David is the business writer for the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua Daily Post.

Franchise stars flock to region

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David Foster,  Franchise Association co-ordinator for Waikato/BOP.
David Foster, Franchise Association co-ordinator for Waikato/BOP.

About 120 delegates are expected in the Bay of Plenty this week for the 2016 New Zealand Franchise Conference.

The event - held today and tomorrow at Trinity Wharf Hotel in Tauranga - will feature homegrown New Zealand brands that have achieved international success.

In addition, V8 Supercar legend Greg Murphy, four-time winner of the Bathurst 1000, will talk about leadership, high performance, staying motivated under pressure and the meaning of teamwork.

Headlining this year's Building the Brand theme is an international achievers panel session featuring Fastway managing director Bruce Speers, and JUCY tourism brand co-founder Tim Alpe. Other key speakers will include Mitre 10 general manager of retail operations Ben Leduc and McDonald's restaurant solutions group manager Karla Brennan.

The Franchise Association's Waikato/BOP co-ordinator and Harris Tate Lawyers director David Foster said Tauranga was a hotbed of franchising.

"Tauranga is a superb place to live and a lot of people are looking at buying businesses here," said Mr Foster.

"Plus, franchises are perfect for people who want to be self-employed but not alone."

A former chairman of the national body, who spent more than a decade on the association's board, Mr Foster said he was delighted the city had finally got the opportunity to host the event.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said such conferences were good for the city because they brought the latest ideas and new business opportunities.

And while Tauranga could not yet compete for the largest conferences, it was still a viable option for niche events such as the NZ Franchise Conference.

"Franchising is a great option for people looking to get into business quickly without the pain of building a new business from scratch, or the experience to do it themselves," he said.

"But you still need to do your homework and make sure the figures stack up and the customer demand is a genuine one.

"We see some people new to franchising jump in too quickly without doing a full due diligence."

Franchise Association of NZ chief executive Robyn Pickerill said the conference was the "pinnacle event" for franchising in New Zealand. And with the franchising community growing, the conference provided an opportunity for franchisors to increase their expertise and strengthen their relationships with their franchisees.

Ms Pickerill said she believed such knowledge was key to strengthening the franchise community, leading to a healthier environment for franchisors, franchisees and end users.

The event would also help attendees forge relationships with others from a variety of fields, she said.

Conference:

What: 2016 New Zealand Franchise Conference.

When: Today and tomorrow

Where: Trinity Wharf Hotel, Tauranga.

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