What I learned at the IFA 2016 Annual Convention

The world of franchising is an ever-changing place. Because of that, it demands flexibility and resilience from business owners, franchisees, investors and the like.

And as the industry continues to grow — an expected 1.7 percent in 2016 according to the International Franchise Association — that’s only going to become more true.

That is one of the first things I learned while attending the 2016 IFA Annual Convention in San Antonio. At some point in 2016, that 1.7 percent growth forecast will bring the total number of U.S. franchises to 795,932.

With that growth, also comes an overwhelming amount of information regarding franchise relations. Information that did not lack abundance during the IFA Convention.

Though the wealth of information took me by surprise, it did offer assurance that we’re doing most things righthere at Image One USA.

As a relatively new franchise system, with a little more than five years in the industry, we had a lot of questions before we launched our affiliate program. And while we gained valuable insight from our franchise consultants, there was always a small voice in the back of our minds that continued to question the process.

That voice seems to be satisfied today and it’s thanks, in part, to the lessons we learned at IFA 2016.

Being in a place with thousands of franchise experts, business leaders and franchisors like us was such a reassuring feeling. We weren’t the only ones questioning our franchise strategy, and in reality, we learned that our strategy was actually well thought out and effective.

However, we did take some great ideas away from the IFA Convention that we feel can improve our franchise relations, specifically when it comes to supporting our franchisees. Which, in the end, is one of our top goals.

That motivation boils down to a simple theory. To develop a strong franchise system, it’s important to support the business goals of our franchisees — that’s an approach we’ve always taken, and an area we learned we can continue to improve.

So while we may be doing 80 percent of things right (our general breakdown), we thought, what a difference that extra 20 percent could make?

Our plan moving forward, in order to start tapping into that additional 20 percent, is to develop some internal programs, like franchise discovery days, that will help optimize the sales and discovery processes we conduct with prospective franchisees. The goal with all of this will be to increase our lead generation, as well as give us the tools and knowledge we need to nurture those relationships as we move forward in our Image One USA business partnership.

Tim Conn
Co-Founder and Director of Operations of Image One USA