Franchisees have credibility, external experts do not

September 14, 2010

Just do it.

Seth Godin has post a good post on the human tendency to over-rate the importance of the beginner and novice stages.

The problem in The Myth of Preparation:

We diddle around in the novice stage because we’re afraid. We polish (but not too much) and go to meetings (plenty of them) and look for deniability, spending hours and hours instead of shipping. And the product, in the end, is not so much better.

Godin’s advice?:

Go, give a speech. Go, start a blog. Go, ship that thing that you’ve been hiding. Begin, begin, begin and then improve. Being a novice is way overrated.

Why not start your own 100% anonymous investor-focused WordPress weblog today? Infinitely less risky than talking to any attorney, especially one self-identifying as a “franchise law expert”.

Take a look at the latest from: or review my Links page.

What’s better than one

April 22, 2010

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery isn’t it? Last Saturday, somebody downloaded  some data from

Looks like, like, everything:

  • 2,090 indexed documents,
  • 9,676 pages,
  • 9,681 hits, and
  • 193.12 MB of bandwidth

Here’s a toast to information sharing and  innovation as evolves and moves aboot.

Lap/watch dogs and the role of equity in franchisee groups

April 16, 2010

Evolve or die.

If I had a million dollars I would invest it in the franchise industry but not in a conventional sense.

Three types of groups:

  1. Advisory Councils: There to give the illusion of participation and to reward collaborators. Lipstick on a pig.
  2. Independent Franchisee Association, IndFA: one-vote, one-franchisee, subscription-funded, mostly short-term and knee-jerk reaction. Doomed to fail because membership penetration rate seldom above 15% nationally (aborts maturing of indigenous franchisee leaders). Great pre-trial cannon fodder for the class action franchise bar (only publicly traded targets). Only a tiny fraction of valid claims ever emerge from half-formed programs retarded by a constant burn-out of continuously begging franchisee cannon fodder leaders despite the initial Year 1 dues leveraging to 3 to 4 times for every franchisee. Fundraising ballbusting forces IndFAs into class action lawyer’s arms. A interim form of franchisee ghettoization for amateur organization men: strictly chop-down-the-orchard-for-firewood thinking. Underfunded at $1,000 a store.
  3. Attorneyless Franchisee Networks: pay-as-you-go “common members” (min. $2,000 per year) plus “preferred equity holders” (ie. current franchisees, in and out of system, angel investors). Investing (pre-set ROI, timeframes) available to 100% current members one year after initial formation. Realistic budget for national: $500,000 over two years. Plant-an-orchard mentality where franchisee leadership development can continue long enough for self-governance to incubate. True franchisee control with consultants and lawyers as sub-contractors. Overcomes credence good cheating (legal and industry) by creating a market for second opinions. Power has shifted to less than 5% of franchisee involvement because of the internet and increasing levels of franchisor paranoia.

Franchisee collaborators or house negroes  should (but won’t) pay attention as they have the most (marginally) to lose.

Sleep lost by yours truly?


Franchising: just another low trust industry

April 14, 2010

Seth Godin gets it right about social media.

He  diagnoses franchising’s vulnerabilities correctly In his latest post Lead with your glass jaw:

If you’re in a low trust industry (like car sales), a social media presence dramatically increases the opportunity people have to call you out, beat you up, tattle on you and flame you in public. If you have a Facebook page and people can YELL at you there, for all to see, it makes you vulnerable…

Videos are powerful tools

April 13, 2010

The human brain absorbs images much better than text.

This is a very good example to follow.

It takes more work than it appears but it is very useful.

Additional information on Blue MauMau: Franchisees Explain Why They Are Suing UPS.

Social proof: “Fitting in” as a franchisee serves somebody’s interests

April 7, 2010

Behaviour is influenced much more that that we commonly think.

Bob Cialdini suggests a very useful model in his Science of Persuasion.

Social proof is a central one used in franchising. What our peers believe to be true is very persuasive to us.

Social proof:

a psychological  phenomenon that occurs in ambiguous social situations when people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior. Making the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation, they will deem the behavior of others as appropriate or better informed. Wikidpedia

“Normal” in franchising is initially set by the franchisor for their newbie.

