Franchise Expo South: Expos continue to bring the right people together
Kicking off the 2007 expo season is Franchise Expo South to be held at the Miami Beach Convention Center from 19th-21st January. Director of Marketing Joel Goldstein previews the event
More and more concepts are turning to exhibitions as a way to market their franchise opportunities. From old to new, high investment to low, sophisticated to entry level... the reason, they say, is simple.
'Visibility is what we are looking for,' says Eric Poole of Logocrete Systems, a new franchise concept that has developed a patented method of blasting logos into concrete. 'We're new and we know we have to get in front of people so they can see what we have to offer. We know that these shows have high volume attendees, and that's what we need in order to get in front of as many people as possible.'
Douglas Colson of Florida-based Conway's BBQ comments: 'Our goal for any show is to showcase our concept. It is one of the larger expos and will allow us to connect with numerous potential franchisees. Exhibitions are simply another part of building brand awareness.'
Douglas' background is in food brokering and he has used shows as a part of his marketing mix for years with a range of concepts. That's why he has the BBQ franchise signed up for eight shows over the next 10 months.
Logocrete and Conway's BBQ are among more than 100 franchise concepts exhibiting at the Franchise Expo South (franchiseexposouth.com) at the Miami Beach Convention Center in January. But it's not just the new or lower-investment franchise concepts that are taking the trade show route to franchise marketing. Increasingly, concepts with much higher price tags are looking to expose themselves at shows such as the Franchise Expo South where they can reach out and touch thousands of potential customers at once. And they're all doing it for the same reason - visibility.
The Franchise Expo South (FES) launches the 2007 expo season, which includes the International Franchise Expo in Washington, D.C. 30th March-1st April, and the West Coast Franchise Expo in Los Angeles from 19th-21st October. As with all MFV Exposition events, the FES will feature a wide range of educational opportunities designed for both franchisors and potential franchisees.
Free seminars are scheduled to address a range of topics, while the symposia, ranging from US$200 to US$270 for advance registration, will look at areas vital to the successful operation of a franchise.
Due to the popularity of the programmes, advance registration is recommended and includes admission to the exhibit hall. Among the presentations expected to attract the largest crowds are:
'Franchising Your Business'
A two-day symposium for franchisors in the early stages of development or small businesses considering expansion through a franchised brand. Covered will be the appropriate steps for establishing a franchise and the risks to consider before starting the process as well as financial concerns, strategies and tactics of franchising.
'The Operations Manual:
The Foundation To Consistent Operation' A three-hour symposium that addresses the proper documentation of a business' processes and procedures that are necessary to ensure brand- wide consistency.
'The Use of Technology in Franchising'
Another three-hour symposium that looks at technology issues relating to franchising. Topics include ways to harness the potential of the latest technological advancements to promote communication and efficiency with a franchise system. Also covered are legal pitfalls and options for protection.
There is also the popular 'A to Z's of Buying a Franchise', a two-day symposium designed to help prospective franchisees evaluate the many different opportunities available to them. Topics featured include how to find the right franchise, questions to ask franchisors and franchisees, understanding franchising's legal documents and how to work with professional advisors and protect your investment. This comprehensive symposium is designed to help potential franchisees research and purchase a franchise opportunity with confidence. It is as effective for those just beginning to research opportunities as for those who are close to making a decision.
Free seminars expected to be especially attractive because of the location include 'How to Evaluate a US Franchise from a Latin American Perspective' and 'Legal Requirements for Franchising in Latin America'.
A commitment to diversity
As an added commitment to the diverse and ever-evolving franchise community, MFV Expositions and its Franchise Expos are now affiliated with MinorityFran. Launched in February, MinorityFran is the International Franchise Association's new designation for companies working to help minorities become franchisees and it provides a centralised resource for minority prospects looking to explore franchise offerings and companies actively looking to recruit minority franchisees.
'We're very excited to be a part of this initiative,' says Richard Del Giorno, Show Manager for MFV Expositions, which is producing the expo. 'There is a rich and diverse talent pool of potential franchisees looking for the perfect opportunity and our goal is to help them find that opportunity.'
MinorityFran is designed to use the IFA's Diversity Institute to build on relationships forged with leading organisations such as the National Urban League, Association of Small Business Development Centers, US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, and the Minority Business Development Agency. The goal is to not only increase the numbers of minority franchisees, but also to send the message to all communities that franchising is a smart and affordable way to realise the American Dream of small-business ownership.
Thousands head west for WCFE
In less than five years, the West Coast Expo has clearly become one of the industry's premier events. The 2006 WCFE attracted more than 200 exhibitors and over 9,700 prospective franchisees. 'Connecting people with the right concept is one of the greatest things about franchising and it was happening over and over again at the 2006 West Coast Franchise Expo,' says Richard, adding that praise for the young event was flowing from exhibitors.
'These visitors have the financial wherewithal, the transferable skills and the desire to be part of the franchise community,' said Choice Hotels' Charles Gilbert, who called the WCFE 'an excellent venue to raise brand awareness.'
For first-time exhibitor Estrada Strategies, the event easily exceeded expectations. 'The networking opportunities have been great,' said CEO Ruben Estrada. 'You need to be here if you are a growing franchisor.' In fact, the West Coast Franchise Expo has become so popular with leading franchise companies that more than 60 per cent of the show floor is already reserved for the 19th-21st October 2007 event.