Surviving disruption in business: conference

By Sarah Stowe | 18 Apr 2019 View comments

An action packed one day conference to help the franchise community survive disruption is coming up in Perth.

The speaker list includes McDonald’s WA state manager Brad McMullen, Soul Origin’s Chris Mavris, Just Cuts’ founder Denis McFadden,  FCA CEO Mary Aldred, FCA chairman and Gutter-Vac founder Warren Ballantyne.

Organised by the WA FCA chapter, the conference is designed for senior franchise executives, field support and business development managers, master franchisees, multi-unit and single site franchisees as well as advisors and suppliers.

Conference convenor John Brown says “Disruption is the new normal in business, and in some ways in life for many of us. Once upon a time we simply called it ‘change’. However, the pace of change today is far and away faster than ever before and so the term disruption is certainly apt.

“We have a program packed full of feature keynote speakers, each of whom will share incredible knowledge and insights that will help you to be better at what you do in the time of
disruption. Each speaker would be a keynote in any other programme, we just happen to have them all on the same day.”

There will also be a panel of franchisees and franchisors to ‘talk the talk’ about key issues in the franchise sector.

Surviving disruption

Speaker and FCA chairman Warren Ballantyne says “Disruption can be good or bad. We’re living disruption as we speak, every day. Every year in our business life it has been disruptive. It is continuous improvement. If you’re not disrupting yourself, get out of business.”

Marketing, social media, and artificial intelligence is all part of disruption today, he says.

Franchisors need to be on board with digital and voice search, to stay competitive, he suggests.

Ballantyne will be interviewed at the conference on keeping ahead in business.

His top tip? “Don’t just listen to people but hear what they’re saying. Take advice,” he says.

Lack of trust in business

Sue Papadoulis, former journalist and founder of Profile Media Communications, will also be speaking at the conference.

Papadoulis believes consumers no longer think that if a franchise company is big, it must be good. And she suggests lack of trust is a concern. “I think that’s also a disruptive move across the board in business. The challenge is for business is to portray a trustworthy, credible brand that consumers can believe in and they can connect to,” she says.

Disruption only work if the consumer wants it

Soul Origin CEO Chris Mavris points to the role of the sandwich, salad and coffee chain in shaking-up the food market.

“Over the last four or five years we’ve been the disrupters in the market, we’ve brought retail back to retail,” he says.

“You need to give customers what they are looking for, there’s no such thing as disruption for the sake of disruption,” he adds. “Disruption will only work if you are giving the consumer what the consumer wants.”

The consumer is getting smarter and more time poor, he says, and it’s easy to get left behind.

“The moment you get it wrong, it’s quite easy for the whole world to know,” says Mavris, referencing the recent Soul Origin Vegemite issue.

FCA WA one day conference

The one-day event takes place on 14 May 2019. It returns after an eight year absence.

As well as the inspirational discussions there will be success stories, insights into real life challenges, and some practical takeaways.