At the end of February we held our annual Franchise Meeting in Birmingham. Despite the huge amount of work that goes into both the preparation and follow up to the meeting, it's a day I really look forward to each year.
I speak to my franchisees at least once a month, email them regularly and see most of them during the year; however, meeting up with everyone together is great. I consider my franchisees as extended family - I know about their lives outside of Musical Minis and they know about mine. The annual Franchise Meeting provides an opportunity for us to all work together to achieve the most across our franchise network.
This year the build up to the meeting was hectic. There have been a number of recommendations and changes to the law which led us to update our policies, so that Musical Minis can remain a champion of best practice. This was on top of the usual statistical and analytical information that we provide - each franchisee is given 10 different graphs showing their own franchise as compared to the franchise as a whole in relation to members, income etc.
This year we held the Franchise Meeting in a 4 star hotel in Birmingham. On the Friday before the meeting we drove up after packing the car with everything the franchisees had ordered from me, so they could benefit from not having to pay postage. Some stock had to be sent up separately, otherwise we would have needed a lorry to transport everything!
Franchisees know it's their meeting and we cover aspects of the business they wish us to. Therefore it's not surprising but nevertheless really rewarding when we have a full turn out. This year we virtually had a full house with just a couple of franchisees not being able to attend - just having had a 2nd child and a 6 hour journey each way with a breastfeeding baby is an understandable reason not to come! Franchisees often come with husbands and children and this year was no exception. It's really lovely to see how the children have grown over the year and for Musical Minis to be as much part of their lives as it was for my own children.
As usual, the meeting seemed to be over so quickly. It takes the whole day but so much is discussed that time passes really fast. The ideas and views which are shared, result in everyone leaving feeling positive about the future. The franchisees have fully bought in to the Musical Minis programme, including it's developmental background and aims, so this is never questioned and the time spent discussing enhancements to the programme is always time well spent.
It's now over a week since the Franchise Meeting and I still have a bit of sorting out to do, mainly putting away information I took with me. The minutes have all been written and circulated. Franchisees have been reminded of the things they need to follow up on and we are aware of what we need to do. In fact, this year we've been super efficient and have already made quite an impact on the items we needed to follow up on. I find the annual meetings inspiring and from the feedback received, it seems that the franchisees do too.
I feel very lucky to have a lovely team of franchisees who I really do like; both to work with and as people. It makes it all so worthwhile.
For more information on Musical Minis, go to www.musicalminis.co.uk and see Karen’s Musical Minis blog at http://learningmadefun.
For more information on franchise opportunities, go to workingmums.co.uk's FranchiseZone and see Musical Minis' entry there.