So I was reading Blue Mau Mau this morning, thinking about some of our franchisee clients. There is an article about franchise protection laws being proposed in California. We have recently written about legislature in Ohio designed to provide additional protections for franchisees. But it caused me to step back and think about the entire dichotomy of looking at this industry and this business model, from the perspective of franchisor vs. franchisee.
If you don’t know, Blue Mau Mau is a website devoted to providing news for franchise and small business owners. It is a recognized source of information concerning the state of the franchise world from a franchisees’ point of view. From a franchisor’s point of view, it might be viewed as biased or a troublemaker, but franchisees swear by it and the intelligent franchisor could view it as a useful insight into an important segment of their business.
Lawyers practicing in the franchising space have jokingly referred to franchisors and franchisees as “zors” and “zees,” and the lawyers historically associate themselves exclusively with one or the other. Most franchise lawyers are franchisor lawyers. A smaller segment of the bar holds themselves out as being franchisee lawyers. A few firms, such as ours , have managed to carve out practices in both zones. Our firm has found that experience in one area compliments a practice in the other. The hard part is getting other lawyers and clients to shake themselves free of the preconception that a lawyer must be one or the other.
On the Zor side, you need to look no further than the International Franchise Association or IFA, whose website and organization is the industry spokesman from the franchisor perspective. It seems to us that a franchisee could benefit from the perspective and information offered by the IFA, just as a franchisor might benefit from reading Blue Mau Mau, but most franchisees distrust the IFA as the unapologetic spokesman for the franchsor industry. The voice of the zors.
More on this to come.