A Guide to Organising a Successful Franchisee Event

27/02/2018 17:00 | Start a business

 

How to organise successful franchisee events

Getting a franchise show right can have a hugely positive effect on your franchisees’ productivity, profitability, and passion for your brand. So, here’s our four-point guide to making your next franchisee event the best it can be for all involved.

1. Not too short; not too long

One of the make or break factors for your conference will be its length. Too short, and franchisees will see the potential travel and cost of attending as pointless; too long and you risk franchisees failing to be able to attend at all.

Even the most focused listener can be overwhelmed by too much information presented within a relatively short time span. Similarly, having to concentrate for days on end can also be emotionally draining. Information overload in any form can detract from the message you want to share and, worse, leave attendees wondering why they bothered showing up at all.

The perfect length for a conference is between one and a half and two days. The need for an overnight stay encourages networking in a less informal environment too.

2. Getting the agenda right

If you want your conference to be well attended without making it a compulsory event, then you need to build a killer agenda. There are several core elements that franchisees will expect to be included if they’re to benefit from the franchise show.

The most important of these elements is likely to be having time to network with other franchisees. The peer-to-peer support available will have been one of the main reasons for them choosing to become a franchisee. Being a franchisor that proactively encourages sharing of franchise ideas and stories sends out a strong message that you understand the importance of learning from each other and discussing issues with people that may have already experienced them.

Another critical factor is for franchisees to learn from the expertise of others. This may be from you, other franchisees, or from outside presenters chosen for their expertise in a particular field. You could incorporate training on new systems or products. This way you can ensure that your franchisees are up to date with the latest developments in an engaging fashion.

Finally, you should include an update on the performance of the franchise which you deliver. However, make sure that you don’t spend too much time talking about operational issues. This can cause franchisees to feel bored, harassed or patronised.

If you stick to the principle of at least half of your agenda being dedicated to interactive activity, such as networking opportunities and group sessions, your schedule should pack a punch. Also, you should keep an interactive activity like a Q&A session to conclude your event. These are well-received by franchisees and will ensure that the conference ends on a high.

3. Maximising the day for your attendees

Many of your attendees will have chosen to become a franchisee because of the support, training, and networking opportunities on offer. For your franchise show to be well received, these three essential elements should be incorporated. Here are some tips to ensure that you maximise the benefits that your franchisees receive from attending the conference:

  • Decide on the key messages that you want your audience to take away and make these the theme of your conference. Don't fall into the trap of trying to communicate too much as your message will get diluted. Have two or three topics and make sure that all speakers and activities reinforce these messages.
  • Because networking is so important to franchisees, make sure there are plenty of opportunities for your attendees to do so; both formally and informally. As well as team-building sessions and group discussions, ensure that franchisees can catch up in a less formal environment also. This will encourage the sharing of franchise ideas and stories.
  • Organise plenty of breaks and meals over the course of the event. This again will promote networking and provides a casual chance for you and your management team to meet franchisees.
  • Ensure you give successful franchisees the chance to share their story with their peers. There’s nothing more powerful for newer franchisees than hearing about how someone who was once in their position has grown in confidence, experience and profitability, simply by following your business model.

4. Follow up

So, the conference is over, you’ve received positive feedback; but how do you ensure that your objectives for the event have been met? How do you make sure that your franchisees put what they’ve learnt into action? The key is to view the follow-up stage of the conference as necessary as the planning phase.

  • Give all attendees the chance to create an actionable plan to take away. After each session, encourage franchisees to note what they will change or improve as a result of what they’ve learnt. By the end of your conference, your franchisees should have a plan of action that they can’t wait to implement.
  • Your franchisees have the luxury of listening to franchise ideas and discussions first hand, but their employees often don't get the chance to attend events such as these. Provide presentations from the day in the form of PowerPoint slides or a DVD, so that your franchisees can share the messages of the conference with their teams. The event will take a lot of organisation, so the more people who get to benefit from it the better.
  • Similar to sharing the outputs of the day with the employees of franchisees, you should also ensure that any franchisees that couldn’t attend are brought up to date. If you fail to share conference material with them, then both them and their teams will miss out on the educational and informative content that the rest of your business has received.

The success of your conference can be measured by how many franchisees choose to attend the following year. But in the meantime, attending the event should motivate and inspire your franchisees to perform to their best ability and make improvements where necessary. Investing your time, effort and resources into organising regular conferences for your franchisees to meet, share and learn will be repaid with driven and successful franchisees.

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