The National Franchise Exhibition is just around the corner

Looking for a new career or business? The National Franchise Exhibition, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham on 14 & 15 February, is the perfect place for budding entrepreneurs to learn all about franchising as a career. The Franchise Magazine reports.

At this year’s event, there will be experts to answer every question. Exhibitors from a wide range of new and established brands will be out in force, offering opportunities to suit all budgets and skill levels. Platinum Property Partners, WPA, Clarriots Home Care, Snappy Snaps, Cash Converters, McDonald’s and Dream Doors are just some of the many impressive names that visitors to the exhibition can meet to explore the prospects of becoming a franchise owner. McDonald’s will also be hosting open sessions.

An appointments system has been put in place to make sure that visitors make the most of their time at the event. By visiting the website, visitors can pre-book one-to-one sessions with exhibitors they are interested in meeting face to face between the seminars and advice talks.

As well as scores of exhibitors, there will also be industry professionals on hand to provide advice and lead a series of free seminars and lectures. The National Franchise Exhibition is fully supported by the British Franchise Association (bfa), which means that visitors can have complete confidence that all the exhibitors and, indeed, every aspect of the event has been vetted by industry experts and adheres to a strict code of conduct.

There will be a series of panel sessions organised by the bfa on subjects such as ‘an introduction to franchising’, which will be led by expert consultants and cover all the essential considerations for prospective franchise owners in-depth. Visitors can also meet professionals face-to-face through the individual advisory services on offer. This includes the Expert Advice Clinic, which is run by industry experts, lawyers and bankers and this is the ideal place to ask all those tricky questions that many promising franchise owners need answering. The Finance Clinic will help visitors put together their all important business plans, while consultants in the Careers Clinic give guidance on career plans that is both focused and realistic.

One of the most popular features of The National Franchise Exhibition is the Real Franchise Stories, where franchise owners who have already established themselves share their experiences and top tips on how to be successful in the world of franchising.

Another inspiring feature is the ‘Growing Your Own Business’ conference where entrepreneurs talk freely about the successful businesses they have built and how to emulate them. This year, The National Franchise Exhibition will welcome Peter Higgs from PGH Pest Control, who will talk about how he started his company from humble beginnings and how he has grown it organically through word of mouth and referrals to become the success it is today. Search Engine Optimisation expert, Steve Feeney, will also be explaining how he started SEO Company, Essential, and turned it into a highly recommended business with twelve members of staff. Peter and Steve will advise their audiences on how they too can create their own company and will host Q&A sessions.

For those looking to invest at the higher end of the scale, the High Investment VIP Lounge will offer facilities for more private conversations in comfortable and exclusive surroundings. High investment is also covered in the seminar programme. The High Investment Panel Sessions, sponsored by Platinum Property Partners, will provide the extra advice needed for potential investors in this area. There are also seminars for those interested in ‘hands-on franchising’, as well as ‘executives in franchising’ and ‘franchising your business’.

The franchise industry continues to grow in the UK year-on-year, despite the economic downturn. The National Franchise Exhibition provides the perfect opportunity for many more people to join this burgeoning industry.

Brian Smart, the Director General of the British Franchise Association, recently commented on the future of the franchising industry: “UK franchising offers thousands of people each year the opportunity to take on their own sustainable business – in turn creating employment for many thousands more – a success that has continued through hard economic times while other parts of the economy have struggled.

“The exceptional performance of the franchise sector since 2008 augurs well as the UK returns to business growth and prosperity. There are now nearly 1,000 franchise brands operating in this country across multiple business sectors, offering plentiful opportunities for those undertaking the necessary research and due diligence to join the franchise success story.”

The National Franchise Exhibition is open from 10am each day; it closes at 5pm on Friday 14th February, and 4pm on Saturday 15th February. Admission at the door costs up to £10, but visitors can gain free entry by booking tickets online in advance. To register go to the franchise website, franchiseinfo.co.uk and enter the promotional code NFSFMF.