On the last weekend of April/start of May, we held our annual conference down at Coolangatta and I would say, it was our best conference yet.
We had a huge turnout of franchisees and their partners and once again, not only was a lot of learning done, there was also a lot of fun had.
Over the years we have discovered what our franchisees like at conference and it is not big keynote or celebrity speakers. What they really love is ‘talking shop’ with each other. They like to learn something new for their business – technical and business. They like to learn the newest innovations and they like to hear what has been happening in Gutter-Vac as a group over the last year.
For this reason we set out our conferences with lots of interaction for the franchisees because just like any franchise group, the best lessons that a franchisee will get for their own business, usually come from another franchisees. For this reason, our conference content is set up to facilitate this, it starts these conversations that go from the conference room, to dinner and a drink at the bar.
Over the two days of conference, our franchisees love to talk to each other and get involved. We have franchisees share new information and this year will added optional master classes after the official session on the first day. We had two franchisees share new innovations they were using.
On the afternoon of the first day we always have a fun, team building activity. This year we did African drumming! Yes, we were a bit worried at how the franchisees would take this on, but there was no need to worry as the franchisees jump in – boots and all – to these activities and have a really fun time and learn to work as a team. Even the guys running the drumming said that it didn’t take much to ‘warm up’ the crowd, the franchisees jumped in straight away and there was a lot of laughter – and of course drumming – in the group.
After two days of conference we have our annual awards dinner and it is just amazing to recognise those franchisees that have been playing at the top of their business. This year was an incredible experience with some new franchisees entering the award winners who were shocked to realise they had performed to such a high level. It is a great feeling to give an award to people who I know have worked hard, overcome challenges and still ended up on top. A short speech was made by our winners and I was really humbled to hear their words and what the business meant for them. What was truly amazing was their words of thanks to the group as a whole and to specific franchisees (generally their neighbouring franchisee) for their help to the winner’s business. Great stuff!
So planning for next year’s conference begins shortly and I’m excited to see what we can come up with to try and top this year’s conference. It will be a big ask, but we are up for it because what it does for our franchisees and their individual businesses is amazing and what it does for the group as a whole is just brilliant.