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Franchise Opportunities Expo: How to Make the Most of Your Visit

Franchise Expo

Franchise Expo

Franchise opportunities expo or franchising fair is always visited by a lot of people, worldwide. Especially in some part of the world, franchise opportunities expos seem to attract a large number of visitors in record breaking pace – One of the proofs that franchising is recession-resistant.

I have attended some local franchising expos for quite some times, and I observe that investors’ interests are high and conversion rate is great. In every franchise opportunities expo, some of the franchisors I know can recruit an approximate of 3 new franchisees, even in economic downturn. Not bad expo results, I think.

While most visitors are on “window shopping” mode, only some of them benefit from their exploration and shop-around. At the end of their visit, here are what most will have: Souvenirs/promo items and brochures.

While souvenirs are nice and brochures are great in giving you a basic info of a franchise, those are not what you suppose to look for in a franchising expo. You would want the detailed info on franchise opportunities that will become your first, or even next business ventures.

Tips on visiting franchise opportunities expo

In order to make the most of your visit in a franchise expo, I have some tips for you (not necessarily the best practice, but pretty effective for me):

  • Bring a note or voice/video recorder (many of today’s PDA/smart phones can do it)
    There will be presentations and Q-and-A sessions that offer great advice and tips you don’t want to miss. Moreover, you can visit a franchise booth and have a Q-and-A session yourself with the franchise company’s managers (or even the CEOs themselves) – Something that you can’t have in a brochure.
  • Beware of jargon and lingo
    If the marketing person started to use jargon and lingo you don’t understand, you should ask him/her to explain to you in plain English. In another case, surprisingly, the franchise companies’ marketing people are not entirely fluent in talking about numbers. In my case, I often hear presentations with misleading financial information, such as ROI (return on investment) and BEP (break-even point) – I once pitched with a new franchise opportunity that will give me a BEP of 2 years – That’s quite a loss-making business, and I’m not ready to lose money every single month for 2 years! The marketing guy is, of course, mistaken ROI as BEP.
  • Don’t be blinded with busy franchise booths
    Busy franchise booths with lots of visitors mean the franchisors offer something interesting. Don’t be blinded with those booths – Instead, you should explore those ’empty’ booths – Most likely than not, they are not bad franchises at all – They just lack ‘hype.’ This is your chance to have a valuable and detailed conversation with the marketing persons, managers, even the CEOs of the franchise companies.
  • Watch out for those specials, but don’t get too carried away
    Some franchises offer specials, such as lower franchise and/or setup fees during the expo. However, take heed – Don’t get too carried away with such offer – Some of those offers are capitalising on your sense of urgency. What’s bad with your sense of urgency is that you will listen to your emotion more than you listen to your logic and common sense. ‘Calm’ yourself down, and analyse each franchise opportunities carefully. If your analysis shows that the opportunity you are interested in is your best fit, going forward would give you a considerable saving or ‘discount’ that will greatly affect your investment capital.
  • Watch out for franchise income projections or assumptions
    “Projections” or “assumptions” means uncertainty. Franchises often project or assume on averages or ‘ideal’ (not necessarily the best) cases – Averages and ‘ideal’ cases are misleading. Also be aware that “income” could mean gross income, pre-tax income, or net income – Equip yourself with the knowledge to read a financial statement can make a huge difference. Whenever possible, always ask for the franchises to leak real numbers from their own unit – It’s a legitimate request that everybody interested in buying a franchise should make, anyway.

Try to implement those practical tips, and you will see that each and every expo visit can be a great learning experience, and hopefully can get you the franchise opportunities you’re passionate about.

Ivan Widjaya
Franchise expo visit tips
Image by Franchise.com

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