By Lance Winslow
Franchising Trade Journals do not do well, because today with all the industry regulations only about 1800 active franchise actually exist in the US. Down sharply over the past five years. Why? Over-regulation. Now you have a Bank Cooperative, which owns a company that collect data, FranData of Uniform Franchise Offering Circulars, which are the industries required disclosure documents to new franchise buyers. The company sells it to attorneys and to competitors of which many probably are financed through that bank. My God can this be real. Then they work with industry Trade Journals to do Top 50 franchises lists, but to be qualified to be reviewed they of course wish to see your UFOC; Uniform Franchise Offering Circular.
So what is the deal with this purported 50 Fastest New Franchise List? Is it real? Does it matter if it is? After all once a Franchisor decides to participate they have just given their life's work to someone who will sell the data including the names addresses and phone numbers of each and every one of your franchisees to your competitors or to franchise industry salesmen who will never stop harassing you or your company and to the over seas competitors who want to come into this country and take you customers and end use customers of your franchise families income. You think this is acceptable?
It is unbelievable to think that this is acceptable, in a time when Accounting Firms and Agencies cannot advise and audit or a time when the NYSE is splitting up it's executive and regulating boards. This whole thing smells of Conflict of interest, anti-trust laws, misrepresentation of intent. Meanwhile the SBA, a government agency, paid by us is paying this company or has given them an exclusive to collect this data for their SBA registry of franchising companies to streamline loan application process times? Holly conflict of interest; can you believe that the industry has there penis so far up the regulating agencies rear end that they allow this?
Then a lady who called our company had the nerve to ask us to participate with them in a survey, so she can help us get more publicity? No; so their company can give away our information to those companies who cannot compete with us head on in the market place, because they are either to incompetent or too lazy to offer better service and lower prices to the consumer. Instead they are willing to pay for all our secrets via a group financed by government contracts at the SBA, which is really involved in industry spying? Wow, for an agency like the SBA which is suppose to help people in achieving their American Dream, they have allowed and exclusive contract to a company that wants to put the screws to the next Ray Kroc, up and coming franchise concept?
Pathetic, typical Washington, "It's who you know and who you BLOW" attitude, literally. You can bet that http://www.Franchising.org is going to get to the bottom of this, meanwhile if you are an up and coming franchisor and you want to succeed, then realize who you are dealing with before you allow the important data that makes your business possible out of your sight. Franchise Buyers must be screened carefully, do not hand over your information, data, financial audit, or profile without weighing the benefits first. Be sure to ask questions of these companies who claim to be helping you in some way? Yah sure, they are going out of their way to help you? Since when has anyone besides a new franchisor; ever done that in your life? Since when has someone gone out of their way to assist you in building your franchise company?
What we see here is an undermining of the entire Friedman Economic Model, which dictates free markets, which is run by a company which profits from screwing over the little guy. Last time I checked it was new smaller businesses and expanding businesses, which provided jobs. Not the government or attorneys, speaking of which wasn’t it great watching that lawyer hide behind the tree the other day trying not to be shot buy a guy he ripped off; I think that happened at a California court house last year?
In my opinion FranData a subsidiary of the National Bank Cooperative is violating the intent if not the letter of the law as it relates to anti-trust. And it is our opinion that only a D.C. Company could get way with such a conflict of interest working in cahoots with a government agency, which literally gives out money. Have you seen the fall out rates of SBA loans? It is also our opinion that we were lied to by FranData for them to secure more information from our company to give, actually sell, to our competitors. What started out as a nice contract for a Black African American businessman has been manipulated and then sold to a Bank Cooperative, which uses this data through a subsidiary to profit of the sale of said data to competitors.
Does this affect our team? Our Company, the franchise business I have been working on for 27 years? Well, it could if we give our data to these people to sell online. But still these companies buying the data will see we do not take prisoners in the marketplace. However for a small franchisor starting out, it could spell disaster. Every time we see these things, we are more resolved to get out there and kick ass against those who manipulate the system, break the law or think they can take the easy way out to compete with us. My advice for this new franchise entrepreneur, Watch Out, things are not as they appear and it is politics as usual in the Belt Way. Think about it.
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By Lance Winslow