Franchise meetings and conferencesAs part of a franchise, one of the biggest benefits that you will receive is access to the regional meetings and annual conferences that most franchisors run. As with most areas of support, every franchise is different, and the extent of these meetings depends on the size of your network and the way that things are done in that network.
The thing that most franchise networks offer, regardless of shape or size, is an annual conference. This is often used by franchisors as an opportunity to update franchisees about relevant changes to the market and the operations. Many networks allow accredited suppliers to exhibit at their conferences, or provide specialist seminars for the franchisees. There is often a motivational side to these events as well, with a range of awards offered to both new and existing franchisees.
In my experience, when a franchise network has a reasonable level of coverage, it looks to supplement its annual conference with regional meetings. This allows a more regular contact between the head office team and the franchisees, and gives the franchisor a chance to understand what is going on at ground level. It goes without saying that the regional meetings are, by their very nature, smaller meetings than the annual conferences, due to the smaller catchment areas.
From the events that I’ve been invited to, I’ve noticed a difference between the tone of these two types of meetings. Generally, the regional meetings will be a ‘meeting’ style arrangement, with perhaps a roundtable, and a more formal agenda with participation expected from all attendees. Conversely, the annual conferences are more of an event, with theatre / caberet style seating, and guest speakers will provide the content for the conference. Sometimes, there are breakout sessions, where franchisees can choose which subjects they wish to learn more about. There is also a significant social element to most conferences, with the dinner and awards presentations giving franchisees a chance to get to know each other and share best practice.
The above is an extract from The Franchising Handbook, which is out now. Follow this link to order and be one of the first to read it!