How to Profit from Franchising’s imminent Meltdown

February 19, 2009

wickedwitch3That depends on what role you play in the coming psychodrama.

I’m not to interested in what Big Franchising will do: they will continue to act in a short-term self-interested way.

As far as franchisees, now that is more interesting. Most people only define franchisees as those currently in a franchise agreement. Nope: not me. Never have.

Defining a problem narrowly is the role of the fee-for service professionals. Only amateurs like me have the freedom to define something that will lead to solutions rather than blind alleys.

Also, active franchisees are under a sort of a spell.

They’re in a type of sleep-walk or a fairy tale. They are so stressed-out that their frontal lobes (System 2, rational mind) are inactive. They are in throes of a nightmare where the only thing that they can do is to fight or flee.

Former franchisees, like me, that hold the key but they must be able to integrate their life experiences with a rational understanding of how they were to put to sleep for a while. Working through the emotional pain of reliving their own franchise is the cost they pay for redemption.

Three groups:

  1. potential investors,
  2. current and
  3. past franchisees.

1. Potential: Profit by not signing any deal for one year. You will avoid the worse financial catastrophe in your life and I say this wiht a confidence of 19 out of 20. It is much, much preferable to be unemployed rather than in a franchise. Now is NOT the time to reach for that brass ring: Don’t do a Walter Mitty on your family.

2. Current: Profit by trying to imagine what would happen when (not if) your franchise is unable to discipline or litigate anyone. Start talking to a few other unhappy campers, read FranchiseFool, start a WordPress.com weblog (share information). Notice how your fears are all in your head?

If not, have your wife call me. Seriously: if you’re willing to put your pride before your family’s well-fare (welfare), you are acting like a moron, for the moment. The smart rats quit a sinking ship

3. Former: Profit by telling your story. Contact the people that you’ve lost touch with. Start contributing to Blue MauMau. Speak up: you’ve earned your voice and you better damn well use it when you can. Sure you betrayed other franchisees while getting out but that was then. This is now and you are needed.

Only a fool will continue to obey commands of a dead sorcerer.


forever Jung and Half-formed boy Predators

January 28, 2009

calvinhobbes1Why won’t these little worms just grow up?

Enough is enough, already.

Yes, we know you’re tough and smart. We know the gym class shower room was demeaning. And yes pulling the wings off flies does hold some amusement value.

  • But seriously: Get some help in the second half of your life.

There are some people (mostly male) that think the worst of people, are never satisfied with any accomplishment and would rather kill something rather than share a little bit (let alone collaborate).

  • They’re so emotionally shut down and compartmentalized that all that’s left is fear and anger.

It’s been my experience that modern franchising is practiced by fearful men who lack the confidence and maturity that should have been formed during their boyhood. They’ve never learned to trust themselves, mask their inadequacies with arrogance and accumulate wealth but are unable to enjoy the use of those resources.

They act-out as if they were european dragons or worms (from the old English): like Smaug of The Hobbit fame: only hoard and destroy, are master hynotists, believe themselves to be invulnerable (although they are not), have a dry but cruel sense of humour with an “overwhelming personality”; their Achilles’ Heel is always hubris: overweening arrogance, superbia.

They try to deny part of their nature but it keeps popping up, especially when their Divine Right to Decide is questioned by lesser mortals.

One Model: Within every individual, there are two forces, world views or archetypes at play: every male has within him a female side, and every female has male characteristics within her.

Carl Gustav Jung identified unconscious forces called anima and animus.

  • anima is the unconscious feminine component of men and
  • animus is the unconscious masculine component in women.

Jung believed that the anima and animus act as guides to the unconscious unified Self, and that forming an awareness and a connection with the anima or animus is one of the most difficult and rewarding steps in psychological growth.

Jung reported that he identified his anima as she spoke to him, as an inner voice, unexpectedly one day.

Often, when people ignore the anima or animus complexes, the anima or animus vies for attention by projecting itself on others. This explains, according to Jung, why we are sometimes immediately attracted to certain strangers: we see our anima or animus in them. Love at first sight is an example of anima and animus projection. Moreover, people who strongly identify with their gender role (e.g. a man who acts aggressively and never cries) have not actively recognized or engaged their anima or animus.

