How to Optimize your Franchise Conference Experience

Angela Cote

Are you as excited as we are for the return of IN-PERSON franchise industry events? 

After a crazy and difficult 18 months, the idea of getting back to attending franchise conferences filled with education, networking, socializing, and fun, sounds amazing. 

We are all keen to create in-person connections and learn valuable skills and strategies for growth.

For those of you who are attending conferences for the first time, as well as those of you who are just out of practice (aren’t we all!), we wanted to create some tips for you to get the most out of these events.

Although conferences are invaluable and fun, it is not uncommon to get mixed messages, not know whether the education applies to your industry or unique system, and even feel unsure of where to go to create those meaningful connections.

Read through the tips and tricks below to ensure your conference experience is optimized for the most fun, value, and ROI.

Have a Plan for the Franchise Conference

Before you attend a franchise conference, have an idea of what you want to get out of the experience and create a plan for achieving those goals.

Are you seeking out education around a specific topic? Are you wanting introductions to some legal vendors? Fellow franchisor connections who you can call when you get back into the day-to-day hustle? 

Knowing your goals ahead of time will allow you to plan out your time to achieve those goals. You’ll know who to seek out for connections, and what sessions to attend.  

Be sure to make a plan to check-in at the end of each day to see if you are on track.  Sometimes I put reminders on my phone at various intervals for this.  I use the printed attendee guide and make notes and use sticky tabs to flag people I am on the lookout for, and then I check them off as I go.

Beyond knowing what results you are looking for with your connections and educational sessions, knowing what you want to express to others about YOUR franchise is also good to have planned out as well. 

Have a clear description of your system, your stage of growth, and the questions you are trying to get answered all prepared to share easily and clearly.

Beware The Dreaded Conference Voice 

If you have interacted with me at conferences, you probably know that by the end of day two, my voice starts to go. And by the end of a conference, I can barely talk!  I often joke that if you don’t sound like me by the end of the conference, you haven’t networked hard enough!

All kidding aside, it can be very dry in hotels and meeting rooms where conferences take place, and often you are trying to communicate with people in big, loud rooms. Not that I’ve mastered how to NOT lose my voice, but I definitely recommend carrying water around, bringing throat lozenges, and even sipping hot tea throughout the day. 

Watch Out for Self Doubt!  

Hear me out. As much as education and hearing from experts are great, it can also lead to feeling overwhelmed or doubting whether you’re doing the “wrong” thing in your franchise system. 

Don’t get down on yourself when you hear people who have been in franchising for decades give you advice. Not all the advice you hear will apply to you. Or it may not apply to you at your stage of growth. 

I often find that after a franchise conference, our clients can feel a little discouraged because they start to compare themselves to other franchisors.  This is especially dangerous when you compare yourself to more established systems because it makes you aware of all of the work ahead of you to get there.  

Don’t worry, if you are taking a self-funded approach, you are not alone.  A lot of early staged franchisors feel like the majority of established franchisors have private equity backing them but this is just not true.  In our community of passionate, driven, intelligent, and innovative franchisors, self-funded, methodical growth is the norm.

You will have a more positive, productive experience if you take in the education without pressuring yourself or applying it all to your system right away.

If you catch yourself in self-doubt mode – reach out to us as we can help you with evaluating what you are doing right to help you rebuild the confidence you had before you decided to attend the conference.

Debrief When You Get Back

The best experiences and education come when you take in information and then take the time to debrief and assess that information

Once you’re back in your franchise system (after the conference) you can reflect on what you learned and work through what applies to you and what you can take action on for growth.

If you need support on this, connect with us! We would love to help you go over the education you received and decide what would work best for your franchise system.

Create a Conference Community

One of the best parts of the conference experience is the networking and connections. This doesn’t just happen in the networking events! There are dinners, socializing, and drinks.  

If you need a conference community, reach out! Our weekly AC Roundtables have blessed us with creating a community of driven and high-achieving, yet inclusive and humble franchisors who are always happy to welcome one more.  We can set you up.

Looking for some more tips on networking?

 Read the 5 Networking Tips for Franchise Conferences here.