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Miami joins franchising's expo series for 2007.

Like a hit television show, the world's leading producer of franchise expos is expanding into new cities. Beginning in 2007, Miami joins Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, providing coast-to-coast (and beyond) exposure for companies looking to expand their franchise base.

The 2007 season starts with the premier of the Franchise Expo South in Miami Jan. 19-21; returning for another hit season will be the International Franchise Expo in Washington, D.C. March 30 to April 1; and the season comes to an always dramatic close in Los Angeles, appropriately enough, with the annual West Coast Franchise Expo scheduled Oct. 19-21, 2007.

Miami promises to be a landmark for the events' sponsor, the International Franchise Association, and the producer, MFV Expositions. And as could be expected, many of franchising's hottest stars, young and old, are jumping at the opportunity to showcase themselves from coast-to-coast in 2007.

Franchise system such as the Goddard School, an early childhood development center, and Wellington Pet Care, a new 24-hour pet care services, will exhibit at all three events.

"These events are great for branding and marketing efforts," said Goddard School and Wellington Pet Care Franchise Dir. Jeff Travitz. "We do hope to raise sales, but that is not our only intention. Goddard Systems is already a well-established and respected franchise opportunity. By creating Wellington Pet Care we are branching out into an area where there is no clear, established franchise opportunity available for pet care."

Travitz added that he's been impressed with these events compared to other franchise tradeshows, and that influenced his decision to stick with them.

"These events are the only U.S. franchise tradeshows that we attend," he said. "MFV brings quality prospects. We were really turned off by other events we have previously attended."

Serving an American favorite, fried chicken, Chester's International is on the franchising fast-track and hopes to secure 500 franchisees 2010. As a result, it has made all three an integral part of their strategy for reaching that goal.

"These trade shows attract the largest audience of individuals interested in franchise opportunities," said Chester's International Director of Information Systems Richard Davis. "Chester's is always looking for qualified entrepreneurs who want to run their own successful business with a background in food service and the ability to open at least three Chester's restaurants. We will exhibit at all three franchise expos because the expos allow us to showcase Chester's from coast-to-coast to a broad domestic audience and international visitors."

No brand is too big to star at this event. Jani-King, a franchise commercial cleaning company, continues to look ahead to the continued growth and development of the brand. As part of its search for the next great franchisee, Jani-King has signed on to participate in all three events expos.

For Gary Dick, vice president of Jani-King Franchising, Inc, the expos are an integral part of marketing the company to prospective franchisees.

"The shows are the premier franchising events," said Dick. "I would tell any franchisor who is based in North America, that this is the event you want to exhibit at. For Jani-King, [these events are] an important part of gaining market exposure and a competitive edge in a competitive industry."

Siegel Capital, a company that provides lending assistance to small and mid-sized businesses and to individuals acquiring small and mid-sized businesses, is also signed up for the entire season.

"It is part of our strategy of being the most visible and helpful financing source in the franchise industry," said Bernie Siegel, president of Siegel Capital, who also presents the popular seminar on 'How to Finance Your Franchise.' Siegel's seminar has become so popular that it will be presented twice per expo starting with Miami.

Since each show is as unique as the region in which it is conducted, exhibitors will be exposed to an array of well-qualified prospects with a wide range of tastes, but are all similar in that they are all who are serious about finding the best franchise opportunity and are ready to buy.

A Southern Debut

By kicking off the year in Miami, exhibitors will have direct access to a richly-diverse culture with a Latin-American flavor. The dramatic, ongoing growth of this region makes it a prime location to target prospects from the Southeastern United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. The tropical atmosphere, warm weather will also offer a refreshing escape from the winter chill and the perfect setting for hot business opportunities. Even though this is the inaugural year for the Franchise Expo South, already it is on track to be the region's leading event for franchise systems with more than 100 companies scheduled to exhibit. In fact, the show is a direct response to repeated requests from franchise companies asking for an event that would help them achieve their sales goals in the region. It's still not too late to get involved. A limited amount of booth space is still available.

