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Supplier Forum Growing, Key Instrument of IFA Success

IFA has 661 supplier members whose total is estimated to grow to 700 by year end.

International Franchise Association Supplier Forum members continue to play an integral role in the success of the organization, while enjoying the many opportunities available to them. The benefits delivered by the forum members to the association, and received by them from the IFA, are demonstrated by their significant participation in networking, sponsorship, political advocacy and educational opportunities.

Today, IFA has 661 supplier members whose total is estimated to grow to 700 by year end. Supplier members are among the key leaders in the organization’s success, including as members of the board, chairmen of key committees and in driving the incredible success of fundraising for the benefit of FranPAC, IFA’s political action committee.

Few of our members are inactive, attesting to the benefits they receive from participation. More than 1,400 attendees at this year’s Las Vegas convention were employed by suppliers; suppliers expended nearly $400,000 in convention sponsorships and $1.2 million in convention exhibits. They are leaders in FranPAC fundraising which recently broke the significant mark of raising more than $1 million per election cycle, and is now aiming for a goal of $2 million. Supplier dues account for more than $1.4 million of the IFA budget.

The best evidence of the value to supplier members of IFA participation is in their retention rate. More than 87 percent of supplier members renew their membership in the organization.

Much of their participation flows through the Supplier Forum Advisory Board. It operates through groups whose role is to increase the opportunities for member participation, and improve the benefits to suppliers of IFA membership. These groups include Seminars, Business Solutions Roundtables, Membership and Communications. Each is tasked with continuing to provide the excellent work and opportunities of the groups that preceded them.

Seminars

Led by DLA Piper Partner Stuart Hershman, members of this group, assisted by IFA Senior Dir., Development & Member Services Paul Rocchio, CFE, assure a steady stream of topics for the Supplier Forum’s WednesdayWise Webinar series, as well as for next year’s New Orleans convention. Recent topics for the webinars have touched on topical industry issues including the impact of the Affordable Care Act in the franchise community, and the use of digital marketing in an integrated marketing campaign. Webinar attendance is up, with more than 100 participating at the most recent webinar, indicative of the success of this group’s ability to perceive the needs and interests of its members.

Next year’s convention topics provided by this group include “Cutting Edge Ways to Reduce Costs and Increase Efficiency in the Opening of New Outlets” and “How Much Franchisee Support is the Right Amount?”

In short, this group’s focus is assuring that members are provided practical business advice with respect to the latest issues facing franchising and the businesses dependent upon the franchise business model.

Business Solutions Roundtables Group

The Business Solutions Roundtable Group is headed by Franwise Pres. Mary Ann O’Connell, CFE, and has the important task of coordinating the roundtables for the upcoming convention. The roundtables are among the highest-rated events during the annual convention. Typically more than 70 topics are provided, from among more than 200 proposed.

Supplier Forum members facilitate discussions at these roundtables, which allow convention attendees to benefit from the advice of their colleagues facing similar challenges and opportunities in today’s business environment. The breadth of topics typically extend from such macro issues as franchise development and the economy’s impact on franchising, to more narrow topics such as parent and affiliate franchise disclosure document disclosures.

Membership

The Membership Group is led by Citrin, Cooperman & Company Partner and Franchise Services Div. Chairman Aaron Chaitovsky, CFE. To avoid overlap with the IFA’s Membership Committee, whose focus is on generating new members, this group’s focus is on maximizing membership value for Supplier Forum members. One of the items under development by this group is a roadmap for achieving the best of what IFA has to offer to be included with invoices to new supplier members.

Communications

The Communications Group’s goal is to provide timely and clear information to supplier members on matters of particular interest to suppliers. Fish Consulting LLC CEO/Managing Partner Lorne Fisher, CFE, once again leads this group. To facilitate communications, the group has assigned a committee member to each of the other groups to assure that developments among those groups are timely disseminated to the membership. The group is also working to obtain additional supplier support on state legislative issues, and development of a newsletter for IFA supplier members.
The IFA, through its Supplier Forum members, continues to expand the benefits and opportunities of membership, and to assure that the business interests of franchise owners are protected both in Washington and at the state level. The efforts of its members reflect their enthusiasm for the organization and the benefits to be derived from it. Supplier Forum members will continue to be instrumental in the growth and success of the IFA in the next year, as they have been in years past.

Michael Joblove leads the litigation practice of South Florida-based Genovese Joblove & Battista, a 40 lawyer firm with offices in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Joblove chairs the IFA’s Supplier Forum Advisory Board and is a member of the IFA Executive Committee, as well as its board of directors. Find him at http://fransocial.franchise.org/Home/ via the directory.

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