NLRB. Increases in minimum wage. Overtime. Obamacare. What do these acts of government have in common? Nearly every idea that is bad for franchising is born from some politician trying to be a superhero, not for the greater good but rather to make the news and stir up some publicity.
Each of those acts, along with about 100 others over the last 10 years, is created without education. Meaning, people have an idea and rather than really researching the potential impact of their ideas, they open their mouth and anger a lot of people.
Then, the International Franchise Association and its constituents spend precious energy fighting and arguing why it’s a dumb idea.
The problem is that when anger and frustration are thrown into the picture, the opposition rarely listens and simply gets more annoyed, shut off and combative. That creates a vicious cycle of bad ideas without resolution, but with plenty of fighting and turbulent outcomes.
Let’s pretend we could stop the fighting for a second. Let’s pretend we could pull every politician into a room and certify them in franchising, so when their ideas could possibly threaten the well-being of a trillion dollar-plus industry, they are at least coming from an educated place. Then, when they spout ideas, at least they would understand the fire they are creating with their mouth match.
To the general public, and even some prospective or new franchisees first getting into the industry, franchising is McDonald's. That’s it. McDonald's. Well, or gas stations. The knowledge of the general public on franchising is weak, as is the general knowledge of politicians.
What if FranPac only contributed to those who became certified (maybe not to the level of a CFE) in franchising? What if rather than pulling a bunch of people to Washington to do meet-and-greets in the offices of Congressmen, the legislators agreed to come to a one-day seminar, enticed by a factual number on the economic impact of their specific neighborhood? What if professors gave these lectures? Sure, that could be a dumb idea, but the point is, what if we spent our time fighting to educate rather than fighting to fight and having our franchising voice fall on deaf ears?
I am right down the middle politically. I am fairly liberal when it comes to personal issues and fairly conservative when it comes to business. I have found it interesting that when I have a conversation with someone completely to the left or completely to the right, they are very unwilling to listen to my case. My case is wrong, theirs is right – even when I don’t even know if my viewpoint is right, it’s simply a viewpoint. This mentality exists within Washington’s elite, which is why a pause makes sense to teach you our industry and then you could make a decision if joint employer makes sense or that minimum wage should be hiked.
I bet you that if you quizzed politicians on royalty, ad funds, FDDs, Item 19s, registration states vs non, franchise fees, etc., many of them would look at you like you were speaking a different language, and Donald Trump would tell you to leave the country.
This is the problem. A lack of education prevents a real solution from being created. If we switch our mentality to presenting a problem with a potential solution and then listen, a lot of these boneheaded concepts would die.
More laws and ideas against franchises mean more franchises close, fewer new ones open, jobs decrease, franchisors decrease – and if the shit really hits the fan – the economy goes into a downward spiral again because the trillion dollar-plus franchise industry folds.
How do we start over with a foundation of true education? Perhaps we start with teachers and hope that when those 5-year-olds become politicians one day, they have a basic knowledge of cause and effect.