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Who Wasn’t At The 2018 IFA Convention…

Last week, at the 2018 International Franchise Association Annual Convention (Now that’s a mouthful…), there were thousands and thousands of the franchise world together in Phoenix. Franchisors, franchisees, and over 350 suppliers came together to talk about making next year better than last. I was personally amazed by the sheer number of attendees.

However, I was more surprised, given the clout of the attendees, who was not there.

According to Wikipedia, here’s a list of the most valuable IT companies in the world:

Here is the Forbes 2017 list for “software and programming”:

And here are the most valuable internet companies:

These are the big dogs of the tech world. Of course you’ve heard of companies like Apple, Amazon, Google (Alphabet), and Salesforce. But all and all, you’re looking at a list of 40-50 of the most important companies in our space.

Not a single one of these companies were at the convention.

So what does that mean? I can think of a few takeaways:

1) Franchises aren’t on the enterprise tier

How do you get to tens of billions in revenue? Service big, big companies. When these companies are looking at who their customers should be, they start at the top and work down. They want to work with the companies who can pay them the most. They have individual customers who are paying them tens of millions of dollars a year! Franchisors just aren’t there. There are, of course, a few franchisors who are big enough to be on the radar of these tech companies but it reality, it’s not that many.

2) Franchises aren’t likely to be exposed to “the cutting edge”

The most well-funded technology companies are the ones responsible for pushing forward the technology agenda across the world. If you were to write down a lost of the ten most exciting innovations in tech over the last five years, I promise you all ten could be attributed to a company on one of these lists. (Or, perhaps more likely, was acquired by one of the companies on this list!) It makes sense then that franchises don’t get exposure to the cutting edge. Rather they’re going to get access to tech a couple years after it gets popularized.

3) Franchises tech needs will have to be filled by more specialized players

So if the big guys aren’t doing it, who is? (He types as he sheepishly raises his hand…) That’s right! Us! And companies like us. Franchising is almost exclusively serviced by niche players for tech. Think about how many tech companies alone have “Fran” in the name! FranFunnel, FranConnect, FRANdata, Franpos, you get the idea. If you’re a franchise looking for a technological solutions to a series of problems, then you’re almost certain to have to go to someone already in the industry.

Eli Robinson is the COO of Metric Collective, the parent company of FranchiseHelp. He deleted his Facebook account in 2011.

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