As post-pandemic life inches back towards normality, it’s great to see in-person events and expos making a return. For a would-be franchisee, attending a franchise exhibition or expo is a fantastic opportunity to explore a large variety of different franchise industries and brands under one roof and a unique chance to come face-to-face with franchisors and the people behind the businesses, comparing and contrasting a range of different opportunities. However some of these events can be vast in scale and can feel daunting, especially if you’ve never attended an exhibition before. Here’s ten top tips to help you to get the most out of your franchise expo visit:
Ahead of the event, the exhibition organiser will publicise a list of the attending exhibitors and a program of any speakers and sessions running during the course of the day. There is likely also to be a floor plan available to view in advance. Study the information carefully, identify those franchise brands you’re keen to explore and if there are speakers or workshops that grab your interest, register for any session tickets if required.
Do Your Research
If there are franchise brands that have caught your eye and that you are keen to connect with at the show, get your basic research done beforehand. Visit their website, request a copy of their franchise prospectus or information pack and familiarise yourself with their franchise package. Get onto Google and arm yourself with as much information as you can. Then, when you come face to face with the brand at the event, you’ll already be well versed in the basics and well placed to dive deeper into the opportunity.
Allow Yourself Plenty Of Time
With so many exhibitor stands to explore, space to cover and opportunities to consider, allow yourself the full day for the visit if you possibly can. Between conversations you’ll be glad of the opportunity to pause with a coffee, to reflect on the information gleaned so far and review your plan of action if needed. Having the luxury of time also means you can revisit any stands or conversations that you want to during the course of the day.
If there is a franchise that you are particularly keen to connect with, reach out to them before the day and let them know that you’re going to be attending the event and are keen to talk. Most exhibitors will offer one-to-one appointments to give them time and space to chat to those potential franchisees who they consider could be a genuine and viable prospect. Doing this will enable you to make best use of your own time during the course of the day so that you won’t be hanging around to try and grab an exhibitor’s attention, and also ensure that you won’t miss out on the opportunity if your favorite brand is inundated with visitors to their stand.
Prepare Your Questions
Having done your research (see above!), think carefully about the further information that you want to find out during the course of the day and put together a list of questions that you want to cover in your conversations.
Be Prepared To Answer Questions Too!
As well as the franchise expo being an opportunity for the franchise exhibitor to expose their brand to a wider audience, franchisors will also use the many conversations that take place during the course of the event to suss out any potential prospects and to see if they could be a good fit for their brand and team. Its a two way street! Be prepared to answer questions about yourself, your background, aspirations, plans for funding any franchise purchase and of course what attracts you to a particular industry or franchise brand.
Be Open Minded
A franchise exhibition is a unique opportunity to be in a space brimming with many exciting investment possibilities. And whilst it’s important to research and have a targeted approach to your visit, if something outside of your plan of action catches your eye don’t immediately discount it. It might just be that the ideal opportunity for you is right in front of you, just in a field or with a brand that you may not have considered before.
Take Full Advantage Of The Advice And Learning On Offer
A good franchise expo will have a comprehensive program of speakers, sessions and workshops running during the course of the day, covering a wide range of topics of interest to would-be investors and franchisees. As well as using the day to connect with franchise brands, take advantage of the chance to learn as much as you can about the franchise industry and what being a franchisee is really like.
Follow Up – And Expect To Be Followed Up
After the franchise exhibition, take time to digest all of the information you received and read through all of the take-home material you will have undoubtedly amassed during the course of the visit. Follow up on any potentially valuable connections made during the course of the day. And of course expect to be followed up. Post-expo, franchisors will reach out to the contacts they’ve made during the course of the event, to see if there’s an opportunity to explore the relationship further with a view to a successful franchise sale.
And finally and very importantly…..
Wear Comfortable Shoes!
A large franchise exhibition will cover a huge physical space, often covering more than one exhibition hall. Be prepared to get those steps in during the course of the day!
For a potential new business owner, whether you’ve already set your sights on franchise ownership or whether you’re just considering it as an option, visiting a franchise expo is a fantastic way to familiarise yourself with the world of franchising, to compare brands, opportunities and franchise packages, and perhaps start to lay down the foundations for an exciting future franchise relationship and business journey.