Franchisor Conferences – Creating Value
As franchise systems grow, many franchisors organise and hold conferences for their network as a means to share knowledge and skills as well as opportunities to reconnect with and reinvigorate their network. Opportunities to promote those who have achieved milestones and encourage competition within the network are other advantages.
Over the years I have seen some franchisors make this a bi-annual event, annual event or even more frequently during the year. These conferences may be supported by franchisor “road shows” and/or mini conferences on certain topics and/or via online learning opportunities and resources.
Given the time, resourcing and cost that goes into organising and holding a conference, as well as the cost and time out of the business for franchisees, decisions around conferences are arguably a very important consideration, and what is needed or appropriate will vary depending on the type, size and characteristics of the system and network.
Saying this, just some of the factors to consider when organising your next conference include:
1. What does the Franchise Agreement provide around the organising and attending of conferences. Franchise Agreements will generally deal with requirements and/or disclosures around attendance and costs franchisees may required to pay and/or contribute;
2. Development of the conference program. To get the most excitement about attending and the best value from attendance (keeping in mind the time and cost investment for those attending), I suggest months in advance it is a good idea to speak with:
- Various of the franchisor’s departments about any new developments and/or issues this could be an opportunity to address; and
- Franchise Advisor committee (if such exist) or various franchisees to find out what is most needed to reach the network’s goals;
- Your lawyers to see if there is any material that should be provided and/or voting take place to meet and/or address any Code and/or other legal requirements. (For example voting with respect to audits and/or provision of Marketing Fund information); and
3. Supplier opportunities. Consideration should be given to speaking with suppliers to the franchise network. These parties may be able to present on topics relevant to franchisees and/or even promote new developments. Otherwise they could be interested in subsidising all or certain parts of the conference, and/or sponsoring any awards in consideration of their relationship with the franchise network and/or promoting their brand and/or products to franchisees.
Given the time and money investment, that often people need to travel and reduce operations or put someone else in charge, as much advance notice as possible should help lift attendance. Arguably, this also shows respect by recognising others busy schedules and enabling them sufficient time to plan and make arrangements, as well as giving franchisors greater opportunities to negotiate the best terms with any suppliers.
Please note this brief update, does not purport to be comprehensive advice relevant to your circumstances. Consequently specific legal advice for each of your circumstances should be obtained first before taking or not taking any action in respect to this area.