Change and opportunity key to franchising: NFC

NFC23 change
The Hon Julie Collins, Minister for Small Business, Housing and Homelessness, opened NFC23. (Source: Franchise Executives)

AI, the age of empowerment and generational change brought by Gen Z are three major influences that franchisors and franchisees cannot avoid.

At the National Franchise Conference 2023 keynote speaker Michael McQueen told the assembled delegates to be future-focused.

“Think progress, not precedent. Think about the future not the past. We can so easily be a hostage to the past. We can get fixated on consistent models,” he said.

McQueen warned that taking a defensive stance to change is a dangerous strategy for business.

Greg Nathan, founder of Franchise Relationships Institute, unveiled new thinking about effecting change in a franchise network using eight principles: fairness, respect, acknowledgement, non-defensiveness, connection, helpfulness, involvement, stakeholders and evidence.

“Emotional intelligence is more important than artificial intelligence when it comes to implementing change,” said Nathan.

Minister for Small Business highlights regulatory change

This year’s two-day NFC was opened by the Hon Julie Collins, Minister for Small Business, Housing, and Homelessness.

In her Ministerial Address, the Minister referenced the recent Federal Budget and its impact on small business, and the upcoming Franchising Code of Conduct regulatory review.

The Minister highlighted financial assistance for energy bills, a Small Business Energy Incentive, instant asset write-off, and tax process improvements.

“Reducing the time spent doing taxes is another way we’re making life easier for small businesses. It’s one of the things I hear most from small businesses about how government can better support them.”

The Minister said the Government is meeting with the FCA and other stakeholders to help determine its approach to a review of the Franchising Code of Conduct.

“We want to make sure we’ve heard directly from you about what you want to see out of this review process,” she told the delegates. “Broader consultation is likely to start in the second half of the year and I look forward to providing you with more details.”

New CEO for FCA

The NFC was the first opportunity for newly appointed Franchise Council of Australia CEO, Matthew Monaghan, to meet many FCA members and conference delegates.

Less than a fortnight into his role, Monaghan said his first 10 days heading up the organisation revealed a sense of community in the franchise sector.

He said he had been welcomed into the sector and was ready to start implementing strategy.

“We will be working with state chapters, members and partners to really drive engagement,” he said.

A recent strategic planning session has set the tone for the FCA’s actions this year.

“How can we leverage the advocacy done so far, how we can look at influencing other organisations, and one of the other key areas is how do we drive education?” Monaghan revealed.

The NFC23 runs from Monday 15 to Tuesday 16 May at The Star on the Gold Coast.