6 AMAZING Franchise Deceptions of Dr. John Hayes

Dr. John Hayes claims he’s an internationally respected franchise expert.  He claims that he has identified the 12 most amazing franchise opportunities and written a book about them.  He claims that that book’s a best seller inspiring wildly enthusiastic positive reviews.  The world’s leading franchise expert and best-selling author couldn’t be lying his ass off… could he?

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  by Sean Kelly

Yesterday I posted an overview of a publishing venture by the esteemed Dr. John Hayes, in conjunction with Scott “Scooter” White, CEO of BizCom Press and BizCom PR.

Previous Post:  Dr. John Hayes & His 12 Amazingly Deceptive Franchises

Next Post: FASTSIGNS CEO Catherine Monson named Valedictorian, Franchise Fraud School

The public face of this venture is a book authored, supposedly, by Hayes entitled “12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities – Second Edition.”  (The first edition was “12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities for 2015”)

I did some digging into John Hayes & BizCom’s publishing operation with the help of some cooperative inside sources.

Here are the deceptive practices I uncovered.  I would like to hear your honest opinion:  Are these guys engaged in harmless puffery or are they, as I feel at this moment, borderline sociopaths running a fraud school?

What do you make of this?  Please leave a comment below, or email me in confidence at UnhappyFranchisee[at]Gmail.com.

Deception #1:  That Dr. John Hayes Selected “12 Bizcom Associates PRAmazing Franchises” Based on Merit

The author and publisher claim that the two “12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities” books are the result of the objective research and analysis into 3,000 franchise opportunities, and the selection, by an internationally respected expert, of the most impressive 12 opportunities available.

According to a February, 2018 press release from publisher and publicist BizCom:

“[Dr. John Hayes] masterfully compiles and presents a cadre of concepts destined for greatness, providing readers with a qualified funnel from over 3,000 franchise concepts down to 12 that are worthy of consideration,” writes Dr. Benjamin C. Litalien, CFE, founder and president of FranchiseWell, in the book’s Foreword.

However, UnhappyFranchisee.Com has obtained a promotional flyer that clearly indicates that the book is a pay-for-play advertising opportunity, akin to a book-length advertorial, presented publicly as an objective business book.

The target audience for the promotional pitch includes franchisors and other franchise sellers.

The headline reads:  “Promote your Amazing Franchise opportunity in the next book by Dr. John P. Hayes.”

Under the subhead “Delivering value far beyond the cost,” the BizCom offers franchisors the opportunity to be named an “Amazing” franchise for a low-low price:

The cost to include a chapter about your franchise opportunity in Amazing  Franchise Opportunities (2018) is only $5,000.

The book will be published in both e-Book (automatically downloadable) and paperback formats.

For the $5,000 fee, franchisors were also promised exposure in the book’-based PR campaign, a custom cover and downloadable ebook they can post on their website and use as a marketing tool, and five paperback copies with more available at a discounted price reserved for Amazing franchisors.

To view the flyer, click here: 12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities Sales Flyer (PDF)

Deception #2:  That John Hayes Wrote “12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities”

Not only did the franchisors pay to be included in the book supposedly authored by Dr. John Hayes, they were required, it seems, to provide the copy for their own chapters.

According to the flyer:

Here’s how it works

If your story meets our criteria as an Amazing Franchise Opportunity, you will provide  us with a 2,000 – 2,500 word article about your business along with up to three high-quality photographs and your company logo.

We’ll give you guidelines for  preparing the article, or for an additional fee we can write the chapter for you.

Once we receive your chapter, Dr. Hayes will edit the text and offer suggestions to  help improve the sales potential, but you will have the final approval of your story…

Dr. Hayes will also write the book’s Foreword to emphasize why you and the other franchisors included in the book represent Amazing Opportunities.

