International Franchisee Association 2018 event
Published February 6, 2023

5 Tips to Make the Most of the IFA Convention

The International Franchise Association’s (IFA) Convention is THE franchising event of the year. 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 Monday, there are a ton of events happening on Sunday. The Annual Leadership Conference is highly worthwhile and offers more in-depth, hands-on education, and the New Member & First Time Attendee Reception is a great way to ease in and meet people.
  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 Thought Leadership 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).

“Must-Attend” Events to Connect with FBR

I’ll be part of the panel discussion, The Economic Power of Franchising for Diverse Entrepreneurs & Communities, on February 28 at 9:00, and you can also find me moderating a roundtable at the Annual Leadership Conference as well as a Thought Leadership Roundtable.

FBR Client Consultant Emily George will be moderating a Thought Leadership Roundtable on Monday, February 7 at 3:00 on Change Management Communication. 

And if you’re new to IFA, don’t miss the New Member Reception and be sure to find Emily and Courtney Stillings, FBR’s Director of Client Development, who will be there as ambassadors. 

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.

We’ll be at Booth #531, hosting award-winning franchisors who are also always happy to share what’s working for them and we are happy to make introductions. 

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, the former Chair of the International Franchise Association’s Women’s Franchise Committee. and a Certified Franchise Executive. She is the recipient of the 2022 Crystal Compass Award, 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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