Imagine: Robin Hood Tax @ .05% raising $200 billion annually

June 29, 2010

The Robin Hood Tax.

Just brilliant.

They needed our help now the world’s poor needs theirs.


How hard is it to report franchisor crime in Canada?

June 23, 2010

Not that hard really.

You can do it online at RECOL.ca:

Reporting Economic Crime Online (RECOL) is an initiative that involves an integrated partnership between International, Federal and Provincial Law Enforcement agencies, as well as, with regulators and private commercial organizations that have a legitimate investigative interest in receiving a copy of complaints of economic crime.

A few of my clients have done it to interesting outcomes.

It’s completely confidential, free and is like getting a PhD in how corporate Canada really works. In my experience, coppers know how franchising’s absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.

Other People’s Money—and How Bankers Use ItLouis Brandeis 1856 – 1941

Criminal investigations of publicly-traded franchise systems (especially those operating in a near-monopoly) are by their nature, a just pursuit.

All you have to do is sign in.

Maintiens le droit –Defending the Law


YouTube can help stop corruption

April 2, 2010

People talk about injustice in franchising.

How many people do something innovative to change it?

Alexi Dymovsky uses YouTube to apply pressure to solve police corruption in Russia.

Russia’s whistleblower cop is a YouTube sensation, Miriam Elder, Global Post


Investment autopsies happen at WikiFranchise.org

January 19, 2010

To support life, death must be studied.

WikiFranchise was created for the study franchise investments; to try to reduce failures through understanding. I jabber on about fleeting things here on FranchiseFool but WikiFranchise is what I’ve been up to this last decade or so.

Medicine advanced through the study of human and mammal physiology.

Pathology is a medical specialty which:

is the study and diagnosis of disease through examination of organs, tissues, bodily fluids, and whole bodies (autopsies).

Without studying many separate cases, very little independent information can be gathered to avoid future business failures. Patterns start to emerge and new discoveries can happen.

I worked in in both provincial psychiatric and acute care teaching hospitals in my career. I came to appreciate the value of classification, persistence and doing what you can to advance science in the service of people. I think the effect franchising has on families makes this work worthy. Not easy work, but necessary at least as a way of remembering.

As often happens in surveys, patterns emerged. I chose to categorize risky behavior (from an investor’s point of view) by describing them as best I could.  John was a great help and remains as a good friend.

While some of the the stories are not very pretty and could be viewed as negative, I think it’s better to know the possible business risks you’re facing before you sign control of your life savings away as a mom-and-pop franchise investor.

Where WikiFranchise goes from here will depend on what others think.


What’s so beautiful about mathematics?

August 19, 2009

Mandelbrot_setWatched a documentary last night on WNED-TV, the PBS affiliate out of Buffalo, New York.

Hunting the Human Dimension reminded me of the work of Benoit Mendelbrot and fractal geometry.

Perhaps the most famous image is the Mandelbrot set, pictured here.

The thing that I took away from his story is that one person persisted from the margins when the mathematics academic establishment considered it all nonsense work.

That secret order in seeming disorder.

That the natural world is infinitely and perfectly scalable (repeating with +ve or -ve magnification) is, well, almost unbelievable.

The idea that the seemingly random could be put into order is very appealing to me.

I do think that mathematics is very close to art or poetry and lead to a peak experience. Agape.

God knows the number of epiphanies I’ve had trying to make sense of franchising.


As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.

August 18, 2009

Abraham LincolnAs it turns out, I’m not much of a businessperson.

Oh I get the idea alright.

Selling enough of a service or good for more than it cost you to more than cover your fixed costs.

Understand that mechanism quite well and have been doing it since delivering papers.

I guess I’m just more of a democrat than a capitalist.

Abraham Lincoln had a twisty path (including business failure and bankruptcy), it seems. The U.S. 16th president also said:

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.

It is simply a perspective. But every viewpoint is either life-giving or life-taking.

The effect of having lived you life is often the sum of the decisions you make.

There may be ways to round some corners but, my experience shows, everything pretty well evens out.


Support weaker Food Chains: Help yourself by Helping Others (buy franchise-free food)

July 27, 2009

BreaikingChain

What can one person do to help?