He will also write  an introduction that proceeds your chapter in the book…

March 6, 2018, Plano, TX–based copywriting service Positively Proofed tweeted:

Positively Proofed
@CleanCopy411

So proud to contribute as a copy editor and writer of recently released “12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities – Second Edition.” This is a must-read for anyone considering buying a franchise.  S/o to @BizComPR

So the franchise companies wrote their own chapters.  Positively Proofed did the copyediting.

In addition to the chapters supplied by the 12 amazing franchises, the book is padded with seemingly generic, possibly recycled articles like so many available for free on the Internet(“Is Franchising Right For You?” “How to Investigate Before You Invest in a Franchise,” “How to Succeed With a Franchise Broker”).

It’s unclear how much, if any, original authoring that author Dr. John Hayes did on this book.

Deception #3:  That The Promoted Franchise Opportunities Are “Amazing”

I have skimmed over the 23 franchise opportunities identified by Dr. John Hayes as “amazing” and found that some might be good, most are run-of-the-mill, several are questionable, a few are ludicrously bad and none, arguably, are amazing.

They are pretty much what you’d expect from selection criteria that seems to boil down to 1) Has access to $5,000, 2) Is willing to give it to BizCom/Dr. John Hayes.

The 2018 Amazing Franchise Opportunities list includes the following:

Xpresso Delight.  An Australia-based coffee vending franchisor with NO operating experience, track record, brand recognition in the U.S. market.  Began bid for U.S. expansion in late 2017. Franchisees will have to pay for automated coffee equipment, place them for free in participating offices, provide the coffee and “all consumables except fresh milk” and service each machine each week at no charge to the business.  For all this capital and time commitment, the franchisee receives a “small per-cup fee” collected by the franchisor. Their book section includes a possible FTC earnings claim violation. (See below)

Lime Painting.  A Denver area residential painting company that started offering franchises in late 2017.  Lime Painting looks like a nice painting company, but appears to have no operational franchise experience, no track record, and no name recognition outside of the Denver/Boulder market.  Nice folks, but the most amazing thing about them is how hard they bought into Dr. John Haye’s franchise marketing schtick  (radio show, book, video). Their book section includes a possible FTC earnings claim violation. (See below)

River Street Sweets – Savannah’s Candy Kitchen.  Another inexperienced franchisor with a limited track record and no name recognition outside their current markets.  The company began franchising in 2015, and rather than taking a controlled, efficient, regional expansion approach the first franchise locations were opened in scattershot locations from Pooler, Georgia to Key West, FL to Lancaster, PA and soon Texas and New York.  Another rookie mistake was the inclusion of its company-owned sales revenue in its self-written chapter, likely a violation of FTC regulations prohibiting undisclosed Financial Performance Representations (earnings claims). (See below)

Dr. John Hayes’ first edition of “12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities for 2015” included one of the worst franchise companies with one of the highest franchisee failure rates of recent history (the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise) and one franchise company that disbanded last year due to regulations imposed by the FDA (Palm Beach Vapors).

Dr. John Hayes Book

Deception #4:  That John Hayes’ Books are Amazon “Best-Sellers”

As part of Dr. John Hayes’ Franchise Deception-for-Dollars service, he coaches participating franchisors on his system for artificially manipulating the Amazon system to get “best-seller” status – without even having to sell a single book honestly and legitimately.

In John Hayes’ internal coaching materials (obtained by UnhappyFranchisee.Com), he explains that there is an initial “review” stage when the book is first posted with a review price of .99.

Dr. Hayes instructs:

Anyone can buy the book on the sales page, then return to the sales page to post the review (see image below).

Ask your sales team, your admin team, your support team, family, friends, franchisees, etc. to review the book….

Get people to buy the book and review it.  It is against Amazon’s policy to pay people to review the book, but we can ask (I often beg!) people to buy and review the book.

Dr. John Hayes directs franchisors to use shill purchasers and shill reviewers during the review, free-giveaway and sales stages to inflate both the sales ranking of his books and to create bogus positive reviews that will add credibility to both his publications and, supposedly, the franchise opportunities.

