Speed-dating for your future

Any exhibition you go to can feel a little overwhelming. And a franchise show is no different.

Speed-dating for your future

Any exhibition you go to can feel a little overwhelming. And a franchise show is no different. Luckily though, there are ways you can prepare yourself and maximise your experience. You’re not alone – many other individuals looking at investing in a franchise will be there too. And, whilst your experience at a franchise exhibition will be different from the next person’s, it’s about more than just showing up.

Of course, an exhibition is a fantastic place to meet brands but there’s a lot to digest. Your preparation beforehand is paramount. Start by conducting your own research of who’s there and who you want to see – it’s easy to find this out from the show’s own website. Remember to take a notepad and pen or a mobile device with you on the day. When you arrive, grab a show guide and a floor plan and be methodical in your approach, making notes as you go up and down each aisle. Every brand is a possibility, in fact, most people buy a franchise in a sector they didn’t think of, so it’s important to stay open minded and not miss anyone out.

One thing I can’t stress enough is that you’re going to get out what you put in – so get stuck in! Don’t be afraid to talk to people, nothing bad can happen to you and no one can sell you anything here and now. This is your chance to engage with the process – you’ve opted in and made the decision to go, why waste it?

Here’s a tip, when you’re on stand speaking to a franchisor, ask if there’s a franchisee present that you can speak to. Most brands bring one or two along with them these days – we love having Tutor Doctor franchisees on stand to talk to prospects! Not only can they give you a real perspective of what running the franchise is like, the good, the bad and the ugly, but they’re living proof that it works. As for an honest account of their day-to-day – it’s exactly the kind of feedback that you need.

Be prepared to be asked questions – it’s something that can sometimes surprise visitors. But it’s only logical when you think about it. You’ll likely be asked things like ‘what is motivating you to start our own business?’ Why a particular industry? What your financial situation is, your timescale and your career history. Yes, you’re there to look at the opportunities available to you but, don’t forget, franchisors will be assessing you too. Think of it as speed-dating for your future. Brands are looking for individuals that suit their model and can replicate the success of existing franchisees. Don’t take it personally, they’re just searching for the right fit too.

A great point to note is that franchise exhibitions are much more than just stands in a hall. You’ll find seminars taking place throughout the day on a variety of topics – from sales and marketing, to legal considerations and tips for getting your new venture off to the best possible start. Maybe you need advice around funding your franchise – guess what, there’s a seminar for that! The whole day is designed to assure you that franchising a viable option for your future and, more importantly, that you’re not on your own.

After the exhibition, the process isn’t over. You’ve given your details to many brands, collected a pile of marketing materials and your head is likely full of more intrigue than when you started. Again, it’s about being methodical. Create lists so that you can assess the pros and cons of your options and rank them accordingly. Remember though, you shouldn’t be passive in the rest of this process. Expect brands to follow up with you – and, believe me, they will. Your best possible chance of future success comes from actively engaging with franchisors and continuing to learn about their brands and systems. Only by doing so, can you hope to find your perfect partner. 

So, for anyone thinking an exhibition is just about showing up, I hope this gives you pause for thought. The journey into franchising can be a lengthy process and a show is just the beginning.

Frank Milner
Frank Milner