Attending IFA 2018 could be the best return on investment you receive all year. Don’t miss the chance to make deals, network with industry colleagues and hear from franchising’s top leaders Feb. 10-13, says Shelly Sun, CFE

Franchising’s potential to create wealth around the globe by providing business opportunities for entrepreneurs will be on display at the International Franchise Association’s 2018 Annual Convention, which takes place Feb 10-13 in Phoenix, Ariz. The franchising community is proud and unified, and the convention’s theme of “Together, We Are Franchising” will showcase how important the business model is to the U.S. and global economies, as well as being a proven method to success for so many people. IFA 2018 is your chance to be part of the franchising family, share your story, connect with peers, and learn from leading subject matter experts to transform your business.

Everyone is looking to maximize the amount of revenue generation and operational improvements from attending trade shows and conventions. It all boils down to the bottom line –  after all, if you can’t learn tips about how to improve profitability, streamline operations and grow your brand, where’s the return on investment? That’s why the IFA 2018 Convention Committee is hard at work to bring you real-world examples of how franchising leaders address their biggest hang-ups, so that you can avoid some of the most common pitfalls toward creating a successful business.

Central to the convention each year is the ability to conduct business, make new contacts, and solidify and expand existing partnerships. That’s just the start of what can be your most productive three-day stretch of the year. IFA 2018 will offer the ever-popular Business Solution Roundtables; keynote speakers talking about the most important issues facing your business; and breakout educational sessions and summits on topics such as profitability, financing, unit-level economics, franchise development, metrics, recruiting top talent, creating a positive culture, franchise relations and international expansion.

There’s more, including the presentation of IFA awards, the Music Paradigm –  a special event unlike anything you’ve seen before at an IFA Convention – and the chance to peer into the future of the industry with the NextGen in Franchising Global Competition, featuring guest judge Daymond John, star of ABC’s Shark Tank and founder of FUBU.

“We encourage you to take advantage of the educational and professional development opportunities and the unique chance to make important business deals with the thousands of business executives at the convention,” said IFA President and CEO Robert Cresanti, CFE. “There is no better venue than the IFA Convention to find potential partners, solidify deals and make investments that will lead to growth at your franchise for years to come,” he added.

Some of the must-see highlights for #IFA2018:

• NextGen in Franchising Global Competition: Get a chance to meet Daymond John, star of ABC’s Shark Tank and founder, President and CEO of billion-dollar clothing company FUBU. John will lead a panel of judges on Tuesday, Feb. 13 for the final round of the IFA Franchise Education and Research Foundation’s NextGen in Franchising Global Competition. From an application pool of more than 1,000 people, the Foundation selected 20 young entrepreneurs to compete in the Round One of the Global Competition, which takes place on Sunday, Feb. 11 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. From these 20 competitors, the top three will be chosen to compete in the final round on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Now in its fourth year, the Global Competition is always an exciting glimpse into the future of franchising, as many of the past winners are now established concepts around the world. Don’t miss it!

• Music Paradigm: Looking for a unique experience outside the typical convention panel? Then check out Music Paradigm, an awe-inspiring session with a live professional orchestra on Monday, Feb. 12 that simulates business challenges using music as a metaphor. Led by Maestro Roger Nierenberg, Music Paradigm is a fascinating look into leadership, teamwork, responsibility, effectiveness and unity lessons through the lens of an innovative exercise. Mix up your convention experience with this powerful session.

• Transformational Stories in Franchising: New for 2018, an exciting new format for the Closing General Session on Tuesday, Feb. 13 will keep you on the edge of your seat. What’s worked in the past may not work in the future, and the world is changing at such a rapid pace that franchise leaders have no choice but to change with it. The session will feature short 15-minute presentations in the style of the TED Lecture Series, including groundbreaking ideas from franchise executives that are worth spreading.

• Personalized Tracks: Are you a first-time visitor to the IFA Annual Convention? A C-Suite executive who only wants content related to franchisors? An opportunity seeker looking to find out more about specific franchising opportunities? An international franchise company looking to expand in the United States? IFA is creating personalized tracks for franchisors, franchisees and those looking for specific topics. For example, there will be a first-time attendee roadmap covering all the basics, a guide for C-Suite executives, an international track, and tracks by role for franchisors at various system sizes and for single unit and multi-unit franchisees.