He celebrates the case study of FASTSIGNS successful effort to deceive Amazon, book customers and prospective franchisees:

Literally within an hour of FASTSIGNS’ marketing team learning that Amazon had posted the FASTSIGNS Business Opportunity ebook, the team went to work to solicit reviews of the book. They asked members of their Home Office Team, members of their Franchise Sales Team, and members of their Franchise Network to go to Amazon.com, purchase the ebook (purposely priced at 99 cents to attract reviewers), and review it . . . once the ebook began selling, and readers posted reviews, the title moved into the #1 position on the Amazon Best Seller list for the Small Business Franchise category.  As of this writing, the title has kept that position for 3 days – that’s extraordinary because the list is updated hourly!

Read Dr. John Hayes’ How Franchisors Can Generate More Leads Coaching Sheet for 2015 franchisor group

Read Dr. John Hayes’ Helping You Sell More Franchises By Building Credibility For Your Brand! Coaching Sheet for 2015 franchisor group

Deception #5:  That Dr. John Hayes’ Has ANY regard for the Truth

Dr. John Hayes’ comfort with and enthusiasm for deception is truly a thing to behold.

It’s actually kind of scary.

He gleefully tells the franchisors who paid to be in his book:

After your title is posted on Amazon, I’ll do all that I can to get it to the #1 position on the Best Seller list.

After all, that’s credibility for me, too.

Notice (in the above image) I not only have the #1 best-selling book (at the time of this image), but all three “hot new releases” (right column, as determined by Amazon) belong to me.

It does not seem to occur (or matter) to Dr. John Hayes that does NOT have the #1 best-selling book, and likely never has.

To be best-selling, at least to rational people, a book must be actually purchased by actual consumers who intend to actually read it.

The accomplishment that has Hayes so jubilant is that he used a system of shill purchases, shill reviews, and free downloads to create the illusion of having a best-selling book.

He instructs franchisors to deploy this system of deception – just as he encourages all to have employees, family, friends and Amazon “reviewers” to leave shill reviews – without once acknowledging the blatantly dishonest and unethical nature of those actions.

Nowhere in the materials I’ve reviewed did Dr. John Hayes, Scott White, or BizCom provide guidance on promoting his main or the branded spin-off books to legitimate readers who would actually purchase, read, and provide candid comments on the book.

Deception #6:  That Dr. John Hayes Will Help Build – Not Endanger – Your Franchise Brand

Dr. John Hayes, Scooter White and the BizCom gang claim their deceptive “12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities” program will help build a franchisor credibility and brand.

I think the opposite is true – and believe that they are putting their franchisor clients in danger both of possible reputation-damaging publicity and adverse legal action.

I took a hard look at what the BizCom gang was up to after a savvy entrepreneur asked for my opinion.  “This book reads like brochure copy,” he said, and asked me to take a look at it.

It’s now clear that brochure copy is exactly what the franchisor-written chapters are.  The entrepreneur lost all respect for these 12 franchise companies and Dr. John Hayes when he realized he had been sold a business book that was actually an undisclosed paid advertorial.

The danger of looking unethical

I actually have had a positive view of FASTSIGNS and thought it was a decent franchise concept and company.

I was confused as to why FASTSIGNS would actively participate in the Pay-For-Praise services provided by John Hayes, BizCom, and, separately, FBR Franchise Business Review.  CEO Catherine Monson’s testimonial for John Hayes’ book as a brand builder and her gleeful admission of the use of shill commenters and book purchasers are confusing and troubling.

Do FASTSIGNS and Catherine Monson really have so few legitimate accomplishments that they need to pretend they were selected for Hayes’ book?  Is it really worth the negative press they might get if it turns out they paid for the endorsement – but didn’t disclose it?

Of even greater concern is the damage snake oil peddlers and charlatans like Professor Dr. John Hayes do to young, neophyte franchisors who think they’ve found a trusted advisor and mentor.

Not only will Dr. Hayes unburden them from any excess funds that could be put toward more legitimate purposes, but it appears he is fine exposing them to legal risks as well.

