Today saw the official start of the 30th anniversary of the International Franchise Expo; one of North America’s most prominent franchising gatherings taking place right in the heart of New York City.
The show floor was bustling with franchising activity, and brands from all over the world came together to celebrate the business model, make new connections, and learn more from their franchising peers.
There’s even an entire section of the show floor dedicated to the Taiwanese market, with many homegrown brands showing off their popular concepts and providing the opportunity for attendees to learn more about this diverse, emerging region.
We’re here to bring you extensive coverage of the event; for both attendees who were busy getting immersed in the day’s activities, or those unable to make the trip. Make sure to come back tomorrow, too, when we’ll be covering the second day of content.
SESSION ONE: AMAZING CAREER AND OWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES IN FRANCHISING
- Presenter: Dr. John P. Hayes, CFE, Titus Center for Franchising
Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially launch the expo, the first session the team attended was helmed by Dr. John P. Hayes, CFE; a recognized expert when it comes to franchise education and international success.
John began his session by talking about the origins of iconic franchise brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway; using these case studies as a way of exemplifying the power of entrepreneurialism when channelled through franchising.
His presentation continued in this fashion, with statistics used to illustrate the power and influence of the American franchise industry; for example, over 75 unique industries exist across the business model, meaning that anybody from any background can surely find a brand that appeals to their passions and expertise.
John also touched on some crucial steps that would-be franchisees should take when embarking on their own journeys, such as speaking with existing franchisees and asking lots of self-searching questions to determine what route is right for you. Ultimately, franchising may not be for everybody because, as John put it, “you’ve got to do it their way.”
SESSION TWO: FUNDING STRATEGIES TO SUPPORT NEW LOCATIONS
- Presenter: Eric Schechterman, CFE, Benetrends Financial
John’s session was followed by a similarly invaluable presentation by Eric Schechterman on funding new locations; an essential step for both experienced franchisees, and newcomers to the industry.
Eric spoke about the multiple ways that entrepreneurs could go about funding their growth, and covered everything from SBA loans to self-funding, as well as how assets such as stock portfolios or property could be brought into the equation.
He touched on the changing state of SBA loans, and how banks have arguably become very siloed now when it comes to what kinds of businesses they view as suitable for a loan; as he put it, “some banks like chocolate, and some like vanilla.”
As part of his seminar, Eric laid out a handful of important steps that franchisees should take in order to make their funding journey as smooth as possible. This included getting pre-qualified for a loan before attending a discovery day, so that brands can see you’re a viable candidate from a financial perspective.
SESSION THREE: SHOULD YOU EXPAND BY FRANCHISING?
- Presenter: Mark Siebert, iFranchise Group
The day’s sessions concluded with Mark Siebert’s deep-dive into whether the franchising model is suited to all kinds of businesses; a discussion that involved Mark exploring other options that businesses could take, such as licensing.
The session began by Mark outlining FTC Rule 436; that is, the three elements that are used to define a franchise in the U.S.:
- The use of a common trademark
- The exercise of control or provision of assistance
- The collection of fees or royalties from franchisees.
Next, Mark walked the audience through the questions that a business owner would need to ask themselves to work out whether their concept is actually franchisable. This included areas such as differentiation, credibility, buyer appeal, and a successful prototype; all things that future franchisees would be looking for before deciding to invest.
The session was something of a masterclass when it came to building a franchise brand, as Mark touched on everything from financial strategy to the kind of timeline that an owner could expect from the origins of an idea to the launch of their brand.