Each year, representatives from every corner of the franchise industry gather at the International Franchise Association convention to learn about the trends, policies, and innovations affecting franchising. This year’s convention will include celebrity speakers, exhibits from hundreds of suppliers, over 50 educational sessions, and an emerging-franchisor boot camp for smaller franchises seeking guidance from the most successful franchising professionals in the industry. All of that provides the perfect environment for SMB Franchise Advisors to share their experiences helping franchise brands grow.
SMB Franchise Advisors have made a name for themselves by helping franchise brands get a foothold in the industry, but the company’s president and CEO, Steve Beagelman, says the IFA convention presents an opportunity for the company to share what they have to offer to established franchise brands.
“We offer a lot of services that are incredibly valuable for larger franchise brands,” Beagelman said. “A lot of established franchise brands don’t seek out advisor services because they are already doing well. IFA gives us a chance to get in front of some of those larger brands and show them our advanced support options, which can elevate even the most successful franchises. We provide outsourced advisory for leadership teams and franchise owners, which can be a crucial asset in keeping your system fresh and up to date with trends in the industry. We write and review operations manuals, we help brands establish franchise advisory councils, and we provide support for any customer service or operations issues a brand may be struggling with. Even franchises that aren’t actively pursuing a fix for any particular issues in their system find we have a lot to offer.”
Many brands attend the IFA convention with a specific goal in mind: to find an infusion of capital or to bring new blood into their leadership team. Beagelman says those types of high-level concerns can be daunting even for experienced franchisors, and SMB is able to simplify the process.
“We try to talk with everyone we can at IFA,” Beagelman said. “A lot of businesses come to the conference with a pressing issue, and they don’t know where to start, and they don’t know that SMB has a solution, so we keep our ears open. We might talk to a brand that has known about SMB but had no idea that we can help them expand their leadership board or help them find new private equity partners, and that’s exactly what they need done.”
Dawn Abbamondi, Director of Marketing & Brand Development for SMB, says the IFA Convention is also an occasion to meet face-to-face with their existing partners in the industry.
“We work with so many different people in so many different parts of the industry,” Abbamondi said. “It’s important to be able to associate faces and personalities with those people, whether they are clients, suppliers or anyone else. We partner with companies from all over the country, so it’s not often that we can catch many of them in the same place at the same time.”
Some of the partners that Abbamondi says SMB is most excited to catch up with are former clients, who SMB helped grow from emerging to established brands.
“SMB is focused on helping our clients grow, and the core of our business is brands who are completely new to franchising,” Abbamondi said. “It’s always so much fun to see brands that we helped get on their feet that are now thriving, established franchise brands.”
Abbamondi says the convention also serves as a valuable educational tool, one they can share with their clients who cannot attend themselves.
“We always bring back a wealth of education to our clients who cannot attend,” Abbamondi said. “This year we will likely come back with a lot of information about tax reform and the new minimum-wage laws and how the industry is reacting to those changes.”
SMB’s attendance at the IFA convention reflects the brand’s dedication to understanding every facet of their industry, a philosophy they try to impart on their clients as well.
“A lot of our clients can’t make it to the IFA convention, but we always encourage them to stay plugged into the larger community surrounding their business,” Beagelman said. “We lead by example in that respect. We make sure that we are up to date on everything going on in the franchise industry and that know the trends and changes that are going to affect our clients’ businesses. Attending the IFA convention is just one part of that.”