I’ve just finished with the 2011 printing franchise convention schedule and I have had my fill of Las Vegas. This year, five of the franchise events were in that city and that was way more than enough for me. I’m looking forward to next year when the conventions will be in places like Baltimore and Orlando. Despite the venue, one thing I did notice was an upbeat attitude, even in light of the economic mess caused mostly by ideological hard liners and an incompetent Congress. I sat through many awards presentations where franchisees from the various systems were honored, not only for huge gross sales, but also for sales growth—sometimes as much as 35%. There was very little doom and gloom at any of the events. Frankly, that didn’t surprise me. I long ago realized that the franchisees who show up at these conferences are, for the most part, the ones who run good businesses. They take advantage of the franchise support, industry resources, and shared peer knowledge. I’d venture to say that the majority of them are in that top quartile of top performers almost every industry study singles out. The latest NAPL report on the quick and small commercial industry segment clearly outlines the huge gap between top performers and poor performers. The report, sponsored by Xerox, found that “individual compensation varied widely between the segment leaders—sales up 16.4% and compensation at 18.2%—and those in the bottom 20%, where sales fell 6.8% and compensation was in negative numbers (-1.3%). I would imagine that those folks in the bottom 20% are not so upbeat. I also bet that few, if any of them, were at any of the franchise conferences I attended this year—despite being the ones who most need the support and education these events offer.