International Franchise Association in the US
The International Franchise Association is a US-based organisation that advocates for favourable laws and policies for franchisors and franchisees. Founded over 50 years ago in 1960, it’s played a major part in the development of franchising over the years and continues to have a big impact on the industry. Working with government organisations, the media and educational programmes to improve understanding of franchising and create economic conditions that favour franchisors, the International Franchise Association is an integral part of the franchising world.
As the body is so influential, we decided to take a look at the history of the International Franchise Association, the role it plays in the modern franchise world and the impact it’s had on the industry in general. Keep reading to find out more.
History of International Franchise Association
The International Franchise Association, or IFA, was founded by a group of franchisors and franchisees. It’s one of the oldest, if not the oldest, organisation supporting franchises and their owners. Its activities help to promote and protect around 760,000 franchise establishments that together support a staggering 7.6 million direct jobs and generate $674.3 billion of economic output for the US. That works out to an impressive 2.5% of GDP, making it easy to see why the franchise industry is so important in the US and around the world. IFA members include franchised companies in over 300 different business format categories as well as individual franchisees and companies that work to support the franchise industry.
What are the goals of International Franchise Association?
One of the main goals of the International Franchise Association is to ensure high standards are met and maintained across the world of franchising. The organisation has created a rigid code of ethics that all members must follow. The code begins: ‘Every franchise relationship is founded on the mutual commitment of both parties to fulfil their obligations under the franchise agreement. Each party will fulfil its obligations, will act consistently with the interests of the brand, and will not act so as to harm the brand and system.’ It then calls on all members of the organisations to be honest, loyal and sincere while working towards the industry ideals of customer satisfaction and trust between franchisor and franchisee.
Throughout the International Franchise Association’s mission statement and code of ethics there is an emphasis on the importance of building a good relationship between franchisor and franchisee. One of the cornerstones of the industry, no franchise can survive without the hard work and investment of its dedicated franchisees. The mutual interdependence of franchisor and franchisee makes the relationship unique in the business world, so it’s essential that those working in the industry appreciate the importance of maintaining this bond.
As well as reiterating the importance of the franchisor–franchisee relationship, the International Franchise Association works to ensure everyone involved with the industry follows the relevant rules and regulations that govern it. By enforcing these standards, the IFA helps to maintain the reputation of the industry and prevent rogue franchisors and franchisees from having a negative impact on franchising.
In order to enforce their code of ethics, the IFA encourages franchisors and franchisees to voice their concerns and to offer suggestions on how the IFA can meet the needs of its members. If any members become aware of violations of the code of ethics, they’re encouraged to report them to the IFA for the organisation to investigate.
Conflict resolution is another important part of what the International Franchise Association does. Even in the best franchisor–franchisee relationship, disputes are likely to occur occasionally and it’s important that those involved have the resources they need to resolve the issue as quickly as possible if the business is going to remain unaffected. Although many of the larger franchises will have in-house conflict resolution procedures, the resources and information that the IFA offers can go a long way to helping the franchisor and franchisee come to an agreement.
Franchise information, resources and franchise advice
The International Franchise Association offers a wealth of resources and franchise advice to both those involved in the industry and those looking for information about franchising. The organisation believes that all potential franchisors and franchisees need to clearly understand the franchise model before entering into any sort of business relationship. Franchisors in particular need to be well informed about the concept as they’ll need to be able to answer any queries or questions the franchisee has both before they invest and once they’ve entered into the business relationship.
The information on the IFA website covers everything including advice on questions to ask a franchisor before investing in their business, criteria to help select a good franchisee, information on legal documents and contracts and advice on where to get help and support. It also covers the basic ideas of the franchise model and what makes the concept so unique. If franchisors or franchisees can’t find the information they’re looking for on the IFA site, there are links to other groups and organisations that may be able to help further.
The International Franchise Association has three main strategic priorities: advocacy, growth and performance. Their priority when it comes to advocacy is to identify and manage risks to the franchise model. The organisation works to optimise federal and state political strategy to benefit franchises and improve the image of franchising to make advocacy for the industry easier and more effective.
When it comes to growth, the IFA aims to foster consistent and sustainable franchise systems that will help the industry as a whole to prosper. Where possible, they look for ways to enhance the franchise business model to benefit both franchisors and franchisees as well as suppliers. The organisation also aims to promote franchising to the general public, so that more people are aware of the benefits and unique attributes of the business model.
When it comes to international growth, the IFA tries to support the international expansion of franchises. They do this through a combination of information, resources, networking and awareness. Franchises looking to expand internationally will find entire toolkits that have been specially created for ambitious entrepreneurs. The toolkit includes information on talks and presentations given on subjects as diverse as exporting goods abroad, legal and regulatory requirements of franchising and how to prepare your franchise to go international.
The IFA also has links and detailed information on franchise laws in a large number of countries around the world, as well as well-researched country profiles to assist franchisor research.
Last but not least, the International Franchise Association has a list of current franchise opportunities available across the US. From automotive to retail and education to cleaning, the organisation has up-to-date information on a wide variety of exciting franchises looking for investment. Although this won’t come in useful for UK-based entrepreneurs, it’s a great resource for US business people looking for good-quality investment opportunities.
A unique and lucrative business model, franchising is a popular choice for ambitious companies looking to expand.
If you’re thinking about investing in a franchise or are considering becoming a franchisor yourself, you’ll find a wealth of relevant information on our site. Take a look around today to find out more or to begin your journey to becoming a franchisee