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Franchise season's greetings
Written on the 19 December 2011 by Lorelle Frazer
What a year 2011 has been for franchises.
From the start of the year with the floods, earthquakes and a tsunami across different parts of the Asia-Pacific, the focus was on disaster recovery tips and disaster management planning.
Recently the Australian Federal government also launched a new iPad App to help franchises and businesses with emergencies, however hopefully it won’t be needed this holiday season.
With turbulent economic conditions, (not helped by the natural disasters), this year saw a number of franchise systems (and independent) businesses become insolvent, including book chains Borders and Angus and Robertson.
(On the up side a number of franchises also went from strength to strength despite the early set backs of the year with PoolWerx, Jett’s Fitness, Domino’s and Top Snap to name only a few of many, announcing strong growth).
The inaugural Franchise Performance Metrics research also revealed the mixed impact of the downturn on the franchise sector, as well as providing insights into franchisor performance, based on financial data, for the first time.
The research showed, (among more than 60 other findings) that retail food franchises performed the strongest in the 12 months prior.
Despite this, services franchises were proving the most popular among prospective franchisees undertaking the Centre’s free online pre-entry franchise education program. Only a year and a half old, the program, funded by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, now has more than 2000 registrants.
Australian State Franchise Legislation Debate
In Australia 2011 also saw great debate around the introduction of State-based franchise legislation (in addition to the national franchise regulations already in place).
There is now the potential for changes to franchise regulations in South Australia with the passing of the Small Business Commissioner Bill late in the year, and state-based franchise legislation is back on the cards in Western Australia, despite the quashing of an almost identical Bill less than a month prior, with an outcome expected in early 2012.
And with the change in Australian Federal Small Business Minister as recently as this week, with former Minister Nick Sherry announcing his retirement and being replaced by Mark Arbib, who was also given the role of assistant treasurer (as part of a wider cabinet reshuffle), the topic of franchise regulations will be one to watch in 2012.
Greater Franchise Dispute Resolution Services
This year also saw the introduction of new franchise conflict early intervention services offered by the Office of the Franchising Mediation Adviser to aid in franchise conflict dispute resolution.
By addressing issues early franchisors and franchisees are more likely to resolve the situation and maintain a healthy franchise relationship, unlike The Cheesecake Shop example which popped up earlier in the year. Here are some tips to avoid disgruntled franchisee attacks. In The Cheesecake Shop situation it appeared the ‘issue’ resulted from a refurbishment request, however the Franchise Performance Metrics research shows the majority of franchisees are required to undertake refurbishments.
After an influx of United States franchise systems taking an interest in expanding their operations into Australia in 2010, franchises from the UK began to eye Australia in 2011.
And if you’re after a bit of inspiration from franchising over the holiday season, here’s a few of my most popular blog posts from throughout the year:
Also, if you’re looking to improve your franchise skills in 2012 there’s still time to get your application in.
On behalf of the Centre I’d like to wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season, and thank you for your support throughout 2011.
Without your input and support we wouldn’t be able to produce the research and best practice initiatives developed by the Centre. Together we can make 2012 the best year for franchising yet.
P.s. The Centre will be hosting a number of professional development and networking events in 2012. Two of these include the Franchise Forum 2012 on June 6 and the Franchise Marketing Forum 2012 on November 21, so remember to save the dates in your diary.
P.p.s. Please note the Centre will be closed from December 23, reopening on January 9. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, however will be back recharged and ready to assist in any way we can.
Author: Lorelle Frazer