Another “Weapon of Influence” (authority) helps the franchisor orient the new franchisee to a subservient, look-to-Big-Daddy mentality.

However, this new “normal” is eroded as franchisees become more experienced. It all seems to go one way.

Sharing information between peer franchisees defuses the power of social proof and authority as behaviour-modifying techniques.

Food safety culture, dinosaur franchisor and Role of Franchisees

March 18, 2010

A very good article from Barfblog and Dr. Doug Powell.

He suggests in What is a food safety culture?:

Creating a culture of food safety requires application of the best science with the best management and communication systems, including compelling, rapid, relevant, reliable and repeated, multi-linguistic and culturally-sensitive messages. That’s why we create food safety infosheets (in several languages), blog posts (even the silly ones) and get out in the field to figure out what works best. Talking with people helps.

I see the integrity of the farm, distributor (franchisee), retailer and consumer in the diagram above. First-class in the Canadian grocery industry, I’d say.

I frequently do NOT see the basic management competence of the processor (franchisor).

The best way is to exterminate the dinosaur franchisor managers via internet information sharing.

Incompetence works in the field of food safety just as easily as in the area of franchisee relationship management. Top-down, authoritarian, paternalistic: franchisees feel the fist first but the public/consumers suffer from this condescending culture eventually. Franchisees have a role to play in communicating this unnecessary public risk.

Lives, literally, are depending on it.

This machine kills fascists

February 20, 2010

Woody had songs.

We have PCs.

Tony Van Alphen and Dana Flavelle’s take on these implications as they relate to Toyota’s recall is interesting:

Toyota’s troubles an example of consumer safety power

Because not so long ago, dangerous defects were kept secret, governments wouldn’t act, and consumers were powerless.

Franchise investment safety is turned upside down.

The cost to destroy systems has plummeted

February 11, 2010

It’s almost like a physical law: like a law of gravity. It has always been much cheaper to destroy rather than build.Franchisees know this when they accept the destruction of self-worth, confidence and trust that happens during their contract.

Any small group of franchisees can now deliver a fatal blow to their system because of the almost-free, anonymous digital information sharing.

How franchisees deal with their fight- or-flight-or-freeze response will be interesting to watch.

Not great news for the, generally, neanderthal profiteers  of the old order.

Risk-free franchisee education: Why pyramid power has collapsed

June 10, 2009

The internet has flattened many hierarchical structures.Pyramidslave1

Universities, book & music publishers, newspapers,…

Literally hundreds of traditional “span of control“, top-down, military-style organizations are being changed forever or wiped out.

  • Every information-based industry must either adapt or risk becoming extinct.

Franchising is not immune to these forces.

I would argue that franchising is undergoing a huge power re-polarization: the electrical circuitry that had controlled systems is laid bare and very vulnerable. The franchise bar’s monopoly on gatekeeping is open for questioning as franchisees refuse to define every business glitch as a “legal” problem that needs a “legal” solution.

The old “do this or else” commands simply don’t work anymore.

One of the main reasons is that individual franchisees can overcome their initial feelings of “I’m to blame” much quicker by searching for information on the internet. There are hundreds of brutal franchising stories on sites such as Blue MauMau and especially

  • is a very powerful tool with a relentless “memory”,
  • explodes some very dangerous industry myth,
  • persuades by not trying to,
  • supports more and more insightful journalism,
  • links executives’ actions with their names (reputation registry), and
  • indexes already published articles in a 24/7, fully-downloadable and -transparent, collaborative (multiple-ways) and no cost way.

AIDA: Franchisees can more easily move through the “selling process” of banding together to help themselves. AIDA is a short form for for the marketing process of:

  • awareness,
  • interest,
  • decision and
  • action.

Franchisees can become aware, interested and decide to reach out to their peers without risking any retaliation from their franchisor. Totally anonymous, private and free. Any time of the day or week; at a much earlier time than when the internet was not around.

  • This is a revolutionary step and holds the promise of a more equitable franchise industry for those franchisees who dare to test this new model.

Slaves built the ancient pyramids. Franchising hasn’t had the pyramid inverted: the pyramid has been flattened.

Franchisors are not very vocal about these developments.

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