Warm Weather, Hot Seminars The Franchise Expo South may be the new kid on the block, but experienced expo exhibitors will likely bring the entire sales team in order to staff their booths in shifts, so that they can also participate in the exceptional learning opportunities available. As has a become a tradition at these expos, more than 30 free seminars will address a range of topics, while the symposia will delve into specific subjects that are important to running a successful franchise.

Due to the popularity of the programs, advance registration is recommended and includes admission to the exhibit hall.

For franchise organizations in the early stages of development or small businesses considering expansion through a franchised brand, "Franchising Your Business." is a two-day symposium that describes the appropriate steps for establishing a franchise and the risks to consider before starting the process. The symposium also discusses financial concerns, strategy and tactics of franchising.

"The Operations Manual: The Foundation to Consistent Operation" will teach the proper documentation of a business' processes and procedures that are necessary to ensure brand-wide consistency. This three-hour symposium also reviews ways to effectively communicate your procedures in a way that will accurately capture and convey the franchise's details for operation.

"The Use of Technology in Franchising" is a three-hour symposium that will look at technology issues as they relate to franchising. Topics will include ways to harness the potential of the latest technological advancements to promote communication and efficiency within a franchise system. Legal pitfalls and protection will also be covered.

The free seminars will offer a wide scope of information, including some topics that are specific to the region, such as "How to Evaluate a U.S. Franchise from a Latin American Perspective" and "Legal Requirements for Franchising in Latin America."

More information on Franchise Expo South is available at www.franchiseexposouth.com.

From Capital Ideas to West Coast Fever

If it's a capital idea you're looking for in the year ahead, don't leave out the nation's capital. Prospects from more than 80 countries and across the United States will travel to Washington D.C. March 30 to April 1 to investigate the top franchise opportunities at the International Franchise Expo. Sponsored by the IFA and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the show is the world's leading franchising event. Nearly 15,000 visitors attended last year's event and approximately 3,000 were international delegates.

For franchises considering international expansion, as well as those whose growth will focus only within the United States, the show will deliver serious prospects who are ready to buy. According to show surveys, 51 percent of attendees to the IFE had $100,000 or more to invest in a franchise while 6 percent had more than a $1 million ready to invest in a new business.

Now in its 16th year, the 2007 IFE is on track to be even bigger and more information is available at www.franchisexpo.com.

For franchise concepts ready to broaden their presence on the West Coast, the WCFE, Nov. 3 to 5 in Los Angeles, will offer the greatest exposure. Targeting the 13 states in the West Coast region, the WCFE reaches thousands of entrepreneurs with franchising aspirations and in just two years, the West Coast Franchise Expo has grown to be the top franchising event catering specifically to the flourishing West Coast.

More information on the WCFE is available at www.wcfexpo.com.

Getting Noticed

Whether your franchise company plans to exhibit at all three shows or just one highly-targeted event, one key factor will play a significant role to exposure at the event: the booth. In a crowded exhibit hall, the booth is what attendees notice first and the larger the better. Compared to a 100-foot booth, a larger, professional-looking 200-foot booth space will generate 280 percent more leads, a 300-foot booth will increase the response by 360 percent, and a 400-foot booth will garner an 820 percent greater response. Attendees are also more likely to remember the booth if it is large and visually appealing.

Travitz has found that a larger investment in the booth has paid off for his franchise concepts

"These events are so important to us that we spend a good deal of money on our booth because we find that MFV Expos bring good, quality prospects," said Travitz of Wellington Pet Care.

But larger is only better if there is adequate space.

Also, Travitz recommends choosing a spot on the floorplan carefully. Positioning in the exhibit hall can also affect the results. Corners and double-end caps provide access to more aisles than if a booth is in the middle of a long row of companies.

Regardless of a franchise's plans for expansion, the type of franchisee being sought or the stage in establishing the brand, to make a mark in the franchising sector, this year's hit series--the Franchise Expo South, the International Franchise Expo, and West Coast Franchise Expo--should be part your marketing plan for 2007. Joel Goldstein is the director of marketing for MFV Expositions. He can be reached at jgoldstein@mfvexpo.com.
COPYRIGHT 2006 International Franchise Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:FW FOCUS: FRANCHISING EXPO
Author:Goldstein, Joel
Publication:Franchising World
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Words:1672
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