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Engaging Multi-Unit Franchisees Includes Advocacy, Education And Access

Stephen J. Caldeira, CFE, International Franchise Association President & CEO

Stephen J. Caldeira, CFE, International Franchise Association President & CEO

According to FRANdata, 52 percent of all franchises are now multi-unit operations. Additionally, the top 50 multi-unit franchisees increased the number of units they operated by 10 percent between 2005 and 2007, leading the industry in growth during the recession and continually expanding when access to capital was more difficult for operators without a proven track record to obtain.

We also recognize that within the industry itself, companies increasingly seek multi-unit owners because of their operational, brand and cross-industry experience (in some cases), business sophistication and networks. These franchisees represent some of the best success stories and entrepreneurial spirit in franchising.

Franchisees are truly the best spokespeople and advocates for our industry and IFA has witnessed first-hand the positive impact that franchisees have had on the organization since inviting franchisees to join in 1993.

As you undoubtedly heard at our convention in Las Vegas, it is time to push this franchisee recruitment and engagement initiative to the next level. Given this enhanced focus, it is imperative that IFA build its franchisee membership base and better engage those members already within the association.

Given this mission, here are a few great reasons why multi-unit franchisees should be engaged in the IFA.

Advocacy

IFA’s Government Relations & Public Policy staff is hard at work each and every day protecting, promoting and enhancing the franchise industry on Capitol Hill and in the states. We can help serve as your eyes and ears on important issues such as health care, taxes and workforce policy that impact your franchises.

However, franchisees are the true voice of our industry. Getting franchisees engaged as active participants in the political process, advocating on issues of importance to your business and maintaining open relationships with your elected officials is critically important to the future of our industry.

The easiest and best ways for multi-unit franchisees to get involved in IFA’s advocacy programs are by becoming a member of Franchise Congress or attending IFA’s Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C., Sept. 15-18.

Franchise Congress is IFA’s grassroots advocacy program that helps make your voice heard. As a multi-unit franchisee, you need to tell your story to your elected officials and educate them on issues important to the continued success of your business. By writing a letter on important policy and legislative issues or visiting with your members of Congress in the district through a meeting facilitated by the IFA, you can help ensure that we have strong congressional and local allies who understand the important role that franchising plays in the economy and how certain policies truly impact your bottom line.

In addition, by attending IFA’s Public Affairs Conference, you have the opportunity to meet directly with your representatives on Capitol Hill. The goal of the Public Affairs Conference is to use our collective voice to educate lawmakers about franchising and its proven, structured and scalable business model to create an environment that better enables you to deliver the best possible results for your business.

Education

One of the most critical components to success is pro-active education efforts to improve your business. IFA recognizes this important role of continuing education in franchising and has recently placed a greater focus on our educational offerings for multi-unit franchisees. IFA provides information to all members on franchise development, national and state policies, international expansion, financial management, franchisor and franchisee relations, and many other topics important to the industry. Armed with cutting-edge information and strategies as an IFA member, franchisees will be better positioned to succeed in today’s economy and positively contribute to your communities.

We recognize the challenges franchisees are facing every day to grow and expand their businesses. These educational resources are intended to help multi-unit franchisees develop strategies that will continue to drive profits to your bottom line. Of note, we have recently created more relevant content for franchisees at the IFA Annual Convention and Public Affairs Conference. IFA also has plans to expand the Certified Franchise Executives program to include more programing for franchisees. In addition, we have increased franchisee-specific editorial content in every issue of IFA’s Franchising World magazine and more relevant content in IFA Insider and IFA SmartBrief for franchisees as part of the educational process.

Access

IFA provides multi-unit franchisees the unique access to both 12,000 of their franchisee peers, but also nearly 1,300 franchisor members and more than 700 supplier members. IFA offers a wide variety of networking opportunities during IFA events such as the Annual Convention, the Public Affairs Conference and more than 30 Franchise Business Network meetings across the country which are conducted on a quarterly basis.

Multi-unit franchisees have the chance to engage not only with their peers to share best practices, but also with their own franchisors, potential vendors and franchisors of additional concepts as they look to grow their businesses. From restaurants to professional services, home care and educational franchises, IFA offers access to a host of different business lines and brands to engage with as franchisees look to expand.

Each of these events offers franchisees a chance to meet with the some of the best-known leaders in the franchise industry to benefit from their decades of experience. Networking at these events within the IFA provides an incredible opportunity to gain insight into industry best practices first-hand from seasoned franchise executives. While networking with others in the franchise community, meeting potential customers and making new business contacts, multi-unit franchisees can take advantage of these exciting engagement opportunities.

These advocacy, educational programs, conferences and networking opportunities the association offers are designed to help you grow your franchise business. As we look toward the future of the IFA and the industry, it is my hope that multi-unit franchisees understand the benefits of joining and engaging with our organization that provides exclusive networking and educational opportunities to help them succeed.

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