Jung attributed human rational thought to be the male nature, while the irrational aspect is considered to be natural female. Consequently, irrationality is the male anima shadow and rationality is the female animus shadow. (Analytical Psychology)

When a half-formed male is seriously confronted, he becomes unglued: screaming, cursing, the issue becomes a life-and-death struggle against the Questioner. I’ve seen this type of tantrum up close and you tend not to forget the experience. I think every franchisee has experienced this.

  • It can be a franchisor, a lawyer, a politician: it doesn’t matter (see Big Franchising).

Irrationality is the shadow side of an unbalanced psyche and it gets played out in volcanic bursts of rage. Innocent questions are heard by the child as if you were trying to kill them. (And in a psychological sense, you are: you’re calling them to put aside their childish ways.)

  • In franchising, this acting-out these man-boys, empowered by iron-clad agreements that are the same across all systems,  have the 100% unilateral right to bankrupt you and drive you into a mental hell.

All of the rights are on one side: for mom and pops, franchising is Unsafe at any Brand.

After the honeymoon is over and you’ve signed on for multiple, self-reinforcing monopoly relationships, your economic gender assault can occur with very little warning or defence.

Calvin and Hobbes


Argot: words in the secret service of a subgroup

December 29, 2008

whisper1. argot n. the jargon of a group or class, formerly especially of criminals Canadian Oxford English dictionary

2. argot noun – (plural argots)

  1. A secret language or conventional slang peculiar to thieves, tramps, and vagabonds.
  2. The specialized informal vocabulary and terminology used between people with special skill in a field, such as between doctors, mathematicians or hackers; a jargon.

Example:  The conversation was in the argot of the trade, full of acronyms and abbreviations that made no sense to the uninitiated.
Synonyms

  1. (secret language): cant, jargon, slang
  2. (specialized vocabulary): jargon Wiktionary

The recurring themes that I see are:

  • secrecy [need to conceal from others],
  • language at the service of self-interest,
  • degree of criminality although not necessarily (ie. see list of drug world argot, prison argot, Prostitution-related jargon),
  • words with multiple meanings (to insider versus outsider, uninitiated),
  • enables credentialing for evaluating new potential ingroup members, and
  • allows connecting and linking diverse user groups, networks and markets, all around the world.

Franchising argot is a communication system widely understood among Big Franchising’s participants, yet it is largely hidden from mainstream culture. A necessary prerequisite to support modern franchising as a confidence game.

There is a need for a language resource to translate franchising words into plain English. I have started by defining terms and collecting examples of industry behavior in the Information Sharing Project.

  • My next contribution will be to write a dictionary of franchise terms.

A book similar to Fowler’s Modern English Usage: a style guide to explain mom-and-pop franchise investing. A doubter’s dictionary.


Economic sanctions

September 21, 2008

The single best defense against things that go bump in the night for franchisees, is a mature and well-financed independent franchisee association, IndFA [see todays Thought-terminating cliche post on Blue MauMau].

  1. Each franchise trademark system should have their own.
  2. You should never buy into a system that does not have one.

Don’t be fooled: Unless there is a lawyer that the IndFA retains to give independent advice, the salesmen are telling you lies. The franchisor very often creates their own advisory committee to give the illusion of franchisee input. Ask for the lawyer’s name and talk directly to him or her.

National Associations: Starting and running a trademark system is difficult at times.

In the U.S. there are about 5,000 franchise systems and 1,200 in Canada. In Canada, there are only a few dozen functioning IndFAs for one reason alone: The franchisors don’t franchisees talking together.

In the U.S. there is the American Franchisee Association, AFA and the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers, AAFD. In Canada, there isn’t one and Australia’s seems pretty inactive lately.

  • I started the Canadian Alliance of Franchise Operators in 1998 and killed it off in 2005.

The only reason I stopped it was because others were using it to give the impression of strength that was not there. I approached all the major Canadian stakeholders (Big Franchising: franchisor association, 5 Canadian banks, product franchisors, law firms, salesmen, Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, Industry Canada etc.) for assistance or financial support.

Big Franchising’s position has been consistent ever since 1998 when I breached the sacristy of the CFA’s trade show at the CNE with a CBC film crew. Franchising holds it beliefs rigidly: Like some 2nd rate religion or cult.

The irony, of course, is that without their resistance as expressed in my brilliant 6 week banking career [see The Apprenticeship of Les Stewart] and my recent blackballing (RE: providing general and employee benefits to Canadian franchises),I wouldn’t have the time much less the need to be typing away here.

  • Funny how things work out, eh?

