14 Jan FCA maintains focus on member support
By Mary Aldred, CEO, Franchise Council of Australia.
After the trials and tribulations of 2020, in 2021 most businesses are cautiously looking towards a better year ahead.
The restrictions and resulting tough economic climate have demanded adaptability, determination and innovation by all businesses and franchising has stood out as one of the most resilient business models.
However, many franchise businesses have been operating in the hardest-hit sectors – food and catering, hospitality, travel and home services – and have relied heavily on the FCA for guidance, support and advocacy.
This year the will FCA continue to focus on three key priorities:
- supporting members with access to information, resources and support through the transition from Covid-19 lockdowns and trading restrictions to business reopening
- advocating and representing the interests of members to all levels of government on the issues, concerns and needs of our members and the small business sector
- and through the media, enhancing the standing and reputation of franchising as the preferred model for small-medium business success, including highlighting the resilience of franchise systems during the challenges of 2020.
The FCA has engaged deeply at all levels of government both informally and formally in recent months, including:
- facilitating COVID-safe business recovery by emphasising the specific assistance and regulatory changes needed by diverse business sectors
- bringing bad commercial leasing practices and landlord misconduct to their attention and urging government intervention
- reinforcing the need for fairness in application of operating rules across sectors, including highlighting disparity between public and private outdoor workers
- encouraging Federal Treasury and state governments to introduce or continue support for struggling businesses and workers facing unemployment
- making submissions on specific issues to various state government small business departments on business restrictions, exemptions, customer registers and industrial relations
The core of our advocacy has been a concerted campaign of dialogue with members to test government policy and temporary regulatory changes, as well as to provide input on specific measures requested by members.
Feedback from FCA members, supported by a high level of membership renewal and retention (around 90%, plus 15 new members since July 2020) is that they feel they have been supported, listened to and represented through access to information and resources, and government advocacy.
Concurrently, the FCA has continued to provide input on Franchising Code of Conduct reforms, based on the input of members on the negative impacts of specific measures.
Whatever 2021 brings, the FCA will strive to support the ongoing success of our members and more broadly franchising and small business across Australia.