I’ve just returned from a two-day special training session sponsored by the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives (ICFE). ICFE held this session right before the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) 52nd Annual Convention so franchise executives could attend both with only one trip away from their businesses. I could not stay for the entire IFA Convention as it conflicted with Valentine’s Day – one of the biggest holidays of the year for Edible Arrangements, but as a Certified Franchise Executive I did not want to miss out on the opportunity to present at one of the ICFE sessions. I was honored to be asked to be a part of the “Managing System Change – Challenges and Opportunities” training session. The session was moderated by Michael Seid, CEO and Managing Partner of MSA Worldwide. Michael has been a huge influence in my life and has helped guide me since the very beginning (I’ll save that story for another blog entry). Other presenters were Kay Ainsley, CFE, Managing Director at MSA Worldwide; John Francis, Strategic Business Advisor at PostNet International Franchise Corporation and Stuart Hershmann, Partner at the law firm of DLA Piper, whose area of expertise is franchise law and who has been Edible Arrangements external franchise attorney, and trusted friend, for many years.

The session focused on the unique challenges of managing change in the context of the franchisor/franchisee relationship and understanding the types of things that drive change: brand innovation, pricing strategies, different classes of franchisee ownership, second generation franchisee ownership, international expansion, mergers and acquisitions, and introducing or eliminating products and services. We also explored case histories with examples of successful and unsuccessful change strategies.

I am particularly interested in the subject of change in business because to me, change is synonymous with growth. A smart company continuously examines its product offerings and operational procedures, and measures what it’s doing against what customers want. If you are not adapting to respond to consumer’s ever-changing appetites, market trends, economic conditions and other factors that directly impact your business, you are not growing. And when you’re not growing, your business is dying. It’s that simple.

ICFE offers a wide range of continuing education programs to franchise executives for professional development. They also offer a certification program that leads to the “Certified Franchise Executive” (CFE) designation. . For more information on becoming a Certified Franchise Executive visit the IFA website.

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