Driving Franchise Profitability — FCA NSW Conference

We attended the Franchise Council of Australia’s NSW / ACT State Conference recently. The theme was “Driving Franchise Profitability”.

Craig James, Chief Equities Economist with Commsec forced many of the participants to rethink their view on economists. Not only was Craig entertaining he was also understandable! He reiterated the need for all businesses to be continually looking for opportunities and ways of engaging with their markets more effectively, clearly while being mindful of any associated risks. He also reminded the audience of the reach and power that social media seems to have today.

Peter Ritchie, McDonalds first Australian employee and now Chairman of Mortgage Choice gave an entertaining presentation that focussed on the importance of training and staff development. He also identified the key things that he felt we needed to focus on as leaders:

  1. Accept total responsibility for building the spirit of the team.
  2. Be the leader your people want.
  3. Commit to making your people the smartest in your industry.
  4. Ensure you have outstanding, open and honest communication.
  5. Ensure that all team members fit.
  6. Create change.
  7. Work at making it fun.
  8. Take some chances.
  9. Trust your instincts.

FRI’s Greg Nathan was another keynote speaker. Greg’s presentation was focussed on how to get franchisee support and buy in, particularly when it came to dealing with change. He identified the four areas that directly impacted the change process: strategy, structure (being task orientated), relationships and commitment (being process orientated). The relationships and commitment elements are generally the most challenging areas that we need to deal with. Greg left the audience with 10 common mistakes that can be made when implanting change:

  1. Not being able to justify the business case for change.
  2. Not being sensitive at how the change impacts on individual identity.
  3. Failing to adequately pilot test.
  4. Mistaking silence for agreement.
  5. Not consulting with those need to make it work.
  6. Treating communication as a one way sales exercise.
  7. Giving up in the face of resistance.
  8. Treating scepticism as negativity.
  9. Not considering the ripple effect on other systems.
  10. Covering up mistakes.

The afternoon sessions were break out groups embracing topics such as managing cash-flow and financial controls, engaging franchisees in marketing campaigns, maximising productivity and performance, and how to win franchisee trust and commitment.

An active panel discussion was also held that considered the issues with driving franchisee profitability.

The final keynote speaker for the day was Brennon Dowrick, Australian Olympian and Gold medal winning gymnast. Using his experiences training at the institute of sport in Canberra he talked about the importance of building solid foundations in everything we do. Having a solid foundation is fundamental for future success. The highlight of Brennon’s presentation was him demonstrating those foundation skills on a pommer horse! FCA’s Steve Wright took up the challenge and demonstrated how someone dressed in business attire can traverse a pommer horse! Brennon succinctly demonstrated, using sport as a metaphor, the importance of ensuring that strong foundations are built in order to be successful.

The one day conference ended with the NSW Awards Dinner, which celebrated success and achievement in the NSW franchise sector.

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