In just four weeks the franchise industry will gather in Orlando FL for IFA’s (International Franchise Association) 52nd Annual Convention.

Is it your first time to the annual convention? Are you prepared to network with 3k people in the franchise industry? Can I help?  Send me an email devans.ce@gmail.com  and let’s schedule time to chat.

In the meantime, here are a few tips:

Business cards

Social Business Card

This is stating the obvious and I’m sure you have your cards ready but do they include your social connections? Have you listed your Website, Twitter handle, Facebook and Blog link? Do you have a photo? What about a QR code leading to one of your social platforms?

If you hurry you might be able to order FREE Facebook MOO cards! Find the link here

Planner

There is an app for that! IFA is offering a smartphone app that provides schedule of events, lists of speakers, exhibitors, session descriptions, handouts and much more! App link 

For some it might be easier to view the brochure via this link as you add events to your calendar on your smartphone:

Meet Industry Leaders

One of the highlights is the  The CEO Business Solution Roundtable session held on Monday February 13th (2:45-4:45). Some of franchising’s most accomplished leaders (CEOs, CFOs, COOs, Presidents, and Executive Vice Presidents) are available to share their success stories and moderate discussions on franchise relations, sales, operations, etc.

The complete list of approximately 50-75 tables and the moderators will be in the conference material received at registration. Take time to view the list. There will be a huge variety of topics and moderators. Consider learning more about the moderator on LinkedIn or their Website prior to the session.

Keep in mind that you will only have the opportunity to attend two 35 minute sessions.  If the two (tables) you want to attend are at opposite ends of the room, you may not get to both. Imagine a room with 3k people moving from one table to another in a period of a five minute break between sessions.  If you want to attend the session at table 10 and then table 78 the chances that you can easily glide from one table to the other is unlikely but not impossible.  Plan your route (seriously).   As much as you may want to, it is not acceptable to stand on the tables and move from one to the other until you reach your destination. Choose your tables wisely!

Largest Networking Events in the Industry

This is not the time to be shy or humble. Have your business cards in hand and be ready to meet as many people as possible. Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to the IFA staff. They do a fabulous job putting the convention together and are a great group of individuals.

Matt Haller

Matt Haller (IFA) Paul Segreto (franchisEssentials) Jack Monson (Engage 121)


As a first time attendee you will be notified by an IFA Ambassador. The IFA Ambassador will contact you prior to the convention. Their goal is to make you feel comfortable at the convention; understand the services IFA offers and how to get the most out of the convention.

Plan to attend the reception held specifically for those members that are new to the Convention and to the IFA.  The reception is Saturday, February 11th from 5:30pm – 6:30pm in Grand 7 at the Orlando World Center Marriott.

Taste of Franchising will follow and it is one of the most popular events! It is a one of kind networking event that showcases some of the best food that franchising has to offer.

IFA TweetUp

Whether you are curious about social media or already engaged – the #IFA2012 TweetUp should not be missed! Join us after the Taste of Franchising at the Main Lobby Bar and Veranda in the Marriott. Enjoy cocktails and social media conversations. RSVP http://tweetvite.com/event/ifa2012

Don’t forget to view the exhibit list and schedule time to attend the exhibit hall events. There are always games, door prizes and of course the opportunity to learn more from the IFA approved vendors who provide innovative and cost-effective products, solutions and services.

Don’t Go Home Disappointed

Planning should start now, not when you arrive in Orlando. Decide on the sessions you want to attend, schedule time with those you want to meet with, and make a list of what vendors you need to spend time with during Exhibit Hall hours.

If you have extra time and planning to visit Disney World here is a link to FASTPASS  which will cut your wait at some of the attractions. http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/fast-pass/

I’m busy preparing for my session Twitter Frontier: Harnessing the Power of Social Media While Protecting Your Franchise System with Todd Leiser,  Chad Cohen and David Beyer. I have the app and loading my calendar, viewing speaker bios, and scheduling meeting with vendors.

What tips and suggestions do you have to share?