor butt.
Some poor schmuck volunteers to be the IndFA president, paints red circles on his chest and then routinely gets his head cut off. The sheep scatter…see you in 10 years. Ho hum…all in a day’s work in FranchisorLand. Read Darrell Dunafon’s FTC Oversight Hearing testimony on WikidFranchise.org for a very typical example. Excerpt:
Intimidation, threats, coercion, loss of support, insults, and ultimately, exile – that is the price I paid for having the courage to speak for myself and nearly 90% of the other Taco Bell franchisees that were members of the International Association of Taco Bell Franchisees (“IATBF”) when I was thrust into the leadership role of the organization in May of 1993.
And that is with a high-profile franchisor. It only gets more brutal the smaller the system. If you thought your franchisor was ruthless, just wait and sign up with your 2nd credence good cheater (any franchise lawyer).
4. Attorneyless Franchisee Networks, AFN. My invention. You read it here first.
Cut a spider’s head off and the body dies. However, cut a starfish’s leg off and the severed leg regenerates. It’s all about the power of decentralization.
Buy read & re-read: The Spider and the Starfish: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations.
There is no need (and it is preferable never) to ever talk to a franchisor to get what you want. The occasional communique demand over a weblog’ll do the trick. They will try to suck you dry but they can’t join a mature, productive social club that is linked together by mutual interests and digital information sharing. There is no reason why there cannot be 2 or 3 or 6 different AFNs, organized in geographic areas perhaps.
Don’t want to recognize an AFN or talk to spokesperson? That is not a barrier at all. Permission is not needed for people to form together.
Assemble a free-lance, non-credence good team of advisors together to help move your agenda along. Treating your situation as if it were primarily a legal problem is a huge mistake, good only for lining the professional’s pockets (both sides).
Build trust over time within your group. Only need 10 to 15% initial buy in. Get the spouses on board. Keep the digital video camera handy for YouTube channels and WikidFranchise.org archives. Good fun watching whitey jump.
Transparency. Accountability. Trust. Co-operation. Fun. Ownership, should be the principles.
This is where franchising is going. And The Suits have no patch for this, btw.
Details upon request.
PS: Stage 5. More digitally-based social media but it isn’t the technology that will push the goal of franchisee awareness. The greatest barriers to innovation are in renewing the franchisees’ diminished capacity for realizing that they, right now, here and now, have the power and responsibility for assuming control of their own lives again.
The greatest barrier in any situation is diminished capacity for franchisees to believe in themselves.