If you haven't already heard (because we've rather been going on about it), Franchise Direct UK are heading to The Franchise Show at London's ExCel this Friday 24th and Saturday 25th of February. If you are going, pop along to stand 105 where Brian, Lillie and Fiona will be delighted to say hello.If you haven't got tickets, don't worry you can still apply for free tickets.
We are quite excited, and thought we could share this excitement with a few handy tips about making the most of a franchise exhibition.
Facetime. Literature and information on franchise opportunities is much easier to come across now with the internet. So are tens of thousands of people gathering to wake around the ExCel in circles? Because there's still no equivalent to the human experience of physically going to see, hear and talk about franchises. Make the most of all your senses.
Talk to the franchise support managers, franchise owners, and current franchisees. Everyone is on form at exhibitions, and willing to do plenty of talking about their business. Forget about the groceries and MOT for one day and immerse yourself.
Do your research. Chances are if you are going along to a franchise show, that you have some interest in the franchising industry already. Do some more homework for an even better idea of how the franchise model works. If there are any particular areas within the standard model that you do or don't like, have a think about why that is, so you can spend your time smartly on the day. You can download our Pocket Guide to Franchising to brush up in the history of the industry, tips and advice.
Survey the ground before kick-off. View who the exhibitors are, what they do, and what you want from them. Make a list of four or five people you want to talk to. This might seem like a small number, but make sure you really want to see these. You'll get distracted, you'll get hungry, there'll be plenty of distractions (yogurt and fish manicures last year) so if you don't plan, you might not get around everyone you want to see.
Whilst doing your research is vital, try to remain impartial when you finally do get through the doors of the ExCel. If you're too focused on one idea or industry you might remain oblivious to your perfect match and miss out on the business of a lifetime. Look, listen, absorb as much information as you can.
Sit on your bottom. As well as exhibitors, there is a wide array of industry professionals making speeches and presentations. From a former C4 The Secret Millionaire, to leading high street banks, pay attention to these experts, and take the chance to sit on your bum for a few minutes!
When you make that final trip to the toilet and hop in the car to go home, remember to make sure you spend some time going over the literature, experience and advice you took with you. If something really struck a chord with you follow it up! You've already taken the first step by spending your Friday or Saturday in the heart of the Docklands, so milk it!
Tips to keep going throughout the day.
- Take water, comfortable shoes and some snacks. Enjoy a long lunch break to give you time to refocus your energies again for the afternoon.
- If you have a smartphone or a phone with a camera, take pictures of business cards, URLs, and anything that might interest you. Greener than slips of paper and you'll be less inclined to lose them!
- Franchisors will be keen to demonstrate what their business does. Keep your eyes open for freebies. Who said there's no such thing as a free lunch?