By Mary Aldred, CEO, Franchise Council of Australia.
In one of the most difficult economic environments ever experienced by Australian business, both franchisors and franchisees have had to demonstrate resilience, adaptability and determination to push their businesses through the challenges.
The pandemic and associated restrictions disproportionately affected geographic areas and some niche markets, but franchising continued to demonstrate its strength as a business model.
While coronavirus lockdowns saw activity shrink sharply in the third quarter of 2021, accelerated vaccination rates have since allowed the Australian economy to reopen and consumption is rising.
The Reserve Bank of Australia forecasts that the rapid bounce back in domestic demand will continue as restrictions are further eased and Australia is projected to have greater economic growth in 2022 than most OECD countries. *
The September Quarter 2021 Australian Franchise Business “Pulse Check” survey showed a significant rebound in business confidence, with 76% of respondents optimistic about the year ahead, compared with only 22% in the June quarter.
The FCA is committed to continuing to work with government and policymakers to ensure that franchising remains the most successful model of small business ownership in Australia. Towards achieving that, the FCA will maintain focus on public advocacy and business support on the issues that are important to our members.
After many months of restrictions on events, we are looking forward to bringing you the 2021-22 National Franchise Convention in Melbourne in April 2022. A highlight will be the keynote address by leading demographer, Bernard Salt on emerging trends as Australia rebuilds and rewards businesses that are bold, proficient, agile and determined.
Another standout of the 2021-22 NFC program will be the entrepreneurial story of co-founder of Catch of the Day, Menulog, Scoopon and Luxury Escapes, Gabby Leibovich.
This really will be an unmissable opportunity to gather to share ideas, experiences and knowledge of strategies for consolidation, revitalisation, innovation and growth in a vastly changed business environment. Find out more at www.nationalfranchiseconvention.org.au
The FCA will also build on its successful 2021 program of issues-based webinars to again provide the opportunity for members to meet at face-to-face to events for networking and information exchange, as well as continuing to offer online events.
The FCA’s delayed Regional Revitalisation Initiative also will be relaunched in early 2022 to promote franchising as an efficient and innovative means of addressing service and small business ownership gaps in regional towns across Australia.
The Regional Revitalisation Initiative is even more relevant now with Covid providing the catalyst for many people to relocate from capital cities to nearby regions. It provides renewed incentive for franchise systems to look outside the metro areas as they pursue network growth.
The focus of the initiative in 2022 will be on linking franchise members, government facilitators and prospective local franchise operators to spark a new wave of small business expansion to the benefit of regional communities across the nation.
And we know that whether they are located in metropolitan or regional Australia, businesses that are part of a franchise network continue to outperform many other parts of the small-medium business sector.
The FCA is optimistic that the innovation and resilience demonstrated by franchised businesses over the past two years will ensure that they will be at the forefront of national recovery in 2022.
Note: * IMF WEO October 2021