Franchising affirmed as strong business model at national conference

The National Franchise Convention 2015 has focused on best practice, highlighting the importance of the franchising model to Australia’s small business sector.

Franchise Council of Australia chairman Michael Paul told more than 400 delegates at the conference that franchising provides the critical structure that cradles and supports Australia’s all-important small business community and he updated the community on the steps taken by the organisation in the light of the 7-Eleven workplace issues.

Paul used the conference to affirm the role of franchising.

“We are the backbone of Australia’s small business community,” he said. “Ninety five per cent of franchisors and almost all franchisees fall within the definition of a “small business.

“Our sector employs an estimated 460,000 plus people through an estimated 79,000 independently-owned and operated franchised outlets across approximately 1180 business franchise systems in Australia.

“We generate an estimated $144bn in turnover each year, achieving growth rates that outperform the broader small business market – backing up the premise that as a method of doing business – franchising is the optimum small business model.

“We know that the leaders of Australian franchise systems are highly skilled, ethical and committed men and women who generate national wealth, create jobs and through innovation ensure Australia keeps up with rapid, ongoing change.”

Paul also told the Convention that that the FCA, as the sector’s peak body, was continuing to work closely with the Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Australia in the wake of the 7-Eleven allegations.

“We, the FCA, support the immediate allocation of greater resources to allow the Fair Work Ombudsman to pursue breaches of workplace laws. We support the implementation of higher penalties for those who have been found to breach workplace laws. This is in our interests as a sector committed to best practice – and ensures that our members can compete in a business environment that is a level playing field.

“We will continue to work with the Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Australia to ensure the franchising sector undertakes best practice in workplace relations. We have, and we will continue to beat the drum on the need, the pressing need for the extension of powers and additional resourcing of Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman to ensure compliance.

Highlights of day one of the conference on the Gold Coast included keynote presentations from advertising guru Todd Sampson, former AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou and former Best & Less CEO, Holly Kramer.

The Convention program also featured sessions focusing on hot topics in franchising including brand protection and reputation management, proposed changes to unfair contracts laws and gaining maximum value from using technology, including social media.