International Franchisee Association 2018 event
Published February 1, 2022

5 Tips to Make the Most of the IFA Convention

The International Franchise Association’s (IFA) Convention is THE franchising event of the year. After the 2021 Convention went virtual, 2022 is back in-person and I couldn’t be more excited! Having attended the event for 15+ years, I thought I’d share some tips I’ve picked up over the years.  Whether you’re a seasoned attendee like me, or this is your first time at the event, these are the must-do’s for making the most of your time there:

  1. Plan ahead to cover the most ground. Check out the conference schedule in advance and plan which sessions and events are a must-attend. If multiple people from your team are attending, make a plan to divide and conquer so you can collectively maximize the education and networking opportunities.
  1. Get there early. Even though the opening general session isn’t until Sunday, there are a ton of events happening on Saturday. The Annual Leadership Conference and the Emerging Franchisor Bootcamp are both highly worthwhile, and offer more in-depth, hands-on education.
  1. Say yes! Franchising is ALL about relationships, so go to the social events, take advantage of networking opportunities, and be open to invitations to parties, dinners, cocktail hours, etc. (especially if they’re from FBR–always the highlight of the conference!).
  1. Hit the Roundtables. The Business Solution Roundtables are a great way to get ideas and see what’s working for other franchisors. Even if (or especially if) if you don’t love traditional networking, these small group discussions make breaking the ice easy.
  1. Schedule meetings in advance. This is your chance to get face time with as many people as possible. Set up 15-minute meetings to connect with the people you want to see. (It can be busy and loud on the exhibit floor, so look for coffee or times when you don’t have sessions scheduled).

Finally, don’t skip the Exhibit Hall. The suppliers aren’t just there to “sell” you – most are happy just to chat and share ideas. Most of them have worked with hundreds or thousands of franchisors over the years and have great insights into challenges they’ve and solutions that work.

I’ll be part of a session hosted by Wild Birds Unlimited’s CDO Paul Pickett called Culture Schmulture, Why Does It Matter? And…YES It Does! I encourage you to attend, but I’m also happy to chat one-on-one.

FBR’s founder and CEO, Eric Stites will also be hosting a session called Metrics that Matter: Using Data to Drive Unit-Level Economics and Help Franchisees Grow as part of the Operations track. Leaders from some of the highest-performing franchise brands will share tools and tactics on how to implement and/or refine a KPI-driven performance program in your franchise system.

If you want to find us, we’ll be at Booth #1005. We’ll be there hosting award-winning franchisors who are also always happy to share what’s working for them. 

Not registered for the Convention yet? Register now to save your seat!


 

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About the Author: Michelle Rowan

Michelle is the president of FBR, chair of the International Franchise Association Women's Franchise Committee, and a Certified Franchise Executive. She has facilitated CEO Performance Groups and Executive Networking Groups and is also a mentor of UNH college students. When she is not at work she is usually reading, playing outside, or hanging out with her husband and daughter.
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