I don’t know if this is a harbinger of things to come, or whether it’s just someone whose franchise dreams died, but yesterday at the Flatiron Crossing Mall in Broomfield, Colorado, I was struck by the rather alarming sign on the door of the local Subway franchise, as shown to the right.
As it happens, I had been in that particular Subway franchise and had a conversation with the owner about his experience as a franchise business owner. He was, like so many people are, retired from another profession and had invested in the Subway franchise because he thought it would be a sure fire way to make money and have a half-time job as he went into his retirement. As I recall he wasn’t that old (late 40s?) but it’s a very common story in the industry.
Problem was, as he explained, he didn’t quite make enough to be able to hire other people to work: by doing the work himself, he avoided taxes, health care and wages, so it was a cross he was bearing, working 60+ hours/week trying to keep the business afloat.
As the sign attests, he didn’t succeed and the business is not afloat, it’s down in Davey Jones locker with all the other failed businesses and franchise opportunities.
What most struck me was how little he owed: $2919.00:
That was enough, however, that when he missed six weeks of tax payments to the City, Broomfield seized the business and shut him down.
Peeking inside, it’s clear everything’s been moved around and inventoried, and indeed, the auction house that’s going to sell off hardware and equipment to try and recoup the lost tax payments has a business card on the window:
Certainly, one company’s failure is another company’s opportunity.
I see this as a cautionary tale and can’t but feel for the owner of this particular Subway sandwich shop. He went into it with his dreams and hopes for a brighter tomorrow and somehow, year after year, the dream slipped away, it became harder and harder to make ends meet, and finally, one day, he just didn’t open up shop again. He walked away. And then The Man came and for want of less than $3000 in taxes, took away any chance for him to resurrect it and come out ahead.
With that in mind, how’s your business doing? Are you realistically, pragmatically assessing its state, or are you living in dreamland as your dreams slip through your fingers too?