But there are grounds for real hope.
In the last 20 years or so, franchisees have been treated with an increasingly heavy hand:
- communication between them is really discouraged,
- informal leaders are penalized severely,
- threats replaced any pretense of partnership and
- most franchise lawyers treated ongoing franchisee-led groups with disinterest.
In short, many franchisees were bullied once they signed up.
- I think I’ve experienced and watched, up close, as a $100-billion Canadian franchise industry has gone through these stages.
- Information flows have opened things up tremendously with the the new social technologies. Impossible to do, even 5 years ago (digital, decentralized, real-time surveillance and digital archiving via Twitter and WikidFranchise.org, YouTube state-of-the-union addresses, anonymous if needed).
They’re not complete and there are dinosaur franchisors out there. But there is something different in the air.
If I were a franchisee these days, I would definitely talk to a competent industry business “coach” and join with peers to constructively work away at improving your core business. Don’t be small time cheap: think of 1/2 of your net worth going once you blow-off your current life partner. (perspective is everything)
Yes there are problems: but deal first with the 95% of the business concerns that have zero to do with what your franchisor does or fails to do.
The form I suggest that is most appropriate is an Attorneyless Franchisee Network, AFN.