Franchise Conference Highlights

by Kate on October 21, 2010

I recently attended the Franchise Council of Australia’s 2010 conference and in the last few days I’ve asked myself (and have been asked by others): “What were the highlights?” and “Did I get value for money?”.


For me, a key benefit of the conference is connecting with peers to share ideas and discuss issues, so the highlights were sessions that get me thinking and talking. Two themes that caught my attention were Innovation and Leadership.

Phil Ruthven, Chairman of IBISWorld revealed the characteristics of the best enterprises as measured by return on shareholders funds, which include “Forever innovate” and “Value leadership first and management second”. These two points featured in presentations by Craig Rispin and Greg Nathan.

Futurist Craig Rispin reminded us that change is constant and rapid. To remain relevant we must not just deal with change but seek and create it. For example, within 2 years, the primary way of connecting to the internet will be mobile; 24 months from now, our customers will be living lives and doing business in ways we haven’t thought of today.

Thankfully, Craig gave some practical suggestions for how to grow your innovation muscle. One is to regularly watch the 20 minute videos on

Talking point: How might changes in technology impact your business? What does that mean for your business today?

Psychologist Greg Nathan revealed results of research that shows a predictors of franchisee willingness to recommend the business to others is strongly connected with how they feel about leadership and the brand – and especially their optimism about the future of the business.

Talking point: As a leader, what are you doing to instill confidence in your followers in a world of constant change?

Getting Value

Highlights are all very well, but we’re in business to make money, so what about the question of value?  For me, value is linked to my goals, and the questions I asked afterwards were:

  • Did I make new connections that are relevant for my business?
  • Did I leave with knowledge and ideas that can help me achieve my business goals?
  • Did I enjoy myself and have fun?

My answers to all three are “Yes” , and the FCA team and organisers did a great job putting together the event. Still, in the end the value we get as participants probably comes down to three points:

Show up! You have to be there in the first place in order to stand a chance of getting value.
Participate! What we get out is related to what we put in.
Take action! If nothing changes, nothing changes. The speakers can’t guarantee that anything they say will change your business, it’s your responsibility to ‘take it home’.

All in all, it was a great conference and well worth the time and money invested.

  • What makes a conference worthwhile for you?
  • If you were at the FCA Conference, what action have you taken to capitalise on your investment?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Glenn Walford October 28, 2010 at 11:45 am

Hi Kate, was great to catch up with you at NFC!
I’d also like to echo Alan’s comments on franchisee participation at the event as they were a little thin on the ground.
It really was a great environment for a fresh exchange of new ideas and people were very open to discussion.
So for certain I answered a big YES to your three questions on value in the conference for me. Those who decide not to come along thinking that it does not provide enough ‘value’ for them are totally missing the point – you derive value of of your full participation, with openess to the delegates around you, backed up with a great attitude towards the event.
I had a great and hugley rewarding time!
Thanks, Glenn

2 Kate Groom October 23, 2010 at 8:13 am

Hi Alan,
Thanks for popping by and commenting here.

Yes, it’s wonderful to have conversations that explore the things we aren’t sure about and where everyone ends up better off because we get a new insight. It’s very often the random conversations – often with a stranger – or the ‘off topic’ chats that produce the gold! And if we have carbon value to deal with next year then that really will be a conference worth attending. Infact, even if we don’t have the legal requirement to address it, it’s a topic that is not going away, so one very much worth starting to grapple with.

I’d certainly like to see more franchise systems attend the conference and a great breadth of ideas covered. And as our lives are so busy, getting together with peers reminds us of the magic that can happens when people are in a room together and talk and share their ideas freely.


3 Alan Branch October 23, 2010 at 7:36 am

I add that the people who went to the FCA went there with the clear mind set that they wanted to talk to others, exchange ideas and not try and make out that they knew it all. In my experience, every person at NFC10 took the time to have a helpful conversation even with a total stranger. It is to be hoped that the franchisee sector will see value in attending future conventions so the breadth of ideas is expanded in 2011.
By October 2011 we may have a carbon value to deal with in the franchise sector and that is sure to get people talking too!
regards, Alan

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