This week Greg shares some tips and tools that will make your next franchisee conference a great one.
How to Run a Truly Great Franchisee Conference
While I don’t usually talk about our work with specific clients, I do occasionally share examples of best franchising practice, such as the recent Narellan Pools conference held at Waikiki Beach in Hawaii.
Yes, great location (with great ukulele shops). But this is not what made it a great conference. In fact, the program ran from early morning until after 5pm for three straight days. And refreshment breaks barely allowed time to eat, let alone get out on the beach. Furthermore, all sessions were held in an internal room with no windows or natural light whatsoever!
Just before the conference started I was concerned about 70 pool builders couped up for three days in a boring function room while the warm sun, amazing surf and beautiful sounds beckoned outside. “You are going to have trouble keeping them in session,” I whispered to Narellan’s CEO, Chris Meyer. To my surprise, he just gave me a knowing smile and whispered back, “That won’t be a problem, you’ll see.”
He was right. Not only did all the franchisees willingly attend all sessions, so did members of their family – partners and, in many cases, sons and daughters too. In every way it was a great success.
So what was their secret?
Focus, focus, focus
There was an enormous amount of planning around session goals and how these would link back to the conference theme and business strategy. As a speaker, I had five separate briefing meetings on the company’s strategy and how the conference would support this. There was no doubt that this was a serious business conference.
The conference organisers also clearly understood the company’s goals and culture. They went way beyond the usual logistics and were totally focused on helping the participants enjoy the sessions and helping the speakers achieve the conference goals. Their flexible, “can-do” manner was inspiring.
There were a lot of down-to-Earth interactive sessions, many run by the franchisor team, suppliers and franchisees. The content focused on personal development, franchisee profit maximisation and the power of collaboration. The conference MC clearly understood the company’s goals and managed to cleverly link all sessions back to these.
There were relaxed, family-friendly networking sessions every evening, including the formal Gala dinner, which included no less than 20 awards for excellence in business management, sales performance and franchisee citizenship. In many cases, kids proudly came on stage to accept an award with their mum and dad.
You could sum it up by saying everyone understood their focus for the conference was to learn how to run a better business and also to contribute to a wholesome franchising culture. While many franchisees stayed on a few extra days to have a holiday, there was no confusing this with their serious, though enjoyable, conference experience. You might like to reflect on these points when planning your next event.
We have an entire session on creating successful franchise conferences and meetings on day one of our Profitable Partnerships Boot Camps. You’ll walk away with knowledge about:
- What franchisees want from meetings and conferences
- Techniques to involve everyone without losing control
- Room set-ups that deliver superior results
If you haven’t yet registered and are interested in attending, please do so and join us this year! An increase in demand by franchisors around the globe for our programs means this is going to be the last chance your team will have to work with me in this way for some time.
I hope to see you soon in Dallas or Denver! We’re confident that Boot Camp will prove to be an investment you’ll be glad you made.
Franchise Relationships Institute
P.S. If you are looking for outstanding franchise speakers and trainers for your next event, contact Katrina at SPEAK! She has carefully selected speakers who understand franchising, are experts in their fields and, in keeping with her ‘No diva’ policy, are service oriented and easy to work with. SPEAK! is a huge asset for any franchise system in the process of putting together a memorable and educational event for their franchisees.