Write The Wrongs

The story of how one Entrepreneur columnist crashed and burned when he bought a franchise.

Tears running freely, my head fell into my hands. The steel gray February day was fitting for the moment as Kathy (my partner, investor and significant other) and I, after three weeks of spirited lament and seven months of struggle, agreed to swing the axe across the neck of Auto Exam, our franchised business.

The doors were closing for good. My pride and ego were suffering, and my desire to continue the struggle was strong, but Quickbooks told me a sad story: For the next year, things were only going to get worse. Just before dusk, I called Ricky, our only employee, and gave him the proverbial apologetic handshake-effective two weeks later.

Publicizing this manifesto of personal failure is a bit of an embarrassment, but the years since have healed my wounds. I've decided it's time to help you avoid making the same mistakes.

Todd D. Maddocks is a franchise attorney and small-business consultant who is presently the CEO of The Worldlink Group, as well as Entrepreneur's "Franchise Focus" columnist. You can reach him at TMaddocks@aol.com.

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This article was originally published in the January 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Write The Wrongs.

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