The benefits of franchise business conferences

by Administrator - Faredge

Alan Payne
General Manager
Mr Rental

The benefits
of franchise
business conferences
Alan Payne

Alan Payne | General Manager | Mr Rental

The General Manager of Mr Rental franchise business talks to topfranchise about the benefits of franchise business conferences at Mr Rental and in the franchising Industry at large.

Being part of a franchise business gives franchisees many opportunities for education, learning and peer collaboration. The International Franchise Conference at Mr Rental occurs once a year which is fairly typical of most mature franchise systems. Regional conferences, largely organised by the Franchisees, with the support of the Franchisor are held 6 months after the International Conference. The International Franchise conference gives a unique opportunity for both the franchisor and franchisee to get together to discuss the year ahead and celebrate the achievements of the past 12 months.

At Mr Rental, the conference comprises six areas:

 1. Feedback from franchisees
 2. Sharing the franchise group's strategy for the coming 3 years
 3. Professional and personal development for franchisees
 4. A planned social program
 5. Franchisee awards at the Gala Dinner
 6. Franchise Advisory Council final meeting for the outgoing committee, followed by the AGM to elect the new committee and discuss key issues.

1. Feedback from franchisees

In the Mr Rental franchise business we utilise many tools to gather feedback from our franchisees. Twice a year we undertake the survey program. The survey program gives us a good sense of where we are doing well as a support team and where we can improve. Key senior management also go on a road show around the country, meeting with individual franchisees and various franchise committees to go deeper on survey results to determine what specific initiatives could be valuable to franchisees. The conference gives the whole support team an opportunity to gain further feedback from franchisees and gain final feedback and consensus on the strategic direction the business is looking to take in the next year.

2. Sharing the franchise group's strategy for the coming 3 years

At every Mr Rental conference we share the group's strategic plan for the next 3 years, and show how it relates to the feedback that was given to us by franchisees. This is a great exercise to get everyone on the same page and show to franchisees that the support office is listening to their needs. It also demonstrates that the feedback provided through the course of the year, through various surveys, franchise advisory council meetings and one on one meetings has been valued and taken onboard.

3. Professional and personal development for franchisees

Being part of a franchise business gives franchisees many opportunities for personal and professional development through the course of a year. However the conference tends to take it up a notch, with sessions runs by experienced support team members as well as outside guest speakers. The guest speakers vary from successful franchisees who come from other franchise businesses, to professional speakers and trainers who lead sessions on a variety of topics such as getting peak performance as a franchisee. Internal experts show the behind the scenes workings of elements such as the making of TV commercials, where for Mr Rental the secrets of the animated adverts construction are showcased. Successful Mr Rental franchisees also sit on panels where they share their knowledge and expertise with newer franchisees.

4. A planned social program

The social program is a great opportunity to bond with fellow franchisees and the Franchisor management and team, in an informal environment. One of the great things about being in a franchise business is the support network you have from fellow franchisees and the support office team. Throughout the year newer franchisees are not always proactive in seeking out that support. A franchise conference provides a great opportunity to spark conversations with peers that lead to lasting friendships and to an understanding of who in the network is experienced in different areas and who will be able to give advice in the future. This means when a franchisee that is new to the franchise business needs assistance they have a better understanding of who to get in touch with for advice from a peer.

5. Franchisee awards at the Gala Dinner

Franchisee awards are a significant part of the Mr Rental conference program and provide an opportunity to recognise the performance of franchisees. At Mr Rental we have awards for reaching certain targets and milestones in a business and we then have three major awards. The major awards encompass Franchise Excellence; an "Above the Line" approach, and Community Involvement. The award that relates to franchisees involvement in their community sees the most entrants at Mr Rental and the submissions are often thick as a book. Mr Rental's franchisees participation in community programs is great to see as this is part of the ethos of the company.

Each year Mr Rental franchisees give to their local community as well as contributing or raising funds for selected charities. This culminates at the franchise conference at the Gala Dinner where the amounts raised for selected charities are unveiled. At the 2009 conference Mr Rental franchisees gave a cheque of $70,000 to cancer research and also announced a sponsor of Australia' s speed skating team with Stephen Bradbury the Gold Medal speed skater for Australia talking about the speed skating program.

6. Franchise Advisory Council final meeting for the outgoing committee, followed by the AGM to elect the new committee and discuss key issues.

Mr Rental hold the final monthly meeting of the Mr Rental Franchise Advisory Council (MRFAC) Committee during the first morning of conference when registrations are happening, so that the Committee can finalise any business and prepare any recommendations on outstanding issues to bring up at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Otherwise, a new committee is elected and step straight into a meeting with just an agenda and no transition.

Mr Rental then hold the AGM in the afternoon so that the outgoing committee can report on the current status of issues under consideration, make recommendations on any issues, if that is appropriate, put issues to the Franchisor direct and manage the election of the new committee.

This is one opportunity each year to bring everyone together and discuss any key issues and it is often the time when key initiatives (regardless of how they are initiated) are given the green or red light by the Franchisor, because we have had the opportunity to have a final consultation with the Franchisee network as a group. This open forum tends to head off individual agendas in favour of reaching a decision that is best for the organisation as a whole.

At the end of a franchise conference new franchisees have the comfort of having met experienced franchisees who have gone through the same learning curve as them. Experienced franchisees have had the chance to catch up with old friends and to advance their professional development. For the franchisor and support office it provides an invaluable opportunity to share the vision for the business and to keep listening to franchisee feedback.

Alan Payne has been General Manager for Mr Rental for over 5 years and worked in a number of other franchise businesses in 20 years in the franchising industry.

For more information on the Mr Rental franchise business see Mr Rental Page.
For more information on which franchisees are the most passionate about their franchise business, see the top 10 franchise systems for passion .

For an A-Z listing of franchise businesses who listen to their franchisees and take feedback on board check the A-Z listing and the individual company page.


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