Should You Attend a Franchise Expo?

November 10, 2015

Shopping for a franchise can be a bit overwhelming.  With thousands of opportunities in every industry, there is certainly an investment to fit virtually everyone…but where do you start?!

Franchise Expos are a convenient and smart way to do your franchising research.  Not only can you shop hundreds of franchises under one roof, but often, such expos offer added value in the form of seminars and networking events with business leaders (not to mention the free food and drinks!!!)

The key to getting the most out of a franchise expo is being prepared.  If you attend with a game plan, you’re more likely to come away ready to make an informed decision:

  1. 1.) Pick an Expo.  Large events, such as the International Franchise Expo or the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference, have hundreds of the top franchises in the nation on display and attract industry leaders, who can provide very valuable advice.  However, don’t overlook your local shows.  Organizations like the Franchise Business Opportunities Expo occur in many different areas of the country and feature regional franchises, which may offer start-up incentives.

2.) Pre-Expo Research.  Once you’ve decided which show you will attend, obtain an exhibitor list (each expo will make one available to you) and review franchises that appeal to you.  Visit each franchise’s website; this will help you develop questions to ask the franchisor during the expo.  Be sure to take GOOD notes when speaking with representatives at the show!  CLICK HERE for a great list of questions to help you get started.

3.) Post-Expo.  After the expo has finished, and you’ve had the chance to collect your thoughts, review all your notes and materials from the show.  Make a list of your top franchise picks and rank them according to the criteria most important to you (industry, investment, etc).  Now it’s time to start having more in-depth conversations with companies.  Typically, if you’ve met with a franchisor during the expo, they will follow up with you.  If you receive a call or email within a week or so, it’s a good sign that the franchise is interested in you as a potential investor and it’s indicative of how well they will communicate and support you, should you decide to franchise with them.

With the new year approaching, now is a great time to check into attending a franchise expo.  Many expos have already released their 2016 dates and are accepting registrations.  Check them out and good luck in researching your path to business ownership!