The International Franchise Expo (IFE) is drawing near, and thousands of entrepreneurs, business owners and investors across the world are gearing up for the largest franchise expo in the country. This year, the expo will be bigger than ever, drawing in a huge audience of movers and shakers in the franchise industry, and those looking to be part of it.
The expo is taking place in New York this year on June 15-17. Franchisors have been waiting all year for the opportunity to showcase their brand in front of prospective investors and franchisees. Franchises will be able to exhibit their concept to thousands of individuals looking for a new opportunity. People looking to do business locally in New York, regionally and nationally will all be at the expo, and this year, the IFE is doing something different, opening the show in NYC to any company without restriction.
This year, franchisors have the opportunity to apply for “Trade Show Exemption” status, allowing them to do business at the expo. This fee-based exemption, provided by the NY State Attorney General has never been done before, and it opens up the expo doors to a whole new group of franchised businesses. With the exemption, franchisors can exhibit at the IFE without formal registration with the state of New York and promote their opportunity on the expo floor during trade show hours. However, actual sales agreements must take place after the company has registered.
International expansion is the ultimate goal for every franchise, and it’s only a matter of time until every concept moves in that direction. Franchising internationally can be tricky, and expos provide a perfect venue for making connections and building the relationships to do so. Having an exemption for franchisors at an expo taking place in the nation’s business capital translates to a huge opportunity for businesses looking to take that next step. Many franchisors have already taken advantage of the simple application process that will allow them to make those connections at the show. Visitors from over 40 countries will be taking advantage of what the IFE has to offer.
The IFE is the largest franchise show in the country, and this year, the expo floor is selling out – something that hasn’t happened in 21 years. The show has already outgrown its allotted space, requiring adjacent space to be added. Plenty of dedicated franchises will be coming back to take advantage of all the show has to offer, in addition to nearly 100 newcomers, and counting. The international exemption program is making this all possible, and is directly responsible for new companies exhibiting the IFE.
“The exemption opportunity is making the show much more significant this year,” said Jim Mastandrea, Group Show Director of MFV Expositions, the company responsible for putting together the IFE. “We’ve always had a great turnout at the IFE, but this year we’ve really gone all out, making sure that the attendees will have every opportunity at their disposal to make connections locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.”
The IFE offers something for everyone. Franchisors attend expos like this to showcase their concept to hundreds of potential investors, arriving armed with a franchise development team ready make an impression and generate leads and sales.
Ray Titus, President of United Franchise Group, discusses the importance of lead generation at an expo and the impact expos have on a brand. “All leads are quality leads. Anybody who wants to find out more about our company is a potential prospect, or a potential employee or a potential customer,” Titus said. “We’re not necessarily offering franchises here. We’re building a brand.”
Franchisees attend expos to continue to fully engrain themselves in the industry and stay on top of what’s new and hot. Many businesses will be exhibiting to explore the idea of selling multi-units, ready to see what else the industry has to offer. The IFE will also open its doors to those who have an interest in franchising – ready to decide if it’s the right fit and what concept will launch them into entrepreneurship.
Ted Looney, Vice President of Jani-King Franchising, explains his objective when meeting new people at expos. “Our goal is to welcome every single visitor and provide them with the information to make a good, educated decision,” Looney said.
Kevin Derella, Executive Vice President of Coverall Health Systems, believes that it’s all about the visitor. “When talking to potential franchisees, we want to find out if franchising is right for them,” Derella said. “When you’re going to buy a business, it should be something you’re interested in; something you like. Our objective is to send these people on their way with information that will help them make a good decision, with the ultimate goal to attract them to our concept and get them into the local office for a presentation after the show.”
There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the IFE this year, and there will be plenty of educational opportunities for those that are new to franchising and looking to develop programs for their concepts. Along with its devoted attendees, its media alliances and affiliations have been making it all happen. Included in the list of partnerships and supporters are Entrepreneur Magazine, The New York Times, Fortune, Money, Time, and the Star Ledger.
As the franchise industry continues to grow, more and more entrepreneurs and businesses take advantage of what franchising has to offer and opportunities continue to blossom. Expos like the IFE bring everyone together, for ultimate discovery into the industry and unrivaled brand development.