A wealth of opportunities at the UK’s largest franchise event

Key for an aspiring entrepreneur looking to invest in a franchise is to find a business that suits their expertise and skills. At The National Franchise Exhibition you’ll find some of the best opportunities available

With more than 900 franchise opportunities in the UK – according to the NatWest/ British Franchise Association (bfa) Franchise Survey 2012 – finding an efficient way to review this choice is invaluable.

An excellent way to compile a shortlist of franchises is to visit The National Franchise Exhibition on October 5 and 6. Held at the NEC in Birmingham, the event showcases around 100 franchise concepts to suit every budget, expertise and lifestyle.

These businesses cover a variety of sectors from finance, retail, and property to travel, home care, motoring, food and drink and leisure. The choice includes McDonald’s, The Zip Yard, Mac Tools, Local People, Sblended Shakes, Muffin Break, Banana Moon Day Nurseries, Go Cruise and Yoyo Noodle Group. Visitors can meet face-to-face with representatives from these businesses to find out more about life as a franchise owner.

Keith Spengler, a former Telecommunications Manager from Banbury, discovered that a visit to last year’s event was a helpful way to explore opportunities.

“I really enjoyed myself at the show, especially seeing so many innovative ideas and eye-catching stands,” he enthuses. “It is a great way to review a diverse range of businesses. There were two or three businesses that were very interesting, so I may end up buying more than one franchise!”

bfa-approved

Visitors can have confidence in the franchise opportunities available, as The National Franchise Exhibition is supported by the bfa – which only allows franchise companies that have met its code of ethics to exhibit.

Alongside the exhibitors, the UK’s largest franchise event has many exciting free features to provide visitors with a greater understanding of life as a franchise owner and the help they need to build their own franchised business successfully.

The extensive free conference at The National Franchise Exhibition enables visitors to find out everything they need to know about franchising from the bfa, members of the legal and finance professions and business advisers.

Topics covered will include basics such as where to start, who to talk to, where to find advice and which franchise would best suit them; to themes including high level investment franchising, executives in franchising, growing your own business and franchising your business.

Leading experts

Visitors can also attend informative seminars with a panel of industry leading experts including lawyers, bankers, consultants and franchisors. There are also exclusive seminars from the bfa exploring essential tips for franchising your business, taking your first step into franchising and making franchising your future.

Carl St. Paul, a leisure industry worker from the West Indies who visited the event in 2011, found the seminars valuable.

“The seminars are particularly useful and the show covered every sector,” he says. “I received lots of information that I would not have otherwise gained if I had not have visited the show. It was very good and informative.”

The Franchisee Panel has proved a very popular feature with visitors in previous years. During these sessions, franchise owners will share their real life accounts of making the transition from employee to being self-employed. They will provide anecdotes and advice, offering valuable guidance for those considering making the move into franchising.

“The Franchisee Panel gave a good insight into the work that you have to invest. The panel were very open and honest about their earnings,” says Neil Smith, a customer services director in the IT sector from Epsom who went to last year’s exhibition.

Business advice

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.

Sponsored by NatWest, the Business Plan Clinic has advisers ready to answer funding queries. Visitors can find out about how to secure funding and receive advice on how to construct a business plan. Valuable advice and assistance can also be obtained from experts Franchise Finance and HSBC, who will both be at the exhibition.

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 rest of the exhibition.

Adrian Goodsell, Franchise Exhibitions Manager at Venture Marketing Group, organisers of The National Franchise Exhibition, says: “A visit to the event is the perfect introduction to franchising and the wide range of business opportunities available in the UK. It will also put visitors in contact with experts who can help them progress their career in the franchise industry.”

Written by Louise Smith