The danger of not disclosing paid endorsements

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires businesses to clearly indicate and disclose when a celebrity or industry expert making an endorsement or recommendation has received compensation of any kind.  Dr. John Hayes is clearly endorsing the 12 amazing franchises in each book, and it appears that he is being paid, but there’s no disclaimer or disclosure statement to be found.

Not only would this appear to put all involved in danger of legal action by the FTC, the attorneys of franchisees whose buying decision may have been influenced by John Hayes’ endorsement of their amazing franchise can cry fraudulent inducement, as these franchisors are not disclosing that they, in fact, paid John Hayes and BizCom to crown theirs as an amazing franchise opportunity.

The danger of illegal Franchise Performance Representations (FPR)

The FTC also forbids franchisors from furnishing sales and earnings representations unless they are clearly substantiated and documented Financial Performance Representations in Item 19 of the company’s Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).  While I am not an attorney and do not have access to all of these companies’ FDDs, there are numerous representations in these books that look like potential illegal earnings claims, such as:

  • “[Lopez’s second location] resulted in sales of $5.5 million in sales revenue and $1.4 million in gross profit in Lime’s first four years.” (Lime Painting)
  • “Within two weeks the business had earned a quick $2000.”  (Xpresso Delight)
  • “The two retail store chains  are comprised of more than 18 stores with joint revenues exceeding $35 million” (River Street Sweets – Savannah’s Candy Kitchen)

Franchise Industry Professionals:  Isn’t Enough Enough?

One of windbag Dr. John Hayes’ gazillion “best-selling” books is titled “7 Dirty Little Secrets of Franchising.”

I can guarantee that the good doctor ain’t disclosing the real dirty little secrets of franchising, such as the secret that hundreds of new franchisors appear each year, sign up for International Franchise Association (IFA) conferences and exhibit at trade shows, hire industry gurus and con-sultants like Dr. John Hayes, and PR firms like BizCom, listen to their malarkey until they run out of money and are replaced by new, bright young faces with hot new concepts that look a lot like the hot new concepts they just replaced.

Windbags like Dr. John Hayes and pay-for-praise peddlers like Eric Stites of Franchise Business Review (FBR) attend speak at IFA events and greet new franchisors like magic bean sellers greeting rubes on the Boardwalk.

Puffery is one thing, but what Dr. John Hayes, Scott White and BizCom PR are doing here is promoting outright fraud.

My question for franchise industry professionals is:  Why do we let them?

READ The Series “Dr. John Hayes’ Franchise Fraud School & Pay-For-Praise Emporium!”:

Part 1:  Dr. John Hayes & His 12 Amazingly Deceptive Franchises

Part 2: 6 AMAZING Franchise Deceptions of Dr. John Hayes

Part 3:  FASTSIGNS CEO Catherine Monson named Valedictorian, Franchise Fraud School

Part 4:  Dr. John Hayes’ Book Reviews Given an “F” for Fraudulent

Part 5:  FASTSIGNS Franchise Deception Seems, Well, Amazing. Comments?

FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

DOCUMENTS CITED IN THE SERIES:

12 Amazing Franchise Opportunities Sales Flyer (PDF) (selling chapters for the 2018 book)

John Hayes’s Coaching Sheet on Manipulating Amazon: FASTSIGNS (2015)

John Hayes’ Coaching Sheet on Using Shill Amazon Purchases & Reviews (2015)

OTHER FRANCHISE DECEPTION-FOR-DOLLARS POSTS:

FRANCHISE BUSINESS REVIEW Pay-For-Praise

FBR Franchise Business Review Promoting Illegal Earnings Claims?

Are Franchise Business Review Winners Violating the FTC Act?

