Franchises for everyone

The National Franchise Exhibition 2011 at the NEC Birmingham, will play host to franchise opportunities from around the world

With 36,900 franchise outlets in the UK, according to the latest NatWest/British Franchise Association (bfa) Franchise Survey, franchising has become one of the most popular options for those who wish to take their career in a new direction or to expand their business.

A visit to The National Franchise Exhibition, which takes place from September 30 to October 1, is the ideal way to discover the latest updates from the industry – from new franchise businesses to expert advice and guidance on key issues. The exhibition even has an extensive free conference, which provides visitors with an opportunity to find out everything they need to know about franchising, from where to start and who to talk to, to where to find advice and which franchise is best suited to their requirements.

Expert advice

Experts from the bfa, members from the legal and finance professions, business advisers and both franchisors and franchise owners will be hosting seminars to equip visitors with the fundamental information they need to search for their perfect franchise.

The bfa seminars will cover essential topics that a prospective franchise owner needs to consider including Taking Your First Steps Into Franchising, Choosing Franchising After Redundancy and What To Consider When Choosing A Franchise.

These seminars will also explore issues of interest to franchisors including Essential Tips For Franchising Your Business and Expanding Your Business Through Franchising.

At other seminars, experts will address topics such as High-level Investment Franchising, Franchise Resales, Executives In Franchising, Families In Franchising, Growing Your Own Business, Hands-on Franchising and Franchising Your Business.

Tips from the top

The conference is hosted by a number of top-class keynote speakers, who will share the secrets of their business success. In his talk, Developing A Business Brand, John Johnson, Commercial Director at Johnson’s Coaches, will outline the importance of customer care, identifying and developing opportunities and driving employee engagement. Richard Forte, Chief Operations Officer at McDonald’s UK, who has nearly 20 years of experience with the company and manages the day-to-day running of 1,200 restaurants in the UK, is set to discuss How Franchising Gives You The Winning Streak.

The National Franchise Exhibition also has a number of free features that visitors can explore alongside the conference. In previous years, The Franchisee Panel has proved so popular that extra sessions have been added this year to cater for demand. The Panel consists of franchise owners, who will share their real life accounts of making the transition from employee to being self-employed. They will detail anecdotes and advice, providing valuable guidance for those considering becoming a franchise owner. At the Franchise Resales Pavilion, experts will be on hand to discuss the resale opportunities available, and advise on the next steps to take whether visitors want to buy an existing franchise or sell their franchise business.

Funds for franchising

The Business Plan Clinic, sponsored by Lloyds TSB Commercial, provides the opportunity to learn all about securing funding and to receive professional advice about drafting a business plan – key to developing a successful business.

The Franchise Starting Point will be dedicated to helping visitors completely new to the concept of franchising find business opportunities to suit them. Franchising experts including the bfa team, specialists from leading banks, accountants, lawyers, as well as, current franchise owners and franchisors will be on hand to provide visitors with all the help and advice they need as they consider their options and prepare to develop a successful franchise business.

For those uncertain what business might be right for them, professionals at the Careers Clinic will work with visitors to define their goals and objectives in order to build a clear, focused and realistic career plan.

A wealth of opportunities

Alongside the wide range of free features and conference, the show also has some 150 franchise businesses for visitors to meet from a range of sectors including sports, technology, food and drink, travel and home improvement – a business to suit every budget, lifestyle and skill. Companies include ActionCOACH Business Coaching, Country Properties, Envirocare Grounds Maintenance, Minter’s Fine Foods, and Subway. There are also a number of new franchise opportunities that will be introducing their business models at the show. These include Jim’s Mowing, a leading garden maintenance and lawn mowing service provider in the UK, Wilkins Chimney Sweep and Just Shutters.

Visitors with families are welcome at the show and The Creation Station has plenty to entertain them. The award-winning franchise is hosting a Children’s Activity Centre for younger visitors and their parents to unleash their creative flair while a partner takes the opportunity to explore the exhibition.

Adrian Goodsell, Franchise Exhibitions Manager at Venture Marketing Group, organisers of The National Franchise Exhibition, says: “This event will be packed with proven business opportunities with highly reputable established brands that are a valuable asset, and all the sources of advice they need to start a new career.

“Visitors can have confidence in all of these businesses as they have been accredited by the bfa as part of the Association’s exclusive support of the show.”

Exhibition success stories

  • Kamal Nazar has been running Bluebird Care in Coventry for around three months, having found the business at The National Franchise Exhibition last year. He was impressed by the broad opportunity that Bluebird Care offers in providing care to a large customer group as well as older people.
  • Brothers Andy and Paul Tolhurst from Hastings attended The British & International Franchise Exhibition in March 2009, intent on starting up their own business. In just seven months, the duo had left their careers in the finance and sales sectors to develop a retail business with Cash Generator. Andy and Paul are now proud owners of a successful business in Hastings and have just arranged to develop a second site in Eastbourne, due to open towards the end of the year.
  • Sue Winterson was facing redundancy after spending much of her working life in supply chain management and visited The National Franchise Exhibition to find out more about management franchise opportunities in the UK. As a result, she joined Expense Reduction Analysts five years ago. “The exhibition helped me research the Expense Reduction Analysts franchise, and the business proposition really appealed,” she says. “It also allowed me to work from home, combining flexibility with the benefit of being my own boss and in control of my own success.”

Written by Louise Smith