Takeaways from the International Franchise Association’s Annual Convention

I recently had the opportunity to attend the International Franchise Association (IFA) annual convention in Las Vegas. The convention is filled with hundreds of learning sessions, speakers, focus groups, networking opportunities and more. Topics discussed during the sessions included the current state of the franchising industry, market trends, best practices and much more. It can be a lot to take in.

Here are just a few of my big takeaways from this amazing convention:

  • The keynote speaker, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, reinforced that we have to be careful not to lose the “American Myth” (that you can come from nothing and make something of yourself).  If we do not allow people access to good education, then they will lose that ability, and if we lose that hope and that dream, it will change our culture forever.
  • Great Clips really is a big player in the franchise industry! There are so many franchise companies out there that only ever see 100 units total—Great Clips has more than 3,300 salons and is still growing. Some of the companies I talked with were signing 5-6 franchisees a year—Great Clips signs 90-100 per year.
  • We can always learn from best practices provided by other companies, but we really are doing a lot of things with integrity and value.  People respect the way that Great Clips does business, and they want to learn from our best practices.

Of course, when you attend a meeting in Las Vegas, you have to take some time to enjoy the city. Here are a few lessons I learned from the city that never sleeps:

  • Las Vegas is fun, but don’t try to order hot water for your oatmeal to your room. They’ll charge you $11(!) for hot water.
  • Wear good walking shoes. Walking up and down the strip in high heels is asking for blisters, everything looks closer than it really is.
  • Ride the roller coaster at New York New York at night. The city all lit up is pretty cool.

If you want to learn more about IFA or listen to recordings from convention, visit www.franchising.org

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