FRANCHISE BUSINESS REVIEW: Justify or Retract Your Bogus Franchise Award

Dr. John Hayes Named Dickey’s Barbecue Pit one of the 12 Amazing Franchises for 2015.  Here’s how things turned out:

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: The Musical

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH DR. JOHN HAYES & HIS PUBLICATIONS, SCOTT WHITE, BIZCOM PUBLISHING AND/OR ANY OF THE 23 AMAZING FRANCHISES THEY ARE TOUTING? 

PLEASE SHARE A COMMENT BELOW OR EMAIL US IN CONFIDENCE (UnhappyFranchisee@Gmail.Com).

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: Dr. John Hayes, Dr. John Hayes franchise expert, Scott White, Bizcom Press, 12 Amazing Franchises, franchise books, franchise fraud, franchise marketing, bad franchises, FASTSIGNS franchise, franchise scams, fake news, Catherine Monson Fastsigns, Joe Malmuth, United Franchise Group, Robert A. Spuck, Farm Stores Franchising,  Scott Mortier, Dental Fix RX, unhappy franchisee

12 thoughts on “6 AMAZING Franchise Deceptions of Dr. John Hayes

  • March 24, 2018 at 2:46 pm
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    Thank you Sean for once again being one of the only people out there who has been willing to fight the dirty business practices and in many many cases down right thievery that goes on everyday in franchising. It’s maddening to me that there is not more truth being told about franchising and how in the majority of cases it leads to bankrupting good individuals.

  • March 24, 2018 at 5:20 pm
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    A few questions to the author of this article and for everyone on this website who claims that they actually care about existing and potentially new victims of fraudulent franchises.
    – Why statistics based on fraudulent data which tells people that franchises offer safer and more promising business opportunities than regular small businesses was never publicly challenged and is still heavily advertised?
    – Why it is still impossible not only to hold accountable, but even to write reviews of franchise brokers who despite their advertisements and business statements help franchisors to fool prospective business owners to buy franchises which would guarantee to fail?
    – Why this is no way to hold accountable lawyers who were hired and got paid to explain the meaning of franchise agreements and ‘forgot’ to tell to their clients that these agreements violate basic constitutionals rights of franchisees and by signing these agreements people basically waive these rights without knowing it?
    – Why franchise agreements which literally put franchisees into financial slavery are still legal and honorable in courts?
    – Why non-disclosure and non-interference agreements which franchisees are forced to sign in order to terminate contracts and stop being harassed and robed by their franchisors are also legal and honorable in courts?
    – Why there is nobody in this country who is willing to make this matter public and to prevent fraudulent franchisors from claiming new victims?

  • March 24, 2018 at 7:38 pm
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    Anna:

    These are excellent points and, unfortunately, highly valid. There’s not a single, simple answer, but I can tell you that one reason is that franchisors have an organized and well-funded lobbying group called the International Franchise Association. Just as the NRA will fight any gun control measure no matter how reasonable, the IFA is dedicated to fighting and defeating any change in the status quo and any legislation that does diminishes the imbalance of control and power in the franchise relationship, no matter how rational.

    The FTC created The Franchise Rule to try to provide transparency and make critical information available for prospective franchise owners, but the FTC does not have a single person assigned or mechanisms in place for even the most basic enforcement. Civil disputes are hidden under the franchisor-favorable arbitration system and current or former franchisees are often silenced by NDAs or bullying so they can’t even warn those they see about to sign up for their worst nightmares.

    Imagine if automobile manufacturers were subject to no safety or performance requirements, if car owners were afraid to share their bad experiences or negative opinions, and if there were no Consumer Reports, JD Powers nor auto publication willing to put forward any opinion not straight from the automakers brochure? That’s the franchise industry. And it’s only getting worse… a lot worse.

    Franchise statistics: Use the pull-down menu on the right and choose The Franchise Lie. Also check out:
    http://www.franbest.com/insider-secrets-of-franchising/lies-damn-lies-franchise-statistics/
    Guy named Sean Kelly has been trying to expose those bogus stats for years. If you see anyone using those bogus franchise success rate vs. independent business stats please send us the link.

