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Coffee and Analytics: Should You Ever Invest in a Franchise Expo?

With a recent visit to a franchise expo, I questioned the effectiveness of these expos in general. My conclusion? Improved franchisee education and cost-effective alternatives is the way to go.

I attended the New York Franchise Expo in May to network with franchisors, suppliers and franchise buyers. However, I was also on a mission to better understand how valuable franchise expos are for those looking for candidates.

I started with a search of 1851’s survey database, but the franchisee responses revealed no mentions of expos, which suggested that their role in finding franchise buyers might be limited. This, in combination with my own experience at expos, led me to the following conclusion: 

While expos can be beneficial for brands with large budgets, emerging brands are often better off considering alternative, more cost-effective strategies.

Sure, if you have all the money in the world, an expo might make sense. But, if your budget is limited, there are more effective alternatives. You might try leveraging digital marketing and targeting specific regions for development. Attending industry-specific conferences outside the franchising domain is another great option.

While at the expo, I also noticed that there is room for improvement in the organizational set up of franchise expos. Organizing expos by investment levels could provide better guidance for potential franchise buyers, aligning their financial capacity with suitable opportunities. Enhancing educational sessions and resources at expos would help buyers gain a clearer understanding of franchising. Why not invite franchise brokers to assist buyers at expos? This could significantly improve the educational experience.

When it comes to franchise selling and recruitment, I’m a firm believer that we should be moving away from hard selling. Recruiting and educating franchisees is a much better approach. Equipping franchise candidates with comprehensive knowledge about franchising is crucial for their success and, by extension, the success of the franchisor.

Don’t sell. Coach.

This is exactly what 1851 Franchise aims to do: educate prospective franchisee candidates so they can make an informed decision about their next investment. The 1851 main site has undergone a comprehensive overhaul to improve its educational value for franchisees. The brand pages now offer detailed information and resources, making the site a robust tool for potential franchise buyers. Customizable forms, integrated university resources and press coverage are among the new features that enhance the user experience.