Just like with any other type of business, a franchise one benefits greatly from joining local, regional, national, and even international networks (such as the International Franchise Association) of like-minded professionals. Both sides of the franchise model, be it the franchisee or the franchisor, can get multiple positives from such memberships. For one, building a strong network of professional contacts and colleagues means that you can always find someone to turn to should the need arise. Second, you get to tap into a limitless pool of knowledge, study cases, best practices, experience, and advice from people who know exactly what you are going through. Moreover, your chances of business growth increase. Sure, there are even more benefits of joining chambers of commerce, business networking organizations, franchise forums, or any other type of associations, but why join the International Franchise Association exactly? Let’s see.
What Is the International Franchise Association?
As the name clearly points, the International Franchise Association or the IFA is the organization which brings together franchise brands from all over the world and advocates for them, while working “to advance the future of franchising”. According to the association’s website, its mission is to protect, enhance, and promote franchising. It envisions itself as the “preeminent voice and acknowledged leader for franchising worldwide”.
The International Franchise Association was founded in 1960 as a follow-up to a meeting between several franchise businessmen. They were worried about the state of franchising, especially in the light of the Cold War and its effect on the industry. Subsequently, they decided to take action to protect their and other franchises’ interests. Hence, the association came into being. Additionally, later on in 1968, they moved the headquarters from Chicago to Washington, D.C. to be closer to the political and legislative decision-makers.
What Does It Do?
Currently, the association represents more than 1,400 franchise systems world-wide. More than 1/3 of its members are based in international locations. Besides from lobbying and ensuring the franchise industry’s interests are protected, the International Franchise Association serves a few more roles.
Provides Networking Opportunities
With its thousands of members, committees, and task forces, it is inevitable that the organization serves as a place to meet other entrepreneurs and businesses. Plus, its famous annual convention and smaller, local events bring together franchise professionals, owners, suppliers, and general public.
Offers Educational Programs
The IFA started its first educational programs for franchisors back in the 1980’s. These aimed at helping companies deal with management and operational challenges. Initially starting with 6 in 1982, educational programs at the International Franchise Association quickly became 65 in 1987. Nowadays there are even more, serving both franchisors and franchisees, including their FranShip mentoring program.
Certifies Franchise Executives
The International Franchise Association also offers a certification program for franchise executives, which is open to both members and non-members. Program graduates enjoy the benefits of professional development, industry recognition, peer networking, and professional standing. And, of course, a certificate validated by one of the world’s leading franchise organizations.
Serves as an Information Hub
Besides the huge list of brands representing both country-specific and international franchising business opportunities, the IFA also offers a myriad of resources, industry researches, blog articles, and other informational instruments to make a franchise journey as well-informed as possible. It has a separate franchise news section with a steady flow of regular updates.
Membership in the International Franchise Association
Initially open for membership only to franchisors, nowadays the International Franchise Association also welcomes franchisees and suppliers. You are not required to be an SBA approved franchise in order to join in. In fact, there are almost no limitations to what businesses or individuals can sign up for membership.
For each separate group of members, there are different, yet similar benefits for joining. For example, all three groups enjoy exposure to a larger audience and potential business relationships. Similarly, all three groups of members benefit from the association’s advocacy and negotiating power. And, of course, being part of such a huge franchise forum comes with unlimited access to a variety of learning and growth opportunities.
Membership fees for the three different categories are as follows:
- Franchisors – starting at $1,675; there’s also an IFA membership kit which offers you a discount of $200 for a 2-year subscription
- Franchisees – starting at $110
- Suppliers – starting at $3,860
Whether you are a franchise owner, supplier, or system, it would be quite beneficial for you to join the IFA. Not only will you stay on top of current trends in franchising, but you will also enjoy being part of a huge professional network that keeps growing and evolving, providing its members with numerous chances to learn, develop, and prosper.
Similarly, DetailXPerts encourages its independent business owners to join various chambers and organizations to expand their networks, business opportunities, and learning experience. Thist constitutes an important part of their detail business marketing and sales strategies, which we also invite you to check out.