Franchise ‘Match-making’ service moves to exciting new venue

Park Plaza Victoria will play host to Franchise Opportunities Live this September. We look at the success to date of one of the more innovative events on the franchising calendar.

From fast-food and finance to property and beauty, there will be a vast array of superb business and careers prospects to consider at Franchise Opportunities Live in London on 5th and 6th September. This year however, the event will be held at an exciting new central London location, Park Plaza Victoria. The new venue not only provides excellent facilities to maintain the distinctive informal, yet business-like atmosphere of Franchise Opportunities Live, it also makes the exhibition much more easily accessible for visitors travelling from afar. It is in the heart of London, a short walk from Victoria rail, underground and bus stations, which have excellent links to both Heathrow and Gatwick airports and all the mainline stations.

The companies at the event will be offering exciting opportunities to match all interests and budgets. They cover a wide range of sectors including finance, food & drink, property, homecare and beauty. Platinum Property Partners and McDonald’s are two of the major names taking part, alongside TaxAssist Accountants, Kare Plus, Dublcheck, Belvoir Lettings, Guinot, EweMove, Thebestof and many more. Exhibitors from overseas looking to expand their franchise base in the UK through Franchise Opportunities Live include Cañas y Tapas from Spain and BrightStar Care from the USA.

The unique ‘match-making’ service put in place by the event organisers Venture Marketing Group ensures Franchise Opportunities Live stands out against other franchise events. Visitors are requested to register their interests and criteria in advance to ensure they are paired up with the most suitable franchises for them, according to budget, skills and areas of interest. This is designed to ensure that each visitor makes the most of their time at the event.

This format has proved particularly popular in the past two years as it allows aspiring franchise owners to hold proper face-to-face informal business meetings with franchisors, enabling them to gain a real feel for the franchise, to gauge the ‘chemistry’ of the relationship and whether they would like to arrange further discussion or visits to open days.

The one-to-one meetings also allow any questions to be answered directly and for any concerns that aspiring franchise owners may have to be approached in a confidential and direct manner. This means that most visitors will be able to make significant progress in their franchising research and negotiations.

Abdul Ansari, a hospital director from London, thought the face-to-face meetings were very helpful. “I booked meetings in advance. They were very informative and it’s a great way to interact as one-to-one meetings give you a real idea of the concept.

Franchising is growing, which is what drew me to it. It is also secure and provides a good support network. I would definitely come again.” Aman Bakshi, an accountant who travelled from Maidenhead, was equally positive about the meetings. He said, “I am interested in a business-to-business franchise and this is a convenient place to meet several companies in one place. The meetings have helped me to learn much more about the businesses. I’ve certainly taken a good step forward today.”

For those visitors who are still assessing what sort of franchise they should be considering and wanting to learn all about finance and contracts, there is an extensive programme of seminars taking place across the two days, many of which are hosted by the British Franchise Association (bfa). Together, they cover every aspect of franchising that a budding entrepreneur needs to know about or consider. For those with a clearer view of their plans, there are also dedicated sessions focussed on high investment and on franchises that provide a greater return on investment.

Running alongside the seminar programme are specialist areas to help visitors. The Finance Clinic will answer any questions specifically related to budget or investment, especially how to prepare a business plan, and the Networking Hub will allow for in-depth conversations with franchise experts and experienced franchise owners.

One of the most popular advisory sessions is the Real Franchise Stories, where entrepreneurs who have recently become successful franchise owners will share their experiences, both how they made it and the difficulties that they overcame along the way. The franchise owners provide valuable insight into the reality of running a business and making the transition from employee to self-employed business owner and employer.

Omar Sharif, a software designer from Slough, was pleased with the way his day worked out. “I want to set up a business with my wife. We’ve had appointments with several major food companies; the appointment system is excellent because it gives you a decent time with each company and you can plan your day. The seminars are superb and are worth their weight in gold!”

Franchise Opportunities Live provides the perfect place to gain a closer understanding of franchising, what the franchisors have to offer, and gather how fellow franchise owners help and offer a support network. With the meetings system and the highly informative seminars, a visit to Franchise Opportunities Live is an excellent way to investigate and progress a potential new career as a franchise owner.” Adrian Goodsell, Head of Franchise Sales at event organisers Venture Marketing Group, commented on the move. “Franchise Opportunities Live is a relatively new and different way for prospective franchise owners to progress their research into franchises. Following the tremendous popularity of the event in previous years, we are expecting it to again be a superb experience for everyone this year.

“We are continually working to ensure that our events provide innovative and effective forums for potential franchise owners to meet their ideal franchise. We pride ourselves in providing the best independent advice and guidance to visitors. This targeted event is of real benefit for those seriously considering a career in franchising.” Franchise Opportunities Live is supported by the bfa, which means that every exhibitor at the event has been confirmed as operating in line with the association’s strict ethical code so visitors can meet with them and enter into negotiations with confidence.

The event takes place in central London on 5th & 6th September 2014 at the Park Plaza, Victoria. To register to attend please email: franchise@vmgl.com.