• Connecting: Networking remains a critical function of attending conferences and events. Whether it’s meeting at the opening night Buzz, during the Business Solution Roundtables, at the closing-night Bash or anything in between, IFA 2018 offers the ability to talk with your most important clients, many of which will have a presence at the event.

Back by Popular Demand: Emerging Franchisors Bootcamp

Building on the popularity of the first-time program that launched at IFA 2017, the Emerging Franchisor Bootcamp takes place Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 12:45 to 4:30 p.m. The bootcamp offers an experience like no other, and includes behind-the-scenes access to some of the top thought leaders in franchising, who offer their best tips and lessons learned from missteps along the way. Why go it alone when you can learn from the best?

Designed for up-and-coming brands with 100 units or less, the bootcamp offers the chance to meet executives who have walked in your shoes –  founders of franchise companies willing to share the mistakes they made, what worked and what didn’t to get them to critical mass. You will see how typical brands grow through the emerging phase, what healthy growth is and how growing too fast can be detrimental to the long-term future of your brand. The session will be interactive, interesting and fun – and we’ll skip the push-ups!

Following an “Innervation Lab” and growth roadmap exercises featuring Daymond John, participants will hear from franchise executives from brands such as BrightStar Care, CertaPro Painters, College Hunks Hauling Junk, Express Services, FASTSIGNS International, FOCUS Brands, Glass Doctor, Great Clips, Merry Maids and PMTD Restaurants.

The Emerging Franchisors Bootcamp is complimentary to franchisors with 100 units or less, and attendees will receive a complimentary CFE enrollment and guide book ($540 value), 400 Bonus CFE Credits to get you started on your quest to CFE designation, and a copy of Shelly Sun’s book, Grow Smart Risk Less. The attendance at this session is limited to the first 500 franchisors with 100 units or less who sign up. Secure your spot early, as the inaugural bootcamp during IFA 2017 was sold out months in advance, so make your plans now!

Takeaways to Help Your Business

In early 2017, nearly 4,000 visitors attended IFA 2017 in Las Vegas, with more than 350 exhibitors. In addition to new programs, regular favorites from previous IFA Conventions will continue to play a major role in the 2018 event. Leading experts will serve as keynote speakers, sharing best practices about how to improve your business and prepare for the political environment the industry is facing. IFA 2018 will feature many of these similar insights to help energize your operations.

What Attendees Say:

ServiceMaster Director of Operations Development Jared Klepko learned a lot about marketing, and established new contacts, at IFA 2017. “My goal was to engage with some vendors and find out about best practices around franchise sales, re-sales and data analytics, and I’ve definitely gotten plenty of info about both,” he remarked.

Five Star Painting’s Vice President of Operations Matt Kunz has been to several IFA Conventions, and said that the content is getting better each year with “more people to pick their brains.” The biggest takeaway for Kunz from IFA 2017 was how to apply a scoring method to quantify the company’s franchisee engagement.

David Newman, Lawn Doctor’s Vice President of Operations, was a first-time visitor to IFA 2017 in Las Vegas. “I got some good ideas from the session on managing the bottom line, and I’ll be taking those back to use in our conversations about improving franchisee profitability,” he said.

“This is a must-attend conference, with incredible attendees, incredible content and incredible speakers,” said Greg Snyder, Associate Vice President of Business Partnerships for Capital One. “Those who attend are absolutely focuses on sharing what they know with others – it’s amazing.”

During IFA 2017, Magnolia Bakery Vice President of Franchise Operations Albert Hasse remarked that the convention is “getting better every year.” There’s a lot of information on trends in the industry, he continued, “which is always beneficial, because it helps my company calibrate where we’re heading. Anytime I go through the agenda and have a hard time deciding because there’s multiple great sessions at the same time, it’s a good sign.”


WHAT: IFA 2018 Annual Convention
WHERE: Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North 3rd Street, Phoenix, Ariz. 85004
WHEN: Feb. 10-13, 2018
WEBSITE: www.franchise.org/convention
CONTACT: 1-202-662-0763 or events@franchise.org

Read the Convention Brochure and continue to check www.franchise.org/convention for more information on IFA 2018 speakers, sessions and up-to-date scheduling adjustments as the event draws closer. We hope to see you in Phoenix!


IFA Chair Shelly Sun, CFE, is Founder and CEO of BrightStar Group Holdings, Inc., based in Gurnee, Ill. She is also Chair of the IFA Convention Committee. For more information about franchise opportunities at BrightStar Care, visit franchise.org/brightstar-care-franchise and franchise.brightstarcare.com.




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