    As for leaving reviews of bad franchise brokers, negligent attorneys, fraudulent franchisors… this is the place. There’s at least one website making these matters public: UnhappyFranchisee.Com. Post comments. Email us. It might take us (me) a while but we will get it posted.

    Unfortunately, franchisees themselves are, at least in part, to blame for letting this situation get this bad, and keep getting worse. Here are some things they can change:

    1) Do real due diligence before you sign, and I don’t mean reading “Be your own boss” BS like Dr. John Hayes and Entrepreneur magazine propaganda. Spend a few grand (no one does) and hire a cynical, grizzled franchisee-focused lawyer to review the FDD and tell you every way you can get screwed if things go wrong. Or go work in one of their franchises for free and see how things really work. Believe me, education is a lot cheaper before you sign than after it goes bad.

    2) Organize. Work together. Demand your rights. Demand fairness. Franchisors organize and spend money to advance their rights. Franchisees generally do neither, and that’s why they’re What’s for Dinner.

    3) If it’s too late and you bought into a loser franchise, don’t be a scumbag and 1) sell it to a bigger fool, or 2) go away quietly without (even anonymously) blowing the whistle and warning others. At the very least, contact me at UnhappyFranchisee[at]Gmail.com. I can tell you how to get me the info in a confidential and untraceable way. And I have never and will never give up a source.

    4) Support this site. I know you’re broke, but help me expose and publicize all the issues this commenter made. The more you give, the more time I can devote to posting, pushing and demanding change. Make a contribution here: http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/support-franchise-fairness/ Or contact me about sponsoring a particular subject or topic.

    Personally, I don’t think things are going to change profoundly through government intervention or legislation… at least not in our lifetime. But there are many, many legitimate franchise companies and ethical franchisors and industry members. My hope is that we can make them see that tolerating deceptive and predatory practices hurts their businesses, reduces the pool of high quality franchise prospects, and damages the reputation of what should be an honorable industry… and decide to put a stop to the worst of the worst. If that’s you, email me ;)

    ADMIN

  • March 26, 2018 at 1:42 pm
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    Franchisees organizing is the key and the only way I see for Franchising to start to straighten out as a whole. Until there is a way for franchisees who are normally barely making it to get real legal representation I doubt much will happen.

    Franchisees need to organize and have a organization that is large enough and has the financial strength to challenge these Franchisors the right way. Because right now it’s pitiful. The Franchisors know that franchisees don’t have and can’t afford the representation nor do they have anywhere close to the resources needed for representation and Franchisors bury these poor souls in our legal system and the vast majority of time never get there day in court because they have to quit because of being totally bankrupt and desperate just to save there family .

  • March 27, 2018 at 2:52 pm
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    Sean, you wrote:

    “In addition to the chapters supplied by the 12 amazing franchises, the book is padded with seemingly generic, possibly recycled articles like so many available for free on the Internet(“Is Franchising Right For You?” “How to Investigate Before You Invest in a Franchise,” “How to Succeed With a Franchise Broker”).”

    No, I disagree with your analysis.

    For example, the chapter “How to Investigate Before You Invest in a Franchise” is very good, has original ideas & has some extensive dialogue with two seasoned franchisor attorneys, Warren Lee Lewis and Cheryl Mullin.

    The chapter is about 25 pages long.

    Here are some of the takeaways:

    1. Ignore talk about the risk of franchising in general & concentrate on the franchise specific risk as shown in their Item 20 and Franchisor’s Financial statement, and other factors.

    2. Review the Franchisor’s Financial statements in the FDD to see how the franchisor is making their money, or if they are even profitable.

    3. Is the franchisor re-investing their profits in the system?

    4. Compare the notes to the financial statements with what is said in Item 1.

    5. Figure out roughly the % of failures from Item 20.

    And there is a lot more good, relevant & useful due diligence tips written in straight forward language.

    In other places, I have said that this chapter is worth the price you paid for the entire book & I will say it again, here.

