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Franchise Shows Worth Your Time?

Franchise tradeshow expo right for you?Several companies produce franchise “expos” around the world, and I have been both an attendee and an exhibitor.

When you start looking into the idea of investing in a business of your own it can be an exciting time. You start visualizing what this business will look like and what role you will be playing in this new venture of yours. You also envision yourself enjoying the fruits of your success.

The next step in the process for you is to find that perfect business. The world of franchising offers a huge menu of choices (over 3,000 different franchising concepts).

Looking online is of course one way to start your journey. But what if there was a venue that enabled you to “shop” around a bit, and meet face to face with representatives of different franchise and business opportunities, all in one place? Coming to a city near you?

Just to be clear, exposition companies like National Event Management, MFV Expositions (sponsored by the International Franchise Association) and Diversified Exhibitions-Australia, are for-profit enterprises. Franchise companies pay for booth space.

When you attend a franchise show, you will see rows of booths set up, with various attraction techniques designed to get you to stop by. Rotating light beacons, wireless-headset equipped hawkers, and free food samples (and the wonderful smells that go along with them) are just a few examples of what you will be tempted with, as an attendee.

One thing that may surprise you is the number of non-franchised offerings. These “business opportunities” run the gamut from fancy coffee vending machines to T-shirt making equipment to jewelry and perfume sales opportunities. These may look like franchises, but they are not. They are a lot less expensive, and in general, don’t offer the same type of support and systems that franchise opportunities do. They are also regulated differently.

To get the most benefit from a show like this, don’t look at any opportunities that are just not “you.” Try to spend time with representatives from the ones that look professional and make sense at first glance. It can be somewhat overwhelming to go to a franchise show, and you may start to get burned out from all the hawking that goes on.

Franchise shows can be a great way to get an overview of what types of opportunities are out there. You may find “The one.” You may also find that the idea of business ownership is more exciting than the act of actually investing in one. It is better to find out before you invest in a business of your own, than after.

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Joel Libava on 2008 franchise trends About the Author: Joel Libava is President and Life Changer of Franchise Selection Specialists. He blogs at The Franchise King Blog.


Joel Libava Joel Libava is the Franchise Expert for Small Business Trends. Joel, The Franchise King®, equips today’s prospective franchise owners with time-tested, proven techniques designed to increase odds of success. He does this through one-on-one coaching, and gobs of useful content that can be found on places like Small Business Trends, SBA.Gov, and his award-winning franchise blog, The Franchise King Blog . He’s been featured in Entrepreneur® magazine, and is frequently called upon by national media outlets and publications for his no-spin insights into the world of franchising.

10 Reactions
  1. Joel,

    We will keep in touch. I want to visit a franchise show when I visit America again, sometime in the near future.

  2. Hi Joel.

    I would like to ask regarding this idea – To get the most benefit from a show like this, don’t look at any opportunities that are just not “you.”

    What do you mean by that “are just not you”? I hope to hear from you very soon. Thanks!

  3. Mary Grace,
    Thanx for reading the article on franchise shows. Here is an example:
    if you come from a b2b sales background, and you want to utilize those skills, I don’t suggest looking at a vending machine opportunity, or a Pizza franchise. it is probably not “you.” Now, if you happen to be a B2B sales professional who wants to “try something different”, then looking at everything available may make sense. The most successful franchise owners I have helped are ones who invest in opportunities that utilize their professional and personal skills.
    Joel Libava

  4. The most important thing about franchise is understanding the product market, where you are selling it? Who will buy? If you are not good at understanding the market, the franchise will fail.

  5. I can’t believe that a franchise would turn to tacky gimmicks to catch attention. To me, that would be a real turnoff. I could never take that company seriously. Joel, do you find that those companies are just as successful and reputable as a well known franchise? Should they be trusted?

  6. Hi Paula,
    I think that one’s definition of “tacky” needs to come into play. For instance, when I travel, I feel that a lot of the places I stop at are “tacky.” The folks that live in these areas, and the business owners themselves, probably don’t think their offerings are tacky.

    Some franchisors do tacky stuff. {In my opinion} I don’t feel that doing what you and I consider tacky is necessarily a turnoff. The real question to ask is this one:
    “Does the franchisor get it?” The franchisees can answer that. Tacky or not.
    Joel Libava

  7. Shows can be a tool – but they can also be very distracting. Many years ago I was looking at franchises. Rather than going to shows, I got entrepreneur’s magazine list of 500 Franchises and went down the list, looking for attractive prospects. I found it to be a very effective way of going about things.

    I selected targets. Then I qualified them, and lastly, I set up meetings.

    This allowed me to review them coldly without having the distractions that franchise shows sometime have.

    Oh – I did not end up buying a franchise. I did my own shin dig…..


  8. You’re point about the hawking makes me laugh, Joel. And everytime I attend a function like this, I feel like I’m running the gauntlet. Ducking and jerking, speeding up and moving quickly – trying to get out! That’s not how an attendee should feel and a more relaxed approach and atmosphere would be much better and encourage more networking I feel.

  9. Hi Joel,
    This is an interesting and very important topic for discussion. We actually did a radio show on this topic last year. I think the franchise shows are fantastic. I believe that prospective franchisees should go prepared. In other words, do your homework before attending the show. Make a list of franchisors you would like to meet. I am always surprised by how many prospective franchisees approach a booth and frequently say, “So what do you guys do?” I think the franchisor will take you more serious if you are prepared.

    Last piece of advice is to go to the franchise shows hungry. There are free samples of pizza, wings and ice cream. I typically walk out with a stomachache. Great topic Joel.

    Best regards,

    Marty McDermott
    Franchise Interviews

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