Tips when visiting a franchise expo

The first franchise expo for 2012 is taking place on the 17th – 19th May at The International Franchise & Entrepreneurs Expo at the Sandton Convention Centre endorsed by the Franchise Association of South Africa.

Whilst the internet has made researching franchising and franchise opportunities more accessible, with whichfranchise leading the way, it does not mean that franchise expos have become a thing of the past.

At a franchise expo you can meet with franchisors of interest, as well as bankers and advisors, all under one roof. You can also attend franchise seminars to receive free information and guidance to help with your research.

Visit this article which will show you how you can optimise outcomes from your visit to a franchise expo.

Tips when visiting a franchise expo

Franchise_exhibition_visitorsThe Internet has made franchise opportunities easily accessible, with Whichfranchise leading the way in this field. This does not mean that franchise expos have become obsolete. They remain a convenient meeting place where personal relationships with franchisors, bankers and advisors can be established under one roof. This article will show you how you can optimise outcomes from your visit to a franchise expo.

  1. Find out what’s on offer:  As soon as you have decided to attend a specific franchise expo, visit the organiser’s website and find out what’s on offer. In most instances, exhibitors will be made up of franchisors, franchise advisors and banks. Workshops on franchise-related topics are also held.
  2. Plan the visit in advance: Once you know which brands will be represented, you can begin to plan your visit. Resist the temptation to cram too much into one day. Looking back a few days after the visit, it will have become a blur and you won’t have gained much. Especially if you want to attend workshops as well, it may be best to visit the same expo twice.
  3. Don’t skip the workshops:  With all the exciting franchise opportunities on offer, it may be tempting to skip the seminars. We understand that but our advice is, “don’t do it!” Especially if you are new to franchising, these events are an ideal opportunity to gain a basic understanding of how the concept works. Experts explain the concept, franchisors present their opportunities and franchisees relate how taking this important step has worked out for them.
  4. Stay focused: No matter how well you plan your time at the expo, the sheer number of franchise opportunities on offer is likely to overwhelm you unless you stay focussed. Visit only those brands you have earmarked as being of specific interest.
  5. It’s about relationship-building:  An expo is not the place to finalise a franchise deal. Meet the people behind the brand, gain a better understanding of their concept and move on. But before you do, make notes and possibly arrange a follow-up meeting with those franchisors you see as potential partners. Delete the others from your list.
  6. Don’t succumb to hard-sell tactics: No ethical franchisor will try to convince you that this is the opportunity of a lifetime and unless you sign up right there and then you will miss out. Hard-sell tactics have no place in franchising. You need to carefully consider the proposition, have your professional advisors check it out and talk to a few of the network’s existing franchisees before you make up your mind. A good franchisor will expect nothing less and in any event, the Consumer Protection Act places an obligation on franchisors to provide you with a disclosure document and grant you two successive cooling-off periods.
  7. Put your best foot forward!  With the large number of franchise opportunities available, it’s a buyers’ market at the moment but the top brands continue to have waiting lists. This means that you have to sell yourself to them. Complete the brand’s application form to the best of your ability and be honest about your abilities and resources. Should you be accepted as a franchisee of a leading brand, life will be much easier for you. Easier access funding and prime real estate, highly competitive bulk deals and quality support are just some of the advantages a respected brand offers.
  8. Remember the advisors: Establish personal relationships with representatives of banks, franchise advisors and attorneys. They can be found at these expos because they understand the franchise sector and want to support it. One prominent bank has a slogan, “We offer advice long before we offer funding!”
  9. Allow yourself regular breaks: Attending a franchise expo is hard work. It’s generallyhot, people are pushing and you need to absorb a lot of information. To stay on top of your game, you need to allow yourself a few breaks. Most expos have a coffee shop on the premises where you can sit down, enjoy some refreshments and relax. This is not a waste of time; it’s an opportunity to recharge your batteries.
  10. Follow through:  Provided that you followed the above pointers, you should have gained valuable insights. Use them to discard those opportunities that are no longer of interest and follow up on those that are. Within a matter of months, you could be the proud owner of your own franchise. And remember, Whichfranchise doesn’t just list franchise opportunities, we also provide guidelines for the evaluation of franchise offers.