2014: Another great year for Franchising
This article appears in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of Business Franchise Australia & New Zealand
It’s been another busy year in the franchise sector. We have continued with what is now an almost two-year Franchising Code of Conduct review, we’ve seen new brands enter the Australian market, Australian brands head overseas, an increased interest in franchising among the general population and the sector has continued to outperform the wider small business market.
Franchising Code of Conduct review
The Code review has been an ongoing discussion in the sector since it was first announced in January 2013. With the submission process, consultation period and regulatory impact statement drafting finally complete, the 18 months’ work the FCA Board and legal team have put into the Franchising Code of Conduct update is finally taking shape. We will see changes to our national code come into place on 1 January 2015.
At the time of writing, we are still waiting to see the new Code released, but this review has certainly been the most positive yet. In the time since the Coalition Government came into power last September, we have seen a continued and increased collaboration with the Department of Treasury and other key federal stakeholders including the ACCC, the Small Business Commissioner and the Fair Work Ombudsman.
This increased communication and participation has allowed us to double our representation efforts on behalf of our members and the wider sector.
Along with the Franchising Code of Conduct update, the FCA has also been consulting with Treasury on the proposed extension of unfair contract terms to small business. These invigorated relationships and a continued focus on collaboration are ensuring the business environment remains a fair and ethical place for our members to succeed, and to secure continued growth for franchising.
Australian franchising, with its strong business systems and robust regulation has long been able to boast world’s best practice. It is little wonder then, that many of our home grown brands are readying, or already exporting their brands overseas. In 2014 the appetite for all things international only grew stronger, and the Franchise Council worked to provide our members with opportunities to research the best way forward. In early 2014, the FCA again travelled to the US with an Australian delegation to attend the International Franchise Association Convention, held in New Orleans, Louisiana. Following the three-day convention - which is an invaluable learning experience and something I would encourage anyone in franchising to attend – the FCA in conjunction with the IFA hosted the second annual FCA Franchisor US Study Tour.
Travelling from Louisiana to Atlanta, Georgia, franchisors had the rare opportunity to visit major private equity firm, Roark Capital Group (franchisor of nearly 30 brands including Anytime Fitness, Focus Brands, Cinnabon, and Fast Signs) and franchise brands such as Shelf Genie and Wingzone.
The US Study Tour is something we are particularly proud of at the FCA and I look forward to seeing it grow and evolve as more franchisors take up the opportunity to visit with some of the largest and most successful franchise brands in the world.
FCA head office is currently taking registrations for the 2015 IFA Convention, being held in Las Vegas in February. Contact 1300 669 030 for more information.
Franchising and Small Business in the community
Each year, the FCA engages in various activities in Australia and abroad to educate and enhance the perception of Australian franchising.
The revamped Franchise and Business Opportunities Expos held around the country this year were clear evidence that public interest in franchising is on the increase. The Melbourne Expo held in August had a record number of exhibitors, and a vibrant speaking program. The main change though, is the number of interested parties coming through the door who have already begun their research. If you are thinking about franchising, the Expos are a sensational opportunity to speak face to face with franchisors and learn more about the business model itself. The quality of visitors at these shows speaks highly of the future of franchising in Australia.
If you would like more information about the expos being held in 2015, visit www.franchisingexpo.com.au.
2015 already has a buoyant energy. With the changes to the Code of Conduct finally being implemented on 1 January 2015 we can move forward with a clear understanding of how our sector will look. Franchisors can now plan for change and ensure a smooth transition for their current and potential franchisees, and wider business relationships.
As the economy gradually continues to strengthen, the franchise sector will continue to outperform the broader small business market. The FCA is committed to ensuring that government understands the valuable contribution that franchising makes to the national economy. We will work collaboratively with the government, to influence good policy not only for franchising, but for small business generally.