When you first start looking at franchising, it can seem overwhelming to choose from so many options available. The process of narrowing things down so that you can assess your options thoroughly is vital and visiting a franchise exhibition is an ideal way to get started.
1) Plan Ahead
Do some forward planning before the show. Exhibition organisers will publish details of who will be at their shows so you can see what franchises will be attending and start to plan your day. You should also do some wider research, looking at franchise websites and publications to find out more about the types of franchises available, as well as understanding more about the sectors or franchises you are interested in exploring further. You won’t see every single franchise at a show but you can use your visit to identify key industry sectors and target particular franchisors to speak to at their stand.
2) Attend the Seminars
Most franchise exhibitions will run a series of educational seminars during the course of the day and these are a great resource to pick up tips about various aspects of becoming a franchisee. Make sure you check the seminar schedule before you attend the show, the early seminars can fill up quite quickly and you don’t want to miss anything. Often the seminar panel will include a range of industry specialists including lawyers and banks as well as franchisors so if you have any specific questions, you can often obtain some helpful advice.
3) Put Yourself at the Centre
What are the key questions you have about starting a franchise business? Take time to think of what your concerns are about being self-employed and about how the franchise relationship works, what about your obligations, what will you get for your money?
One thing to remember is that franchisors will also be assessing you when you are on their stand talking to them. You don’t have to give them your life story (or bank account details!) but do be honest about your timescales and potential investment levels if you get into more detailed conversations. It is a good idea to spend some time thinking about your skills and experience and what you could bring to a franchise business. Joining a franchise isn’t like applying for a job but you will need to convince a franchisor that you will be the right ‘fit’ for their network and that you have the ambition and energy to make a success of the franchise.
4) Don’t be Rushed
You should take your time to do plenty of research so if a franchisor is pushing you to make a quick decision, then alarm bells should ring. Buying a franchise is a big step to take, you are taking control of your future and signing up to a long-term contract so a good franchisor will want you to do your due diligence properly.
After attending the show, take the time to consider what you have learned and think about whether you are still excited about the opportunity of running your own franchised business. Hopefully attending the show will have helped you to narrow down your choices.
This article was written by Cathryn Hayes, Franchise Director at Revive! UK and originally appeared in her column on What Franchise's website in May 2019.