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A franchise for everyone at the NEC

This year, the thousands of visitors expected when The National Franchise Exhibition returns to the NEC on September 30 and October 1, will also find a vast choice of opportunities from around 150 franchises, ranging from food and drink to home improvement, property and travel.

There will be a variety of franchise businesses to suit every budget, lifestyle and skill so aspiring entrepreneurs can find the opportunity to match their interests, with companies including Subway, Bluebird Care, Countrywide Grounds Maintenance, Go Cruise and Ovenclean UK. What’s more, visitors can be confident that the franchise opportunities presented to them are an ethical entity within the UK market as The National Franchise Exhibition is exclusively supported by the British Franchise Association (bfa), and only features franchise companies that have met the bfa’s Code Of Ethics.

At the show visitors can also find out all they need to know in order to develop a career in franchising by attending free seminars, speaking to banks, accountants, solicitors, franchising consultants and experts from the bfa.

A day or two at the UK’s largest franchise event will, for some visitors, be the introduction to a new career and lifestyle. They may well become franchise owners following their initial contact at the show. Husband and wife team Major and Bal Mahil did after meeting Belvoir Lettings at The National Franchise Exhibition. A year later, they launched Belvoir Birmingham Central and have gone on to achieve great success, winning Belvoir’s New Franchise of the Year and the Belvoir Customer Service Gold Award. Last year, the couple expanded their business, opening a second franchise in their local area.

Exhibition features and initiatives

As well as a comprehensive exhibition, there are a number of features designed to provide guidance for visitors, whether or not they are new to the world of franchising.

Those who are at the early stages of considering an investment in a franchise should head for The Franchise Starting Point, an area dedicated to helping visitors find ideas 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.

Visitors can assess their career to date and plan their next job move at the Careers Clinic, a new addition to the show, where a group of professionals will work with visitors to define their goals and objectives in order to build a clear career plan.

Securing finance and business planning are important steps on the route to owning a franchise. The Business Plan Clinic, sponsored by Lloyds TSB Commercial, provides the opportunity to learn all about securing funding and to receive professional advice on drafting a business plan.

Visitors will hear from franchise owners about the reality of the transition period from being employee to a self-employed franchise owner at the popular and inspiring Franchisee Panel. These sessions enable visitors to gain answers to all their questions and find out the pros and cons of becoming a franchise owner.

A series of seminars by the bfa forms part of the extensive, free conference programme at the show. During these sessions, a panel of experts will cover all aspects of franchising including how to find funding, who you should go to for legal advice and what a franchisor looks for in a franchise owner. In addition, there will be a series of seminars about key franchise-related topics including growing your own business, high-level investment franchising, franchise resales, executives in franchising, hands-on franchising, and families in franchising.

New to The National Franchise Exhibition is the High Investment VIP Lounge, enabling those with large sums to invest in a franchise to network and meet franchise businesses who can meet their requirements.

Buying an existing franchised business, rather than starting with a new opportunity, is an alternative that may suit many prospective franchise owners. Experts will be on hand at the Franchise Resales Pavilion to advise visitors on what is available.

Following its success at last years show, The Creation Station will return. This award winning franchise offers children and parents to opportunity to explore their artistic side at the free-of-charge Children’s Activity Centre. This enables children to have creative fun, freeing up the chance for a parent to discover more about the franchise businesses on offer.

Emma Bate, a Fitness Manager from Warwick and visitor at last year’s show, said: “This has been a good first step. We’ve learnt a lot and got ideas we had not thought of before we came.”

Adrian Goodsell, Franchise Exhibitions Manager at Venture Marketing Group, organisers of The National Franchise Exhibition, agreed: “A visit to the show is the perfect introduction to the world of franchising, showcasing the wide range of business available and putting visitors in contact with experts who can help them progress their career in the franchise industry.”

The exhibition is open from 10am each day, closing at 5pm on Friday and 4pm on Saturday. To register for The National Franchise Exhibition in Birmingham, call 0844 257 8668 or visit Callers can buy tickets by credit card for £10 each or £8 each for two or more. Admission on the door is £15.

Written by Louise Smith