What I do makes franchising sustainable despite franchisors’ mid-management thuggery

I only work with franchisees. I have only ever worked for franchisees.

SwiftKick

I do not get paid by franchisors or their law firms or anyone else.

  • Paradoxically enough, the result of what I do helps both franchisees AND franchisors.

Here is how this is done:

1. Franchise managers have developed some bad habits over time. They tend to be very direct and at times abusive in achieving their goals. The problem is that it has worked in the pre-internet franchise stage.

2. They can do this because they there have (until lately) been very few costs associated with predatory actions. Sure there are some lawsuits but those are just a cost of doing business. Over 98% of all actionable claims never get filed or are quickly brushed aside by the captured franchise bar.

3. It is easier to squeeze more and more out of a captive investor by bullying than it is in being a human being using persuasion.

4. When I come around, the middle level managers don’t know what to do. They  try their “old ways” (threaten termination, cut revenue, heap abuse) and sometimes it scares off the novice franchisee organizer. More frequently these days, it does not. The informal leader (visible but a spokesperson)  hangs tough and perseveres. Everyone is allowed to stay in the grass as long as they throw in $2,000 each to launch the leaderless group.

5. If the franchisees are part of a publicly-traded company, with some patience and courage, senior management will become aware that a “problem” exists. They tell the mid-level grunts to “solve” it (ie. Wounded Knee Massacre).

This too is logical since (pre-internet), the hot-heads will have usually burned themselves out while the bulk of the group stay in the weeds, too afraid to come out and take a stand.

6. The internet comes along and changes franchising’s landscape. Now, every stupid incriminating email can be distributed for zero cost at a 100% ANONYMOUS manner, to every corner or even a vast geography such as Canada: 2 official languages and 4 distinct regions.

7. These Olde Tyme, Inquisition-based managers act as the best organizer in the world for the informal franchisee leader. All management is seen as a bully as well as being fat/lazy/stupid. The group holds fast after the first shit storm and escalated the problems to senior management. Teeth become a little more bared.

8. The senior manager does not want his boss to continue to be copied on the emails, so he brings in new managers (“Mistakes were made…yadda, yadda…) who hopefully can manage in a higher-order way: deal with ambiguity, listening skills, negotiation, franchisees as an asset not expense,  and basic human sharing.

9. The franchisor:franchisee relationship moves from a Parent:Child to an Adult:Adult relationship (see Transactional Analysis). Franchisees forgive but don’t forget.

10. Franchisor and franchisees move to a more equal footing based on respect. Get used to my mug, boys: Franchisors will turn on in a flash if they think they can get away with it. The tag cloud over at WikiFranchise.org, FranchiseFool and $500,000 reserve in the franchisees’ bank account will tend to keep them on the straight and narrow in the long run. Think managing a multi-million sales corporation with a substantial equity component. Professional management: exec director/franchisee (salary similar to franchisor’s manager sitting across the table), office, staff, functioning board & executive, travel. Toe-to-toe in a suit: billion sales on their side more than balanced by you owning their loading docks (“axehandle approach” to be avoided).

11. The dominant franchisor law firm (one in every country) had historically been The Fixer for the franchisors.

  • Post Web 2.0, I’m the franchisees’ Fixer.

— Franchisees must at first be quite patient while their immediate “boss” self-destructs. It’s not their fault: they get paid for their muscle not their brains (as you well know).

It only takes one person with a budget to contact me to have me evaluate their situation.

Calling a lawyer first is a fool’s game. They suck on non-legal or non-litigation tasks. You need a human being first. I wrangle lawyers when needed.

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