I love doing business with other Indies. That's why I was so glad to find David at the Mail & More franchise location in my new hometown in suburban North Carolina. My office and home are co-located in a rural area and the post office is quite a distance away. Mail & More is two doors down from the local grocery store so it's a cinch to shop for my family, and mail for my business without having to make two stops.
Sadly, those days are over. When I went to see David and his staff today, I was met with a darkened store, a locked door and a note in the window. It seems David was unable to find a buyer for his franchise. He was not able to make payments to the franchisor, so he had to close his doors.
This could happen to any Indie. Whether a franchisee or an Indie who owns both the business and the brand, often times we are a few payments away from a darkened store, a locked door and a note on the window.
At times like this, I am reminded of how much we need to support and encourage one another. So here's the tip: Pick up the phone or send an email to an Indie who is going through a rough time. Boost his or her spirits. Maybe even share a little about how you came through a tough time in your business, and are now all the better for the experience. Give someone a reason to continue seeking after the economic independence that is so important to us as Indies.
Next time, it could be your turn. Or mine.