Franchising will take Manhattan

With the International Franchise Expo set to make its New York City debut in June, thousands of entrepreneurs, business owners and investors across the world are gearing up for the largest franchise exhibition in the USA

This year, the International Franchise Expo (IFE) moves to a new home in New York City and promises to be bigger than ever, drawing in a huge audience of movers and shakers in the worldwide franchise industry, and those looking to be part of it.

From June 15 to 17, franchises will be able to exhibit their concepts to thousands of prospective investors and franchise owners. People looking to do business locally in New York, nationally and internationally will all be at the exhibition, and this year, the IFE is doing something different, opening the show to any company without restriction.

This year, franchisors have the opportunity to apply for Trade Show Exemption status, allowing them to do business at the exhibition.

This fee-based exemption, provided by the NY State Attorney General, has never been done before and it opens up the exhibition doors to a whole new group of franchised businesses.

The exemption means franchisors can exhibit at the IFE without formal registration with the state of New York and promote their opportunity on the exhibition floor during trade show hours. However, actual sales agreements must take place after the company has registered.

Ultimate goal

International expansion is the ultimate goal for every franchise, and it is only a matter of time until every concept moves in that direction. Franchising internationally can be tricky, and exhibitions provide a perfect venue for making connections and building the relationships to do so.

Having an exemption for franchisors at an exhibition that takes place in the USA’s business capital translates to a huge opportunity for businesses looking to take that next step. Many franchisors have already taken advantage of the simple application process that will allow them to make those connections at the show. Visitors from more than 40 countries will be taking advantage of what the IFE has to offer.

The exhibition floor is selling out – something that hasn’t happened in 21 years. The show has already outgrown its allotted space, requiring adjacent space to be added.

Plenty of dedicated franchises will be coming back to take advantage of everything the show has to offer, in addition to nearly 100 newcomers, and counting. The international exemption programme is making this all possible, and is directly responsible for new companies exhibiting the IFE.

“The exemption opportunity is making the show much more significant this year,” says Jim Mastandrea, Group Show Director of MFV Expositions, the company responsible for organising the IFE. “We’ve always had a great turnout at the IFE, but this year we’ve really gone all out. We are making sure that the attendees will have every opportunity at their disposal to make connections locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.”

Something for everyone

The IFE offers something for everyone. Franchisors attend exhibitions like this to showcase their concept to hundreds of potential investors, arriving armed with a franchise development team ready to make an impression and generate leads and sales.

Ray Titus, President of United Franchise Group, says lead generation at an exhibition is one of the main concerns for brands that are exhibiting.

“All leads are quality leads,” continues Ray. “Anybody who wants to find out more about our company is a potential prospect, or a potential employee or a potential customer. We’re not necessarily offering franchises here, we’re building a brand.”

Franchise owners attend exhibitions to continue to involve themselves fully in the industry and stay on top of what’s new and hot. Many businesses will be exhibiting to explore the idea of selling multi-units, in order to see what else the industry has to offer.

Budding entrepreneurs

The IFE will also open its doors to those who have an interest in franchising – ready to decide if it’s the right fit and what concept will launch them into entrepreneurship.

Explaining his objective when meeting new people at exhibitions, Ted Looney, Vice President of Jani-King Franchising, says: “Our goal is to welcome every single visitor and provide them with the information to make a good, educated decision.”

Kevin Derella, Executive Vice President of Coverall Health Systems, believes that it’s all about the visitor.

“When talking to potential franchise owners, we want to find out if franchising is right for them,” Kevin adds. “When you’re going to buy a business, it should be something you’re interested in; something you like. Our objective is to send these people on their way with information that will help them make a good decision, with the ultimate goal to attract them to our concept and get them into the local office for a presentation after the show.”

Educational opportunities

There’s been a lot of interest surrounding the IFE this year, and there will be plenty of educational opportunities for those who are new to franchising and looking to develop programmes for their concepts.

Along with its devoted attendees, its media alliances and affiliations have been making it all happen. Included in the list of partnerships and supporters are Entrepreneur Magazine, The New York Times, Fortune, Money, Time, and the Star Ledger.

As the franchise industry continues to grow, increasing numbers of entrepreneurs and businesses take advantage of what franchising has to offer and opportunities continue to blossom. Exhibitions like the IFE bring everyone together, for ultimate discovery into the industry and unrivaled brand development.

The International Franchise Expo takes place in The Javits Center, New York City, from June 15 to 17.