November Franchising World 2010
If your franchise convention or conference remains on the drawing board, you’ll find plenty of advice in this issue of Franchising World on steps to take to ensure a successful event. Striving to provide readers the latest in franchise convention best practices, this article answers many of the questions International Franchise Association membercompany representatives, franchisees, suppliers and others often ask about the benefits of attending the association’s annual convention.
Whether a newcomer to the world of franchising or a mature brand, your company has many opportunities within the Feb. 13-16 IFA Annual Convention to improve bottom line results. Take advantage of the knowledge imparted by industry experts who will share their successful techniques and perspectives during numerous educational sessions and enjoy networking with colleagues who represent some of the leading franchise concepts. Send your team to the industry’s premier event in Las Vegas to take advantage of a selection of more than 30 educational sessions provided in summits, super sessions and concurrent workshops.
The state of the U.S. economy and how to best operate in it remain high points of interest for those running a business and especially for franchise small-business owners who are responsible for the livelihoods of their employees. Depending on your news source, some journalists say the U.S. economy is in recovery while others predict stagnation. Businesses, especially small ones, are still suffering from the challenges of an uneven economy, and franchise businesses like many others are watching their dollars closely. Business trips, conferences and retreats that might have been routinely scheduled in the past are now carefully scrutinized for value.
However, wise investments that help to raise customer awareness and loyalty, build for prolonged success, uncover untapped financial resources, recruit and maintain employees, as well as provide analysts’ insights about the legislative and regulatory climate affecting franchising, are prominent among the business-enhancing benefits of participating in IFA’s Annual Convention. Everyone benefits regardless of job title or area of expertise. In fact, the more attendees your company sends, the higher the discount on registration fees.
Select topics that are critical to your management’s effective operation. You’ll find lots of them on the convention’s agenda. Consider these selections: Define and Empower Your system, International Expansion Strategies, Franchisee Access to Credit and General Session keynote speakers who will provide insightful advice on operating and advancing your franchise business during a challenging environment.
"For the past 10 years, I have not missed attending the IFA Convention and can frankly say many of the successful programs we’ve rolled out in our brand originated from the countless ideas learned at those meetings," says Mr. Rooter Corp. Pres. Mary Kennedy Thompson, CFE. "Whether it’s attending concurrent sessions, sharing best practices at the roundtables, or one-on-one networking, each time I come away from the IFA Convention with information and ideas that help us improve our business. It is a must-attend event for those serious about franchising."
The Alternative Board Pres. and CEO Jason Zickerman, CFE, agrees. "I attend many meetings throughout the year that I believe are valuable to both my business and myself, none of which can be measured at the same value as the International Franchise Association’s annual convention. "
The ever-popular concurrent sessions enable convention attendees to become more knowledgeable of practical steps that can move their systems forward, including discussions of financial management for non-financial managers, franchisee profitability, best practices in training, multi-unit system growth strategies and negotiating non-traditional development deals.
Friendly Competition, Fabulous Connections
While actively engaging in the educational programs, don’t miss the opportunity of being in the company of some of the most dynamic and knowledgeable people in the franchising industry. Networking and fun gatherings offer attendees numerous opportunities to speak with corporate staff and franchisees representing brands that are similar or vastly different from your own organization. While visiting the fun-and food-focused Taste of Franchising, receptions or Evening Gala, attendees won’t need cell phones, online connections or other Internet mobile devices to catch up with the movers and shakers shaping the franchising industry. These sessions become the focus of super activity when it comes to the level of business experience, the willingness of leaders in the field to share proven methods of business-generating strategies and the ongoing exchange of bottom line-lifting tactics.
Your attendance allows you to enjoy "one-on-one" time with fellow industry executives in a relaxed and cordial environment with time and resources to solidly concentrate on enlightening conversations. It’s also the perfect place to gather those acquaintances and peers who might otherwise be difficult to meet for conference calls or meetings. And what better way to learn what your competition is doing? A stroll through the Exhibit Hall during the convention may pave the way for exchanges with members of IFA’s Supplier Forum exhibiting their products and services designed to boost your operation, and may also foster discussions of expanding, merging or otherwise restructuring your company.
"I have consistently come away from the convention with ideas, strategies, and relationships where my return on investment has made this the single most important event for me to attend each year," says Zickerman. "I have only started calculating what the conference has done for me financially in the last several years. The most recent evaluation has shown that the convention has saved me, made me, or prevented me from mistakes totaling well over several hundreds of thousands of dollars. I will never miss this event."
There are other meetings and forums vying for your attention, but the IFA Annual Conference, day-by-day, function-by-function and contact-by-contact will consistently deliver the results that will make a positive difference to your franchise.
One industry executive sums it up this way: "I have never left an IFA Convention without new ideas for our franchise system that have lead to measurable results," says Abrakadoodle Remarkable Art Education Pres. Rosemarie Hartnett, CFE. "This meeting brings together the most senior and experienced executives in franchising, presenting on all the key drivers that build profitable franchise systems from legal, business issues, development, support and training areas, and more. The atmosphere promotes a very open sharing of information that extends well beyond the conference through the relationships formed with some of the best in franchising."
Invest in your franchise business and get maximum ROI by attending IFA’s 51st Annual Convention, "Building the Future Together," Feb.13-16 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Visit www.franchise . org , "Events" and "IFA’s Annual Convention" today for program and registration information or call IFA Senior Dir., Meetings Anne Poodiack at 202-662-0773 or firstname.lastname@example.org .