As she begins her two-year tenure as Chair of the International Franchise Association, FASTSIGNS CEO, Catherine Monson, sets out her vision for franchising in 2020, and beyond.
It is with great pride this year that FASTSIGNS sees its CEO, Catherine Monson, take the Chair at the International Franchise Association (IFA). The IFA is the world’s leading body for the advancement of franchising and an unparalleled global resource for investors and business owners. This new post is a truly industry-defining role elevating Catherine front and centre of the international franchise sector.
Catherine plans to take full advantage of the opportunities this role gives her to make a positive impact on the industry, and in raising standards for Franchisors and Franchisees, everywhere.
“With the IFA, I’ve had the opportunity to be on the Board of Directors since 2007,” Catherine says, “I have been involved for over 13 years, now. The area of the industry which have been important to me the whole time I have served on the Board, are the same areas I will be looking to positively influence, whilst I have the opportunity, within my two year tenure as Chair.”
Aside from facilitating the IFA’s key responsibilities of providing advocacy and resources to the sector, Catherine plans to use her time to focus on two key areas:
- The first of these is government relations with franchising: “There are people who are elected to a political position, but have never run a business. They don’t understand the practicalities that impact business owners. In order to protect the franchise business model, I think governments should stay out of the contractual franchisor- franchisee relationship. Many politicians – particularly in America – believe franchisors are taking advantage of their franchisees, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I want to ensure governments do not enforce any legislation which could potentially harm the franchise industry.”
Even before becoming Chair, Catherine spent a great deal of time in Washington D.C. educating congressmen on the issues facing small businesses and franchising. So, she intends to continue being outspoken as she advocates the role franchising plays around the world. Catherine believes it is vital for governments to understand the positive impact franchises like FASTSIGNS can have on their local communities, by providing sustainable employment and growth, as well as nationally on the economy.
- Her second key objective is to help spread the best practice shown by the most prominent and up-and-coming franchise brands. Promoting successful business and management models gives franchisees the best possible opportunities for growing a profitable business, and aligns perfectly with many of the founding principles of the IFA. “I want to encourage franchisees to be more engaged in the IFA” Catherine explains. “I want to help franchisors avoid making mistakes and having unhappy franchisees who fail or go out of business. Franchisor-Franchisee relationships, listening, innovation and keeping your brand relevant – I want to teach all these best practices to new franchisors.” Having high standards and a trusted reputation, are essential for global business success and are among the biggest advantages of joining an established franchise.
Much of Catherine’s expertise in these areas, of course, comes from her own experiences with FASTSIGNS, and the policies she has implemented to drive it to a large scale, global brand. FASTSIGNS now operates in almost 700 centres, operating in 9 countries; including the US, Canada, the UK, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Grand Cayman, Mexico, Chile and Australia.
Catherine’s tenure as Chair is not only a testament to her ability and success, but is also a badge of honour for the FASTSIGNS franchise, as a whole. It is a glowing endorsement of the power of the FASTSIGNS brand and the extraordinary level of leadership and management it, and its franchisees, benefit from.