  • March 27, 2018 at 7:35 pm
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    Michael:

    In the spirit of full disclosure, would you mind disclosing whether you have received compensation, directly or indirectly, for reviewing and/or promoting Dr. John Hayes’ books? Is BizCom, Hayes, or any of these franchisors past or present clients or referral sources for franchise-info or your or Joe Caruso’s coaching or marketing programs?

    I wasn’t aware that you had reviewed this book. I can only guess that your comment was left in anticipation of my scrutinizing or calling you out on it down the road. In the old days, when you and I and Richard Solomon were mixing it up on BlueMauMau, it’s unlikely you would have expressed anything but utter contempt for this book length advertorial disguised as expert guidance. Now (I’m guessing) that you are selling advertising services to the same crowd you used to “scrutinize,” you seem to be saying “Hey, the rest of the book may be filled with falsehoods and deceptions meant to trick people out of their life savings, but hey, 25 out of 202 pages aren’t too bad!”

    I really like the pre-advertising Michael Webster and know that you know what’s what. You now have the perspective to comment on how having something to sell can influence your ability to be honest, forthright, and call BS when it’s the right thing to do. I get it. And I’m not claiming to be holier than all… my candor is made possible, in part, by having nothing to sell to the franchise community, at least not to the bottom-feeders… So… I invite you to share your opinion of the other 175 pages, the fact that its not publicly disclosed that these franchisors wouldn’t have been dubbed “amazing” had their checks not cleared, and that the true authors of these chapters are not honestly disclosed.

    As for the “generic issue,” the BizCom website states “The content of these books features your brand, your industry, and your franchisees. The books are authored by Dr. John P. Hayes, who also provides generic chapters as appropriate.”

    As for the takeaways, “Ignore talk about the risk of franchising in general” is really bad advice. Every franchise puts control and power in the hands of the franchisor. If you want to “Fire your boss!” “Be your own boss!” “Take full control of your life!” Don’t buy a franchise – any franchise. And make damn sure the benefits outweigh the costs and loss of freedom no matter how benevolent the franchisor. Any franchisor company can be sold to new tyrannical owners.

    As for “worth the price you paid for the entire book?” I believe most of the reviewers downloaded it for free or .99… and still overpaid. 25 pages of sound, generic advice do not offset 175 pages of deception.

  • March 27, 2018 at 8:15 pm
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    Sean; Glad to see you are now protecting franchisors from “over paying” for their PR campaigns.

    0. Is this your general view, now: “Don’t buy a franchise – any franchise.”?

    1. Franchise-Info sells marketing to franchisors & suppliers who are using the LinkedIn platform to recruit new franchise owners or make sales.

    2. But, on LinkedIn, we continue to call out unlawful earnings claims & bad franchise broker sales practices.

    Our view is the franchisors with good Item 19s deserve to crowd out franchisors with poor Item 19s.

    Heck, we have even shared on or two of your articles for our LinkedIn audience! We have a fairly large audience, over there.

    3. Here is where I disagree with John on due diligence and have said so. Contacting franchise owners is generally a waste of time. They cannot tell you anything that you can legally rely upon which is outside the FDD.

    There are exceptions: talking to SNO’s would have been useful for the Quiznos investor. But, in general you would be better off thinking about how you are going to make money.

    4. You also make a good point — with 3 of the franchises who talk about earnings — I would have preferred to see this backed up with their Item 19.

    Technically, the FTC has taken the position that these types of earnings discussions with the general press are not unlawful. But, I would not have put them in.

    Having said that, it doesn’t appear to me though, that there is anything wrong with discussion of earnings by Camp Bow Bow — although I am not 100 % sure since there was a rule change in 2018. You can longer just cherry pick numbers, though.

    5. Sean, for the most, these stories are just better PR than most franchisors put out.

    But, I wouldn’t rely upon any of the information to make a buying decision — but, the story might make me look at the franchisor’s FDD. (John’s title is pure legal puffery, in my view.)

    That is why we have always done — analyze the opportunity looking at all the information in the FDD.

