Wow – what an experience. Despite some very real, legislative threats confronting the franchise business model, IFA Annual Convention proved that franchising is alive and well in 2015. A record number of franchisors, franchisees, and suppliers all gathered in Las Vegas in mid-February to do exactly what the Annual Convention’s theme suggested – Connect, Innovate and Evolve. Here are five key takeaways that The FRM Team took away from the Convention:
- FAN engagement and FRAN PAC donations are a MUST! – The IFA and its members are truly standing up to a battery of existential threats posed by legislators and organized labor at both State and Local, as well as Federal levels – the IFA’s Franchise Action Network (FAN) is mobilizing rapidly, with member support from franchisees and with more and more members contributing to FRAN PAC. These upward trends are essential, if we are to continue empowering franchising to have its collective voice heard by legislators and protect franchising as a way of doing business, for brands of all types and sizes.
- Focused Franchisors are looking to make moves – The mood at the IFA Convention was upbeat. Franchisor executives from start-up, emerging and legacy brands alike, were all very engaged during roundtables, concurrent sessions and exhibit hall events. All franchisors were seriously looking for better ways to operate and manage their businesses while growing their brands with tools and systems that assure scalability.
- A Major focus in 2015 on youth and diversity– As co-founder of the Pro Athlete Franchise Initiative (PAFI) and a founding member/past first vice chair of IFA’s Diversity Institute, I am proud of many recent strides with regard to diversity in franchising. This year I was also fortunate to serve as the moderator of a concurrent session devoted to discussing successful athletes within franchising – the response to which was amazing! Additionally, I proudly participated in the emergence of the NextGen initiative, which has created a tremendous buzz, as dozens of youthful franchising prospects and executives expressed their thoughts and informed opinions on the future of franchising. This NextGen initiative ties nicely with IFA’s longstanding engagement with DECA.
- The Franchise Relationship Management space in transition…is booming – During the past quarter alone, the industry has seen several changes within FRM’s competitive set, i.e. eMax morphing into Naranga, FranConnect acquiring Process Peak, Serent Capital assuming an equity and management position in FranConnect… all pointing to one thing: Franchisors now more than ever, are in search of management solutions that foster sustainable growth. At FRM we continue to perfect “best in class” solutions, that feature open APIs, unparalleled and personalized Outlook integration and stable and steady-handed resources, provided by our parent company, ARKE Systems. Our Convention booth, themed, “Navigate the Maze” was a big hit in the Expo Hall. – Dozens of attendees stopped by to sit for a Matrix-themed caricature. We had a great time with all booth visitors and are currently very busy delivering demos for several of those visitors… We’d also like to officially congratulate Lynette McKee, CFE and CEO/Managing Partner of McKeeCo Services, LLC, winner of the Microsoft Band that our booth visitors entered to win!
- The Franchise Industry craves better technology… FRM is poised to deliver! Microsoft Dynamics CRM is annually ranked as “best in class” with over 40,000 global organizations utilizing this software. FRM is the only Microsoft Solutions Provider dedicated to customizing Microsoft Dynamics for franchising. More than 25 plus years of franchising experience is built into FRM and it is designed to meet and exceed the high standards that franchising executives demand, but have struggled to find.