Navigating #IFA2017

The annual International Franchise Association Convention #IFA2017 is just days away. This is the must attend event in franchising. It will be filled with education sessions to educate and inspire attendees. Over 300 IFA suppliers will be in the Exhibit Hall ready to display their products, tools, and services to meet your needs. There will be networking opportunities to connect with long time franchise friends and make new friends.

Navigating the annual convention can be a daunting task for new and returning attendees. Don’t wait until you arrive in Las Vegas to plan your attendance. Download the app today and review all the sessions, a list of speakers, exhibitors, and social media. You can find the app in iTunes and Google Play. Look for IFA Connect. Here is a short video on how to navigate the app.

The sessions are divided by tracks. Finance, Franchise Development, Franchise Relations, Franchisee, General, International, Marketing & Information Technology, and Operations. I highly urge you to attend sessions from each track. If you are attending with other team members, divide and conquer!

There will be several sessions you may want to attend that are held at the same time.Plan ahead and do your best to attend as many as possible even if it means roaming from room to room.

Below are a few highlights and sessions

Committee Meetings There is no time like the present to get involved. Most of the committee meetings are open to non-committee members and will be held Sunday, January 29th starting at 8am. Committees are Finance, Marketing & Technology, Membership, VetFran, Women’s Franchising, and Franchise Relations.

New Member & First Time Attendee Reception

Sunday, Jan 29th, 5:30, Islander Ballroom A-B, F-G

The Buzz – Opening night networking reception

Sunday, Jan 29th, 6:30, South Pacific Ballroom A – F

Exhibit Hall

Monday January 30th 4:30-8pm Chairman’s Reception with Exhibitors

Tuesday, January 31st 12-2:30 Networking Lunch with Exhibitors and 5 – 7pm Reception with Exhibitors

Franchise Resales Are Booming – Do You Have a Plan for Your Brand? Moderator Clarissa Bradstock, Any Lab Test Now; Speakers Alyson Ekmark, Zaxby’s Franchising; Cassidy Ford, Huddle House and Robin Gagnon, We Sell Restaurants

Monday, January 30th, 2:45, Islander Ballroom F

Key Takeaways: Franchisor resale processes. Issues to consider when working with franchisees on resales. Barriers to consider in resales process.

Social Media – Today’s Secret Sauce for Telling Your Franchise Story. Moderator Jack Monson, Qiigo. Speakers – Kathleen A. Kuhn, Housemaster Home Inspection Service; Alice O’Donnell, Massage Heights and Ali Rauch, Chicken Salad Chick.

Monday, January 30, 2:45, Tradewinds E-F

Key Takeaways: How to use the social “secret sauce” effectively. How to use social media to tell the positive story of franchising. Practical and tactical ideas that will make a real difference for business.

Game Changing Emerging Brand Recruitment Strategies. Moderator Lane Fisher, Fisher Zucker. Speakers – Jonathan Barnett, Oxi Fresh Franchising, Chris Dull, Global Franchise Group and Ashley Morris, Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop.

Tuesday, January 31st 10:15, Mariners A-B

Key Takeaways:  What an emerging or re-emerging brand is and help attendees identify their present level.  How the team and talent pool has changed over the evolution of an emerging brand. Speakers will share the tools they use to nurture and grow a great franchise relationship (FAC, committees, communication, technology, supplier relationships, innovation, etc.)

Innovative Ideas that Break the Mold Moderator Evan Hackel, Ingage Consulting.  Speakers – Eric Bernstein, ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings, Corey DeNicola, Mainstream Fashions Franchising,  Geoff Goodman, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt and Luke Stanton, ProTradeNet.

Tuesday, Jan 31st, 10:15, Islander Ballroom B

Key Takeaways: Case studies from the panel who have implemented new and innovate ideas proven successful. New thoughts and concepts that have been successfully implemented.

Business Solutions Roundtables Moderators are franchise executives and supplier forum members. This is a great opportunity to network with 10-12 convention attendees to ask questions, share best practices and take home proven solutions. Topics range from franchise sales to operations. There are 99 tables so this session requires a little homework before attending. Review the list on the app and make your selections now. Each table will be numbered and color-coded by track and the session will have two one-hour time frames. Have a backup plan if you cannot reach your first choice.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2:45-4:45 and Wednesday, February 1st, 8:30-10:15


The convention committee did an exceptional job inviting keynote speakers Tim Ferriss and Marcus Buckingham to discuss how to move beyond the one-size-fits-all approach, coordinating and organizing educational sessions, networking opportunities and everything necessary for a successful convention. If you missed the on-line registration, there will be registration tables open at 7am in Vegas.

Connect with me on the #IFA2017 app and let’s meet IRL (in real life) in Vegas!




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