    6. 2 years ago, we helped John market his 1st book on LinkedIn, which is how I happened to have an Google alert for the title.

    I bought the Kindle version this year, for $7 as I recall. Then 5 weeks later, there was a promo & I could have got the Kindle version for free! I have also bought several other of his books, including Take the Fear Out of Franchising.

    (None of the 12 franchisors are clients of ours, except for FASTSIGNS which has been a client before John’s 1st book even came out.)

    All the best, Mike

  • March 28, 2018 at 2:48 am
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    Michael wrote: “Is this your general view, now: ‘Don’t buy a franchise – any franchise.’?”

    No, not at all.

    My general views are “Don’t buy from a franchisor who is humbled and honored to receive an award that cost him $5,000.”

    “Don’t defend a ‘best-selling’ author who didn’t write his book and whose reviews are written by someone named Uri Cherkanoff.”

    AND

    “Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are greater than your own.”

    (OK I stole the last one from Nelson Algren, A Walk on the Wild Side)

  • March 28, 2018 at 8:20 am
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    Sean;

    Funny. As usual.

    One more due diligence tip:

    “One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken.

    Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear.

    But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider.” Sky Masterson

  • March 28, 2018 at 9:29 am
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    That’s a great quote.

    BizCom Press has a video on YouTube promoting “30 Amazing Franchise Opportunities in 10 Growth Industries for Entrepreneurs”

    Next to a picture of best-selling author John Hayes, the description states “John Hayes’s latest e-book in his ‘Amazing Franchises’ series, ’30 Amazing Franchise Opportunities in 10 Growth Industries for Entrepreneurs,’ should have YOUR story in it.”

    https://youtu.be/77VSGMikx3A

    SPOILER ALERT One of the ten emerging franchise industries is that of organic ear-infusion spas featuring the concepts John Hayes’ calls AMAZING:

    Eardrum Envy
    Sky Masterson’s Original Cidershot EarSpa
    Pinot’s Palette & More! (Expanded so suburban women can simultaneously drink wine, make bad art & get cider shot in their ears)
    Earrigation-2-U (Mobile earshot cleaning featuring a choice of 16 gluten-free, organic, fair trade fruit juices and olfactory-themed vans. Work from home! Meet the requirements of the E-1 immigration Visa program. Mobile franchises are so hot right now!)

  • March 28, 2018 at 9:37 am
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    Of course, Sky Masterson -despite his father’s warning — does get an ear full of cider. He falls for a dame.

  • March 28, 2018 at 1:38 pm
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    I am going to add “Ear Cider” to my lexicon as my new favorite phrase. Thank you for that.

    Michael, you still haven’t addressed the ethics of:

    1) Passing a book of paid advertorials & paid endorsements off as a legitimate, objective book featuring franchises vetted for merit alone. FTC forbids undisclosed paid endorsements. You were all over Purvin for granting Cuppy’s an award that was less dishonest than this.

    2) Implying (when not stating directly) that the book was written by the book’s author when the core contents were actually sales copy provided by the franchise marketers themselves. (In the Dickey’s chapter, they inadvertently switch from third person to first person, as if Dr. J wrote “At Dickey’s, we know Barbecue!” or “Who wouldn’t Love an ‘I Love Sauce’ T-shirt!”)

    3) Dr. Hayes’ revelation that his best-selling status comes from violating Amazon Terms of Service by asking and “begging” friends, family, & associates to download and positively rate his books… and encouraging his book advertisers to do the same? He and BizCom put FASTSIGNS and others at risk of being exposed and shamed (if that’s possible in franchising) not to mention claims of fraudulent inducement for deceptive advertising practices.

    Do you truly think Dr. John Hayes believes that these 23 Franchise opportunities (including one that’s out of business) are AMAZING?

    If he doesn’t, he is lying.

    If you want to help him, don’t make excuses for him. Explain to him that he’s got to go back to lying a little more subtly, a little more masterfully, just like we all did in the good old days!

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