Success for Whichfranchise and its Advertisers
The Franchise and Business Opportunities Expo (FBOE), held for the 14th time this year, took place from September 7-10. The organisers tell us that it attracted around 11 000 visitors, an all-time record. Equally impressive was the fact that over 100 exhibitors vied for these visitors attention yet the Whichfranchise stand remained a focal point throughout.
Forming part of the Absa display and strategically placed to attract the attention of visitors almost as they entered the exhibition hall, the Whichfranchise stand was almost always crowded. The main attraction was the computer installation which enabled visitors to visit Whichfranchise.co.za in real time. Visitors loved that and many visitors told us that if they had been aware of the Whichfranchise web site before visiting the expo, they would have used it to create a shortlist of those franchise offers they were particularly interested in. Some even went as far as to say that, given that Whichfranchise.co.za lists the vast majority of bona fide franchise opportunities, it is a virtual exhibition in its own right.
While whichfranchise.com exists for over six years, its local cousin was only launched at the IFE 2006. It is therefore relatively new and our objective was to popularise the site by making a sizable cross section of prospective entrepreneurs aware of its existence.
Visitors who had not visited Whichfranchise.co.za before were given a tour of the site. On leaving, they were handed a printed card with the web address. In course of the four days, we distributed over 10 000 of these cards. This means that at least another 10 000 people have become aware of the existence of the site. Given the likelihood of some people passing the card they collected on to family or friends, the total number is probably much higher.
We also managed to attract a good number of new subscribers to our Whichfranchise monthly newsletter for prospective franchisees. This is of particular importance to our advertisers because every newsletter carries a franchisee success story. The resulting equation is simple: more readers translates into better exposure. Best of all, this exposure is open to every advertiser at no extra cost. All they need to do is put us in touch with one of their star performers, and we do the rest.
Putting Whichfranchise on the map
Looking back on these four hectic days, we believe that we achieved our objective of popularising the site. Especially those franchisors who are listed as Featured Franchises should experience an upsurge in enquiries over the next few weeks, and we look forward to receiving their feedback. And our suggestion to those who are still waiting to see what happens is to get in touch with the sales staff at Succeed magazine, Whichfranchise.co.zas marketing arm, as soon as possible. Our exhibition special holds good for a few more days, so the best time to make this all-important move is now!
Talking to visitors to our site in person provided us with some interesting insights. We found that most of the people who had visited the site before focussed on the opportunities on offer, giving the information section a miss. We explained to them the importance of learning as much about the concept as possible before approaching franchisors. We can only hope that this results in an increase of informed prospects. As every experienced franchisor knows, informed prospects make the best franchisees.
Other initiatives that helped to spread awareness of franchising and the benefits it offers were formal seminars and short talks given hourly at the Speakers Corner. Two of the expert presenters were Eric Parker and Anita du Toit, both acknowledged experts in franchising and part of the Whichfranchise team. This created a reciprocal effect that proved useful to all stakeholders: those who visited the Whichfranchise stand were alerted to forthcoming seminars, and seminar delegates were urged to visit the Whichfranchise stand.
Our popular Ask an expert service was available on the stand. One hapless individual asked for advice on how to get out of an unworkable franchise agreement. It transpired that he had signed a franchise agreement against the advice of his lawyer. The lawyer had told him that some of the clauses the agreement contained were totally unacceptable but he went ahead with the deal anyway. What prompted him to do so was the self-styled franchisors assertion that once the paperwork is out of the way, we will sit down and sort out any potential problems like real men with compassion and a handshake.
They did in fact sit down and our hero was told everything he wanted to hear, but nothing was done in writing. Eager to get on with the business of building a business, he ignored this and was blissfully happy for a while. Before long, however, he encountered most of the problems his lawyer had warned him about and visited the franchisor to remind him of the oral variations to the agreement. The franchisor denied that variations to the written agreement had ever been agreed upon and insisted on compliance. He even threatened court action.
Regrettably, we were unable to wave a magic wand on this hapless franchisees behalf and could only advise him that as matters stand, he will have a hard time convincing a judge to help him get out of this deal. This real-life experience underlines the important role Whichfranchise can play in educating people about the benefits and pitfalls of franchising before they sign a binding agreement.
With the support of our powerful international and local associates, we at Whichfranchise.co.za are determined to rise to the challenge of educating people. At the same time, we will build our website into South Africas leading exchange for information on franchising and franchise opportunities. We invite you to join us in this quest.