All franchisees should support autonomy in supply when they shop for their family’s needs.

And they should encourage all their staff, relatives and customers to do the same.

Ontario has 40,000 franchisees in over 500 different tradename systems spanning fast food, petroleum, coffee, pizza: almost every vertical market. They all seem so different but they’re almost 100% the same in one aspect: the head office (franchisor) forces the local businessperson (franchisee) to buy products only through them. Sometimes the margins charged to the franchisees are extremely high, and act as a hidden franchise fee or brand tax.

Canada’s grocery industry is heavily franchised and these “tied buying” types of  provisions are usually ruthlessly enforced.

  • Grocery franchises have been some of the most active franchisees in pushing for protective legislation. And they’ve been trying to do this (protect themselves AND all Ontario franchisees) for decades and decades.
  • They are unquestionably leaders in franchisee advocacy.

This post follows up on a July 20th posting called Rumblings in Canada’s grocery elite: Sobeys franchisees go independent. Nine banner food stores have decided to go independent  and purchase their goods via a buying group called the Hometown Grocers Co-op.

Thanks to Sarah B. Hood at Toronto Tasting Notes for providing the specific locations of these leading former forced-supply retailers (Local Ontario Grocers Break Away From Sobey’s to Sell More Local Food).

Why not take a beautiful drive into southwestern Ontario, say hello to some true leaders and stock up on food with the following community retailers:

  1. Arthur (L & M Markets),
  2. Chesley (Chesley Grocery Store),
  3. Drayton (Drayton Food Market),
  4. Durham, (L & M Markets),
  5. Elora (L & M Markets),
  6. Grand Valley (Hind’s Foods),
  7. Harriston (L & M Markets),
  8. Lucknow (Knechtel Food Market), and
  9. Palmerston (L & M Markets).

If fellow franchisees fail to support each other, we deserve to continue to pay these high hidden franchise fees that come from the monopoly franchisors force via franchise contract provisions.

Nine freer grocery franchisees should be very good news to all Canadian franchisees BUT should be supported very aggressively.


Divorce and Franchising: God’s way of saying you have too much money

June 18, 2009

Marriage2Franchising is sometimes equated to marriage.

Whenever you hear that…

…be assured, You are in the presence of a known deciever.

Franchising and marriage are almost the exact polar opposite. But if you need to learn this for yourself, make sure your real spouse NEVER signs any paperwork.

  • No paperwork.
  • Franchisor’s, bank’s: Anyone’s.
  • Period.

You’ll need her help more than you can ever imagine.


The $7 Solution: Invest now or Pay a great deal later

June 17, 2009

7dollarsI was in downtown Toronto, Canada this morning, meeting with an old MBA classmate and a commercial litigator associate of his.

Very nice meeting.

We all agreed on one thing:

  1. a professionally managed and funded franchisee group is critical in defending your economic interests.

Everyone needs a group to work on their behalf and +90% of all association work is not in conflict with the franchisor.

  • To me, budget $7 per day per year ($2,000 per store) to get it going.

Any less is a license for failure.


As a franchisee, you know you’re “all in” already, right?

June 12, 2009

PokerChipsYou have no choice but to play, really, when you think of it.

As a franchisee, you’re “all in” already, even the highest volume “company man” guy.

It’s much better to be in the bus helping drive rather than free riding in the back.

But be prepared to ante up at the start and all the way along.

Funding franchisee groups is for adults: not for children.

Expect to pay in two ways:

  1. to build a permanent pot of money to discourage franchisor opportunism and
  2. to fund the creation and management of the issues leading up to a franchise agreement negotiation.

Budget to pay $2,000 per store, minimum.

This investment will build a rainy day reserve of $500,000 and an annual operating budget of close to $1 million dollars within 3 years. Depending on the franchisor aggressiveness, a higher levy might be required to to build the reserve higher, faster.

  • Anything less is a recipe for failure.
  • Don’t send your representatives on a job with their hands tied behind their back: out-funded and out-foxed.
  • Only fools would continue risking their life savings in a doomed effort.

If your franchise cannot afford this insurance premium, get out. It’s not a business, it’s a hobby.

You have a winning hand if you’re shrewd enough to survive the bidding.


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