How to Attend a Franchise Expo

Three Parts:Selecting An Event to AttendSucceeding On Expo DayAttending as a Franchisor

A franchise business expo is a great platform for both business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. For prospective franchise owners, a franchise expo provides an opportunity to sort through the large volume of franchises available to you. For businesses, attending a franchise business expo or show can help in making your franchise business popular and increase your chances considerably of finding prospective investors who might be interested in your business concept. Attending a franchise expo successfully, regardless of which side of the booth you are on, will require a good deal of planning and following-through.

Part 1
Selecting An Event to Attend

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    Determine what type(s) of franchise you are interested in. Purchasing a franchise should be approached with the same considerations as starting your own business. Consider what you are most passionate about or interested in. After all, you will be investing large amounts of your time and money into this franchise, so make sure it's something you'll actually want to work on. If nothing comes to you, visiting a franchise website like or will allow you to browse different franchise options.
    • Avoid just going for the current trend in franchises or businesses. You have to be enthusiastic about the product or service to be successful.[1]
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    Search for events. There are many events available to the prospective franchisee. The largest is the International Franchise Expo in New York City. There is also the International Franchise Association's annual conference. In addition, there are smaller, regional events held regularly around the country. Search for events in your area by visiting or[2]
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    Go through the exhibitor list. For each conference, search through the exhibitor list to see which franchisors will be in attendance. These lists will be readily available from the organizers of the expo or online. Try to match your interests to the franchisors in attendance. If there are none or very few that pique your interest, you may need to check out another expo.[3]
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    Select the event that meets your needs. When you've found an expo that will have your ideal franchisors in attendance, jump on the opportunity. Purchase tickets or RSVP to the event. Make sure that you set up travel accommodations if the event is far away from home. You can now begin researching the franchisors you will speak to and planning your expo visit.[4]

Part 2
Succeeding On Expo Day

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    Assess your financial readiness beforehand. Two of the first questions a franchisor (someone selling a franchise) will ask you is how much you can invest and when you would be able to do so. Look at your finances to determine your own answers to these questions. Are you able to invest now or are you just planning for the future? Will you need to take out a loan to get your franchise started? Knowing these answers will allow for more productive and insightful conversations with franchisors.[5]
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    Research franchises you are interested in. When you've located franchisors that you are interested in at your chosen expo, visit their websites. Look for relevant information, such as the cost of starting a franchise, any franchise fees, and what the franchisor provides the franchisee. Study what other information you find and write down any concerns you have. These will help you craft good questions to ask at the expo.[6]
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    Plan out your questions. Make a list of questions to ask each franchisor, including both general questions and those specific to each one. Carry a printed copy of your questions with room to make notes about the franchisor's responses. Questions should be comprehensive and cover essential aspects of the franchisee-franchisor relationship. For example, try asking some of the following:
    • "How much does the average franchisee make?"
    • "Describe your company values and culture."
    • "Can you help me obtain financing?"
    • "How would disputes between the franchisor and I be resolved?"
    • "Are you currently offering any limited-time deals on franchise costs?"
    • "What level of support and training is provided to the franchisee?"[7]
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    Arrive at the event prepared. Before you arrive at the expo, obtain a map of the floor so that you can plan out your franchisor visits. Map out a route so that you can use your time efficiently. Remember to bring your questions and a notepad so that you can write down any details or responses. Keep in mind when attending the expo that you are also trying to sell yourself to a prospective franchisor. Dress professionally and groom yourself to cultivate a professional appearance.[8]
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    Attend seminars. The expo will also likely hold a number of educational seminars and events throughout the day. These can be good opportunities to gain knowledge about the franchising process. Be sure to note the time and location of seminars you are interested in so that you can work them into your day.[9]
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    Review your leads. Look through all of your notes and materials from the show. From there, make an ordered list of the franchises you are most interested in. If any franchisors you talked to are interested in you, you should receive an email or call from them within a week. You can then move into more advanced talks about the franchise agreement if both parties are interested.
    • If they don't follow up, this is either a sign that they are not interested or are disorganized. In either case, it's best to move on to other options.[10]

Part 3
Attending as a Franchisor

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    Investigate relevant expos in your area. Your goal as a franchisor is to locate an expo where you can reach the most interested and promising franchisees. With that in mind, you should choose an expo that is likely to attract the kind of prospective franchisees that you want. Look for franchise expos relevant to your industry. For example, a general franchise expo may not be as valuable to a restaurant franchisor as a restaurant industry expo.
    • Choose your expo type based on what type of prospects you want. Local franchise expos tend to draw in local prospects, whereas industry-specific expos draw in professionals from across the country.
    • Once you are aware of which franchise business expo you want to attend, it’s time to contact the organizers to find out the registration process, floor plan, and other formalities.[11]
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    Register for the event. If you are satisfied with the features of the expo and think it will help you market your franchise, complete its registration. Usually registration can be done through email or on the organization's website. Make sure to reserve a booth or, if it is a smaller event, a table.
    • You may also be required to pay a fee to set up a booth at the expo. In this case, weigh the cost of doing so versus the potential benefits of attending the expo.
    • Remember that there are other franchise business owners who will be taking part in the expo, so you need to reserve your place in advance. Try to choose a place where your brand will get maximum visibility.[12]
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    Craft an engaging booth. Find out the exact size specifications of your booth and the ceiling to ensure that the items you bring for on the day of the expo will fit properly. You need to request for necessary things in advance from the organizing authority that you might need on the day. To complete your booth, work on:
    • Creating advertising elements. Before the franchise business expo starts, make all the preparations related to advertisements that can help in brand endorsement. Create brochures and other handouts to provide information about your organization when people visit your booth.
    • Crafting a compelling presentation. Prepare a PowerPoint presentation that can run on your laptop to highlight your organization when visitors want to know about your company in details.
    • Recruiting an expo team. Choose two or three of your best team members to cover the entire day of the franchise expo. Make sure the workers are aware about all the details of your company.[13]
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    Set yourself up for success. On the big day arrive early on the day of the event to set up your booth, put out literature and promotional items, and to ensure that everything is set. Make sure everyone is well dressed and confident enough to handle the questions asked by aspiring entrepreneurs. Be organized before the event so that you can focus on customers during the event. Plan your schedule accordingly or make arrangements so that you keep yourself free on the day.[14]
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    Qualify your prospects. There will be many potential franchisees who visit your booth during a busy expo. However, only a handful of those will actually be good leads. Ask your prospects questions to ascertain their financial capabilities and business experience. If they don't have what it takes, give them franchisee materials and move on to the next prospect. If they do, make sure to answer any of their questions and get their contact information.[15] For example, try asking prospects the following questions:
    • "Describe your experience in [the industry]."
    • "How much are you ready to invest in a franchise?"
    • "Which values are most important to a business?"
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    Follow up on leads. The purpose of the expo is to gain leads, so at the end you will hopefully have at least a few promising franchisees and their relevant contact information. Make sure to call or email them within a week to express your interest in discussing a franchise agreement further. Make sure to thank them for their interest and recall any specific issues or concerns they might have expressed at the expo.[16]

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Categories: Buying & Forming a Business