Making the most of Franchise Exhibitions

Want to work for yourself, but not by yourself? Looking to invest in a franchise?

Franchising can sometimes feel like a big ‘leap’ into the unknown, but luckily for you the franchisors have already ironed out the rookie errors, overcome the hurdles and have established a trial and tested model that works! You’re buying into an established brand and a business that is already successful (which is why only around 5% fail compared to around 80% failure rate of new SME’s). 

Attending a franchise show is the best way to find the ideal franchise for you.

On the next page you’ll find The International Franchise Show’s top 10 tips to make the most out of franchise exhibitions helping you find your perfect franchise.

But the real hard work starts before you arrive at the venue!

1) Plan and Target
The first thing you should do before attending a franchise exhibition is to plan! 

At franchise exhibitions you’ll find hundreds of brands ranging from fast food to cleaning franchises and everything in between – we suggest printing off the exhibitor list from the website and circling those brands that potentially interest you.

Research the exhibitors. Work out how much you need to earn, and how much you need to invest. Think about what you’re good at, and what you’re not. Remember that banks like franchising, so try and find out how much you could potentially borrow. Write a CV to bring to the show. Investing in a franchise is a two-way process. The franchisor needs to recruit the right candidate as much as you need to find the right opportunity – and a CV is a quick way to explain who you are.

Speak to someone first, this is a life changing decision.

2) Seek out opportunities
A lot of exhibitions offer a variety of extra features such as 1-2-1 appointments with industry experts, facilitated networking, master license matchmaking services, franchise zones or pavilions, and VIP areas. Check out all the features on offer and book in key ones in advance – we recommend at least two months prior to the show date to avoid disappointment.

3) Stay in the Loop
Follow the shows’ social media accounts to keep up to date with speaker announcements, key information, new brands/ sponsors and everything else you need to know. Exhibitions will usually release important information via social media channels, emails or via press releases. In order to be the first to know, make sure you follow key social media accounts or better still sign up to the newsletter. 

4) Know Your Pitch
Prepare a 60 second pitch. Essentially sell yourself and network with, as many brands that fit your interest.

5) Prepare Questions
Formulate a checklist of what you want from a potential franchise. Use the checklist to branch off questions that meet these requirements. Think of this as what you want work-wise. Are you happy working weekends and travelling to a variety of destinations, or are you profoundly destined to work in one location with a lucrative schedule that allows you to manage out of work commitments. Perhaps you have other aspirations… 

Whatever you seek, be sure to have a set of questions ready that answer your checklist – don’t be afraid to say ‘no thanks’ if the opportunity isn’t right for you. Allow time to reflect, and if the opportunity confirms your ideal franchise also don’t be afraid to proceed to the steps. 

6) Attend Seminars, Clinics and Advice Zones
Expand your knowledge by attending free seminars, clinics and advice zones from some of the best-known experts in the industry. Gain inspiration from keynote speakers, motivation from franchise entrepreneurs, and broaden your horizons through advice workshops, you’ll be driven to start-up your venture in no time! 

7) Think!
Exhibitions of any kind can sometimes be quite overwhelming, especially if you’re not set on a particular business area. With franchises ranging from under £10,000 to over £500,000 investing in the right opportunity can be a daunting thought. Think about what your aspirations are. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? What are you hoping to achieve? And most importantly reflect on what drove you to consider franchising in the first place; was it a particular brand, or a bunch of companies that all have something in common.

Whatever your budget is, ensure you take ample amounts of breaks throughout the day to recap on the conversations you’ve had, and weigh-up the best franchise opportunity for you.

8) Embrace the Unknown
This one’s a real curve ball! Maybe you’ve come across a brand, which you hadn’t ever considered – don’t act on impulse, be open-minded. Perhaps there’s a brand that offers an exciting opportunity that fits your criteria, or maybe there’s a new franchise that offers something new to market. Whatever it is, maintain and open mind, you might just be thrown a wildcard.

9) Allow Time
A no-brainer! Ensure you have given yourself enough time to visit prospects, don’t leave anything to the last minute, factor in talks, seminars or any other features and plan your networking accordingly. 

10) Make Notes
So, you’ve attended all these great talks, picked up lots of information and expanded your knowledge, your now ready to leap into the world of franchising, right? Maybe not…

A few weeks after the show you’ve most likely forgot a lot of information gained at seminars or advice clinics. Bring a notepad and pen to scribble down key tips or interesting facts you learn. Even if you don’t have a notepad or a pen, pick one up (trust me there’ll be lots on stands!), and usually the show guide will give you some free space make notes. 

Once the show is over and you have all the information you need, you’ve weighed up possible investments and have a pool of potential franchises – follow up. Call or email, to plan the next steps. Don’t be alarmed if you’re contacted for follow-ups too; franchisors will be keen to hear from interested candidates. Have your notes ready and discuss the next steps to becoming a franchisee with your perfect franchise. 

For more info on the International Franchise Show 2019 event contact or register your free ticket at  

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