United States of AUS: McTurkeys come to their Senses

September 17, 2008

Late breaking AUS Franchise news via Blue MauMau.

The International Franchise Association, IFA has instructed the Commonwealth of Australia on which laws they should and should not have.

McTurkeys instinctively renounced their citizenship and assumed the posture most likely to please Big Franchising‘s head office.

In a predictably subtle grasp of international and constitutional legal matters, an unnamed IFA source is quoted in an article called Washington Trade Lobbyist Warns Against Changing Australian Franchise Law), that:

The International Franchise Association, a Washington D.C.-based lobbying group representing mainly franchisors, is warning Australian parliamentarians debating a tightening of the country’s franchise laws that laws requiring registration of franchisor disclosure documents are outdated and burdensome. The organization also warns that recent removal of foreign franchisor exemption will dampen U.S. firms’ interest to expand into Australia.

The IFA, which represents less than 1/3 of U.S. franchise systems, came out firmly in favour of a disclosure regime.

In a related story, when reached for comment on the fact that

  1. the IFA had taken over her law-making authority, and
  2. her former colony would henceforth be called the United States of Australia,

Elizabeth II, the nominal head of state and Sovereign of Australia responded with her characteristic degree of pith:

…whatever.


Advance fee Scams: Money upfront for Nothing

September 15, 2008

Franchising is like an Advance fee scam but with benefits.

  • Most new franchise offerings take not only what you put on the table, now, but your labour, your future earnings and much more cash than you ever dreamed of putting in.
  • And not only yours. Mom and pop scammers are happy to take your spouse’s and family’s money too.

A good little bit by Jack Payne over at Con Man’s Blog that defines an advance fee scam.

Simply put, advance fee scams are when:

…the victim pays his hard-earned money to con men in anticipation of receiving a product or service of greater value–such as a contract, loan, investment, or gift. Then in a big majority of cases, receives nothing in return.

The problem with these scams is that they are usually totally legal:

To get his advance fee returned to him, the burden of proof falls on himself (the victim), who must prove that no meaningful services were performed, or product delivered, on his behalf, or for his benefit, by the con man. This is frequently a difficult undertaking. Finder’s, keepers. Losers, sleepers.

There are lots of legitimate businesses that require a down payment and it is very difficult at times to filter out the scammers.

And, as is often the case, the important points come out in the comments:

Warren M said…That burden of proof thing is a killer. The victim starts out behind the eight ball.

The money is gone. For good.

  • Taking legal action only enables the franchise bar  who acts as Big Franchising‘s Waffen-SS: they will kill you economically with the lawsuits.

Waffen-SS:


Is Blue MauMau crooked?

September 6, 2008

This is a very good question. And I admit I do not know the answer.

Here is a video that proves a description of bluemaumau.org‘s  stated mission. Take a look at the video an then the site (over some time) and see if they’re “walking the talk”.

I know that I am not in the inner circle of BMM experts and that they converse quite regularly offline.

  • Internet information sharing is a very large concern for Big Franchising. The point men are the Franchise Bar and especially the  self-appointed Alpha Male franchise lawyer.

They are extremely sensitive about their image. Try showing up to one of their trade shows with a national television network film crew. The industry has very long memories and insists on everyone goosestepping to the same beat.

I see no reason why BMM should be given a pass.

There have been other websites before that tried to be independent but found it economically impossible to do so. It’s called being black-balled, folks. Same goes for journalists.

Any questions and it’s called a CLM (career limiting move). The tactics are the same as those used by Big Tobacco.

  • The franchise industry is well-known for punishing anyone that raises too many questions or interferes in any way with their selling efforts (ie. sue advocates into bankruptcy, withhold referrals or destroy careers).
  • On the surface, anyway, this would make BMM Public Enemy #1.

And even if Blue MauMau was doing the staus quo’s bidding (breeds disinformation and confusion, public flogging of irrelevant small-time weasels), does it really matter?

  • My experience is that what is going to happen, is going to happen. The mechanics are bigger than any rear-guard defence strategy.

Either way,  some valuable lessons can be learned but I should caution: The greatest lies are always told in silence.

In big industry new ideas are invited to rear their heads so they can be clobbered at once. The idea department of a big firm is a sort of lab for isolating dangerous viruses.
Marshall McLuhan

People need to think of themselves as unmanaged, independent and free, if they are to be controlled with maximum success.
John Kenneth Galbraith

These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.
Abraham Lincoln [discharged bankrupt shopkeeper]


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