Autumn and Franchise Development Are in the Air!
Every fall is eagerly anticipated at Franchise Update Media for two reasons. First, it means it’s time for the annual Franchise Leadership & Development Conference. Second, it means Mystery Shopping, the Annual Franchise Development Report (AFDR), and the annual STAR Awards.
First the conference. For the first time in its more than 20-year history, registrations sold out! Once again, the cream of the crop in franchise development converged in Atlanta for annual event. The Exhibit Hall/Networking Area was packed with suppliers, and timely educational sessions and presentations brought leading franchise experts together to share their experience and expertise. This year’s theme was Making Connections Count, and from what I could see, attendees made the most of it: Networking and dealmaking were going on in just about every chair, couch, and hallway of the hotel. Read more about the conference in this issue.
Second, we once again had our “qualified prospects” vet attendee brands’ recruiting efforts through our annual mystery shopping program, grading their responsiveness by phone, website, and social media. While some brands performed outstandingly well, the results continue to show the need for improvement by too many brands—e.g., no phone numbers listed on their websites, not returning prospect calls within 24 hours... or ever, which continues to amaze.
All the results can be found in this year’s Annual Franchise Development Report (AFDR). The research and fresh data are there to help franchise executives of all stripes benchmark their brands and determine where they need improvement most. Read more about the AFDR in this issue, including how to order the full report.
In franchise development, it’s never all doom-and-gloom. In fact, there’s much to celebrate. That’s why we continue to recognize the sales and development teams that are doing it right with the annual STAR Awards. Winners are a who’s who of the best recruiters and are recognized and celebrated at the annual awards dinner. The winners tell their stories in another article in this issue.
Franchising is a proven business model that allows people to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves. Franchise executives today have more resources at their fingertips than ever before—and so do prospects. Yet, throughout all the ups and downs of the economy, franchise sales and development executives and teams always seem to find new ways to locate prospects, seal deals, and open units. And that indomitable optimism, despite all, is a major part of the very essence of franchising.
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