Networking: now more important than ever: get the benefit of sharing ideas with many who face the same challenges that we do each day.

Author:Eckert, Paul W.
Position:IFA'S 49TH ANNUAL CONVENTION - International Franchise Association

As we look at the landscape of our industry, we will probably find that the average franchisor has limited resources to work with. That is why it is always prudent to view just what resources we should allocate to any endeavor. We are living in a very unique period of time, one that affects both our economy and the business environment as a whole. As things get more challenging, we all tend to look even harder at just how we can be more efficient with both our time and our money. At times, we may feel that it's time to cut our costs and slash all unnecessary spending. This is exactly what is happening all around the country in every organization, large and small.

In today's economy, many business owners only want to evaluate the activity that directly and immediately affects their balance sheet. Discretionary spending is a term that we all use in our budget meetings, but the decisions that we make to balance our budgets can deeply affect the growth of our businesses. Therefore, it is important to properly evaluate and identify the items that are important to the growth of your individual organization. Too often, in an effort to curb travel costs, the necessity to attend conferences and other industry functions is questiones. To some, the expenses related to attending these functions and other opportunities to network are viewed as not vital or essential. This short-sighted approach does not serve us well. Franchising professionals need to take full advantage of every opportunity to network with others.


Why is this so important? You may have had a certain predisposition toward a particular idea or area of operating your business for years. You feel that this path has worked for you and you're going to stay the course. Often the people who work for you know how you think and they may shy away from challenging your positions on a variety of business issues. This can lead to trouble for you and your organization. With this attitude, how can you ever open yourself up to new and exciting ideas and products that can enrich and grow your business? You need to challenge yourself and you need to be challenged to think differently. It probably will never happen in the comfortable confines of your office.

Change is Necessary

And that is why attending conferences such as the International Franchise Association's yearly convention is so vital. Here you will find a large gathering of individuals who are facing the same challenges in...

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