Ramblings & A Lesson
WOW!!! It has probably been two years since I first stumbled across BMM. I remember the excitement I felt over this relatively new site with SO MUCH potential. I remember reading BMM’s stated objectives:
This website is designed for you -- to share insights, stories, comments, news and information on buying and running a franchise. Members help each other in all aspects of the business....We want to provide the information, community, and tools to help individual franchise owners run their business....
I saw it as a conduit for sharing information about all things related to franchising, good and bad. At that point in time, I felt that the BMM community would quickly evolve into a major web portal allowing for the open exchange of information which would benefit existing and prospective franchisees and franchisors. With a great deal of enthusiasm I jumped right in, and over the next year or so I became a regular participant, quickly racking up more than 1,000 BMM points.
My initial enthusiasm for BMM began to wan as the overall tone of the community seemed to remain redundantly focused on the destruction of franchising rather than the improvement of franchising. I often found myself defending franchisors and franchising as a whole, when what I really wanted to do was to acquire and share knowledge about franchising and business operations. I became labeled by some as ‘Pro-Franchisor’, which is not the case. I am neither Pro-Franchisor nor Anti-Franchisor. If anything, I was and I remain pro-franchising and supportive of a Free Enterprise System, and see franchising as a vital part of a Free Enterprise System. Most importantly I support any person who is willing to invest their life savings and stick their neck on the line to own and operate a business (franchise or otherwise) as a means of achieving their personal and professional goals and objectives.
Approximately six months ago, I decided that it was time for me to reduce my participation on BMM. Quite simply, I was tired of the nonstop anti franchise rhetoric and the constant trashing and bashing of franchisors, franchise organizations, and anyone remotely supportive of franchising. At that time common topics (targets) included: Quiznos, UPS, Coffee Beanery, Cuppy’s, The Dwyer Group, Meineke, IFA, AAFD, Entrepreneur, Sona MedSpa, FranCorp, FranData, SBA, and the list goes on….
Periodically over the past month or so I’ve dropped into the BMM community to see what was going on, and to see what if anything had changed. Well I can say that it’s almost like returning to a Soap Opera after 6-months of not watching, you can jump right back in and pick up where you left off. Neither the cast nor the story lines have changed --- very much!
· THE CAST:
o Don Sniegowski, always a nice guy, but I’ve yet to decide if he’s a genius or just plain crazy; and his alter ego Mr. BlueMaumau who continues to try and keep the BMM machine running, and apologizing for the occasional snafu.
o Michael Webster, the Counselor north of the border. Although we’ve exchanged a few jabs and have some fundamental philosophical differences, I’ve found Mr. Webster to be very knowledgeable and acknowledge the value of his contribution to the BMM community.
o Bob Frankman, a well grounded ZEE who brings humor and insight to almost every topic.
o Jim Coen, a gentleman who seldom finds himself in the midst of the more heated discussions, but often brings insight gained from his 25+ years of franchise experience to various topics.
o Paul Steinberg, the Franchisee attorney from NYC, who I actually have a great deal of respect for, but we
o Janet Sparks, although I believe that Mrs. Sparks could and should bring a more balanced approach to her coverage of franchising, I readily admit that she makes a great overall contribution to BMM by constantly reporting on franchise news.
o FuwaFuwaUsagi, the man who questions the viability of franchising as an investment.
o JD, the accountant.
o Millionaire Rich, BMM’s most beloved billionaire, wealth builder and Franchisor.
o THE GUEST, some of whom make valuable contributions and others who simply make snide hit-and-run posts. (I like many others support BMM’s decision to allow anonymity, however I do believe that all guest should be required to register and use an anonymous name so that specific posts can be connected to a specific poster. This approach would protect the posters identity, improve communications and allow readers a better opportunity to determine the overall credibility of the poster).
· THE STORY LINES remain much the same. A few news worthy stories with informative opinions from the cast, intertwined with an over abundance of mudslinging on every conceivable topic that can be twisted into something derogatory about franchising or a franchisor. The topics (targets) remain much the same: Quiznos, UPS, Coffee Beanery, Cuppy’s, The Dwyer Group, Meineke, IFA, AAFD, Entrepreneur, Sona MedSpa, FranCorp, FranData, SBA, and the list goes on….As I reflect back onto the original purpose of this website: “… to share insights, stories, comments, news and information on buying and running a franchise. Members help each other in all aspects of the business....We want to provide the information, community, and tools to help individual franchise owners run their business....” I ask:
o Is the current content intended to provide “information on buying…a franchise” (as stated) or is it intended to create so much doubt and fear in the mind of anyone and everyone considering becoming a franchisee, that no one in their right mind would do so?
o Where are the shared insights, stories, comments, news and information on running a franchise (as stated)?
o Where is the information, community and tools to help individual franchise owners run their business (as stated)?
When I first stumbled upon BMM I believed that it could easily become the single most valuable tool on the internet for assisting existing and prospective franchisees and franchisors. I still believe my original assessment, but I do not believe that it has yet tapped into its full potential, nor do I believe that it will, until such time that it becomes significantly more ‘Fair and Balanced’.
IF THERE IS A LESSON TO BE LEARNED:
Back in the day we used to say “…a happy customer tells a friend, but an unhappy customer tells ten”. The times ---- they are a changing! In today’s internet world, with social networking sites and blogs the saying must now be updated to: “…a happy customer tells a friend, and an unhappy customer tells everybody”.
A Tip for Franchisees AND franchisors: Make it EASY for unhappy customers to complain….. TO YOU! It is much better for you if your customer complains to you than to a few thousand of their closest MySpace friends.
Every Franchisor wants to have happy franchisees; however, this is not always possible. Even happy franchisees can easily become unhappy franchisees.