Finding and Delivering Value in Challenging Times
It might be a new year, but the challenges facing small business and, in particular, franchising are familiar ones.
In the economic briefings and forecasts I’ve attended; the message has been consistent. The economy remains weak, and while Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has stated there may be a “gentle turning point" in the economy later this year, businesses are understandably cautious.
For any business, this caution must be balanced with the need to continue to innovate and develop products and services that resonate with consumers and meet their fast-changing needs.
Finding value for money is the key here. It’s easy to say that in the current marketplace, your franchise can’t afford to invest in innovation, training or new initiatives. I would argue that it’s these very circumstances that mean you can’t afford not to.
Perhaps this can be enabled by finding savings that don’t compromise your brand’s value proposition or that of your franchisees.
One of the ways the FCA is working to facilitate this is through our partnership with Energy Australia. At last year's National Franchise Convention, I mentioned how this new partnership would provide FCA members with benefits including access to free energy assessments and follow up recommendations on off-peak usage, solar panels and battery storage.
This program is now underway, with the FCA and Energy Australia working together to roll out the assessment and audit program to a select group of members. We look forward to sharing the topline results over the coming months, and to offer this service more broadly across the FCA membership.
It might be that your business can find smarter ways to access training and professional development. The FCA can help here too.
You may have noticed the FCA has launched its new website at www.franchise.org.au. This is designed to be a streamlined platform delivering fact-based data, business advice and assistance for members, as well as useful information for the broader sector.
Here you will find resources like the FCA’s Franchisee Guide, aimed at assisting prospective franchisees and existing franchisees with a toolbox of information from due diligence, to understanding franchise regulations and more. We encourage you to share this, and other useful information from our website across your networks of current and prospective franchisees.
Across 2020, we will also be working to deliver member-only exclusive information through this platform, as we seek to provide members with the edge in growing sustainable franchise businesses.
As the FCA looks to support members in delivering their ongoing education and training needs, we are also excited to partner with leading online learning and education platform, GO1.
This education partnership is designed to support the compliance, skills and development needs of FCA members through the provision of training and resources on an accessible online portal.
We’re looking forward to sharing more details about the learning pathways and course content that will be available through the GO1 platform with members as the year progresses.
Value can also be gained by the connections that we form — franchise professionals who are facing the same challenges as you but may already have solutions.
For CEOs of member franchise companies, membership of your local Chief Executive Syndicate is an investment being part of an invaluable peer-to-peer network of franchise executives unlike any other.
This year’s National Franchise Convention, to be held in Melbourne from 18-20 October, is yet another opportunity for members to collaborate and learn.
At last year’s NFC, I also said that while it’s been a tough time over the last 12 months, this presents all of us with a transformational opportunity to shape the future that we want for franchising.
This year’s NFC theme of “Shaping the Future” builds on this and reflects the need for franchised businesses to ensure they are well resourced to control their own destinies, even as market forces exert their pressures on the business environment.
Following the success of the FCA’s inaugural Multi-Unit Summit in 2019, this event will again in 2020 bring together current and aspiring multi-unit franchisees and the franchise executives that support them to learn strategies to grow profitable multi-unit businesses and maximise the opportunities for the talented franchisees that are the backbone of every great franchise network.
I cannot overstate the importance the FCA places on ensuring that franchising remains a robust business model and that your individual businesses are in the best position they can be for ongoing success.
Each and every FCA membership is valued, and I look forward to continuing to deliver value to all FCA members in 2020.