Snap-On’s franchisee conference brought more than 8,000 franchisees together in Washington, D.C. this year. They roamed through a product expo, attended seminars on how to improve their businesses, and got hands-on training for new techniques.
Many franchisors offer this kind of event annually. Is it worth going? Is it worth putting these franchisors higher on your list when you’re deciding which franchise business opportunity to choose?
One of the top reasons for small business failure is a lack of knowledge. People don’t have enough information about how to run a business, so they make mistakes and fail. The franchise system helps with that, of course, because there are systems to follow and some level of training. But the more you know, the better you’ll do with any system. Annual conferences give you a chance to improve your skills.
They also provide a great way for franchisors to share new information, whether it’s about upcoming changes in a system or new tech options or changes in laws and regulations that might affect you. A trade show area can show new products which will become available to you, and give you a chance to try them before you buy them. This is also where you can get a chance to hear the experts giving sales pitches, so you’ll be able to sound just as expert when you talk to your customers.
Conferences and trade shows are fantastic networking opportunities. They’re great places to find people who might be helpful to you — and people you can be helpful to. You get easier access to the most influential people in your franchise or your field, and a chance to talk with other people who are facing the same challenges you are.
Since you don’t have time to make all the possible mistakes by yourself, these meetings can also be your time to learn from mistakes made by other franchisees. Often, people attending these shows will be more willing to share their experiences than people at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, who may feel a need to put on a good front.
And it’s also a chance to make new friends. Even if you only see them at the annual meeting, other franchisees can be fun people to get to know.
You will probably see or get a chance to talk with extremely successful franchisees, too. These franchisees are often honored at national or regional meetings, and they’re happy to share what they did to get where they are today.
You’ll get new ideas about operations and marketing, too. Many of the seminars and sessions offered at meetings of this kind are designed to address the hard parts of the job and make it less stressful. You can expect to return to your franchise with new energy.
In fact, pumping up the franchisees is one of the unspoken goals at meetings of this kind. For many franchisees, getting re-energized for a new year makes the annual meeting worthwhile.