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The value that is created in bringing franchisees together, whether for a regional meeting or an annual convention, should not be underestimated. In fact, I firmly believe that an annual convention is a critical component in the success of a franchise network for a number of reasons. Conventions are part of the ‘glue’ that holds a franchise network together as it reinforces all the values the franchisor has to offer.
Conventions should be a mixture of information, motivation, communication, recreation and inspiration.
A good keynote speaker can inform and motivate franchisees. The workshop sessions at a conference should be designed specifically to enable franchisees to enhance their knowledge in specific areas. In addition to the knowledge obtained in the workshops, franchisees can learn a lot from other franchisees as they have ‘hands on experience. This type of information is not readily available to an independent businessperson. Many franchisees find that they have a renewed passion for their business after attending a convention and seeing what other franchisees do and what can be achieved.
In some cases, being a franchisee can be an isolating experience. Although some franchises may have franchised units in close proximity to each other, there are many where the franchisees are located quite far apart. Consequently, the only opportunity a franchisee has to see other franchisees is at a meeting or convention. Seeing large numbers of franchisees help reinforce the value of the franchise and helps to inspires and energize the franchisees. It is part of the ‘bigger picture’. Holding regular franchisee meetings is even more important for franchisors that have franchisees spread out geographically.
Holding recreational events such as golfing, river rafting tennis etc. helps forge stronger relationships between franchisees and also between franchisees and the franchisor’s support team. People get to know each other on a different level and this can prove invaluable in the future. Spousal events are also extremely valuable as it some cases it introduces the spouse to the franchise organization for the first time and a good experience can reinforce their spouse’s investment in the franchise.