How to Make the Most out of Franchise Exhibitions

Want to work for yourself, but not by yourself? You should look 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 tried 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) and attending a franchise show is the best way to find the ideal franchise for you.

Here are The International Franchise Show’s top 10 tips to make the most out of franchise exhibitions:

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 are of interest to you.

Then work out how much you need to earn, and how much you need to invest in your selected franchises. Remember that banks like franchising, but try to find out how much you could potentially borrow.

Think about what you’re good at and what you’re not. Writing a CV to bring to the show can be very useful to franchisors. 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 and efficient way to explain who you are.

2. Find out what's on

A lot of exhibitions offer a variety of extra features such as 1-to-1 appointments with industry experts, facilitated networking, master license matchmaking services, franchise zones or pavilions, and VIP areas.

So, check out all the features on offer and book 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 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 are looking for in a franchise and use this checklist to branch off questions that should 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 would you rather work in one location with a lucrative schedule that allows you to manage out-of-work commitments?

Whatever you seek, be sure to have a set of questions ready that answer your checklist and 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 ask to take things forward.

6. Attend seminars, clinics and advice zones

Expand your knowledge by attending the free seminars available, there are also clinics and advice zones from some of the best-known experts in the industry.

Use this opportunity of the exhibition to 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 overwhelming, especially if you’re not set on a particular industry.

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 group 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 but be open-minded.

Is there a brand that offers an exciting opportunity that fits your criteria, or a franchise that offers something new to the market? Whatever it is, maintain an open mind, you might just be thrown a wildcard.

9. Allow Time

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, you're now ready to leap into the world of franchising, right? Maybe not…

A few weeks after the show you’ve most likely forgotten a lot of information from the seminars or advice clinics. Ensure you take 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 to make notes.

Once the show is over and you have all the information you need, weighed up possible investments and have a pool of potential franchises - follow up.

Call or email to plan the next steps and 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.

The International Franchise Show

About the author

At the Franchise Show you’ll have the opportunity to see over 180 exhibitors, attend 80 seminars from some of the industry’s best-known experts, gain personal 1-2-1 advice, experience interactive features and network with key decision makers.