Franchising World April 2012
By: Joel Goldstein
Growing your brand is top of mind for franchisors across the globe and there are ample resources to do this, but only few will produce the most positive results. There are specific, strategic steps to take on the road to expansion, and before considering expansion of any kind, franchisors must establish a solid brand identity and consistent brand messaging, along with the due diligence to discover which markets are right for your brand. When you’re ready to expand, and all your bases are covered, it’s time to find the people who will play the crucial role in your success and growth.
The International Franchise Expo provides a perfect outlet for franchisors to reach investors who are ready to grow their business. This year, the IFE is relocating to the nation’s business capital, New York City, attracting investors from all over the world who are serious about starting or expanding their business. Many brands are looking forward to the new location as an opportunity to meet new prospects in the region. The popular trade show is sponsored by the International Franchise Association and produced by MFV Expositions.
“We’re looking to expand Batteries Plus’ store presence in the Northeast and the IFE’s move to New York affords us a better opportunity to directly reach out to prospective franchisees in a market where we will be opening stores,” said John Twist, vice president of development of Batteries Plus.
If you’re going to be utilizing the expo as a tactic to build your brand, there are a few important things to consider regarding growth in the Big Apple
New York Equals New Opportunities
No matter where you plan to grow your business, whether regionally, nationally or internationally, New York City provides a perfect opportunity to reach investors from all over the world. The IFE attracts visitors from more than 45 countries.
Warren Christiansen, vice president of franchising of Fatburger North America, explains that the brand has already penetrated several international markets, and will be exhibiting at IFE to explore new markets that align with the brand’s expansion goals.
“Our growth has been strong in the Middle East and Asia and there are a number of large markets that we plan to expand into,” Christiansen said. “We’ll be at the IFE to meet candidates from Europe, South America and the United States. We expect to see great results.”
Companies don’t have to be expanding internationally to benefit from exhibiting at the IFE. The expo is a great opportunity to establish contacts right in the market, and many local companies will be exhibiting, such as Cups Frozen Yogurt.
“We’re a New Jersey-based company and the expo is right in our backyard,” said Ed Yancey, CFE, director of franchise development at Cups Frozen Yogurt. “The largest presence of our concept is in the New York/New Jersey market, so it’s only natural for Cups Frozen Yogurt to exhibit. We’re excited to meet prospective franchisees, as well as those that already know our brand.”
New York City offers a rewarding opportunity for those brands outside of the United States interested in coming into New York to grow internationally. The Noodle House, based in Dubai and part of Jumeriah Restaurants, is a brand that is looking forward to capitalizing on opportunities in New York City, the center for food and beverages across the United States
“Exhibiting at the IFE really puts our brand in the fray of all the brands that are already in New York City,” said Phil Broad, managing director of Jumeriah Restaurants and The Noodle House. “It’s a competitive market to enter, but I think we have a brand that can show people what you can really do with Southeast Asian cuisine.”
As you get excited about all the prospects you can meet at the show, it is important to conduct sufficient research beforehand. Your brand may be well known in your home market, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will translate to markets around the world. Solid research will yield the most potential for your brand, especially if you’re just beginning to expand.
New York Means New Relationships
In addition to the beneficial opportunity for franchisors interested in expanding locally, regionally and internationally, IFE offers a prime outlet to build and establish relationships with serious individuals that are interested in being part of franchising.
IFE exhibitors benefit from face-to-face contact. David Tarr, director of franchise development of Liberty Tax Service, feels that being present at the IFE delivers opportunities to get to know people, build rapport and set a tone for exchange of information and a follow-up phone call.
“The process flows a lot smoother when you can put a face with a name and the personality of the prospect that you’re going to be working with,” Tarr explained.
“We’re looking forward to being part of the IFE and growing with the show” adds Tarr. We’re excited about it. It’s a new city for the IFA and MFV and we know we’re going to get a whole lot more exposure among people who are looking for a specific opportunity in franchising, and that’s where our bread and butter is.”
Expos are a great way to meet serious people who are looking to expand into a new business and get a great return on their investment. Jerry Cohn, area developer of Lucille Roberts, feels that there is nothing better than meeting prospects in person at an expo.
“You can read body language and communicate a lot better,” Cohn said. “When you talk to someone personally and shake their hand here, you have the relationship and rapport that is essential to get to the next step. It’s a wonderful opportunity and a great way to market your business.”
Tony Foley, CFE, president and international director of United Franchise Group, believes that in today’s economy, you need every resource available to generate leads and build your business. Face-to-face contact is irreplaceable and expos like the IFE help sell a lot of franchises for that reason.
“The IFE in New York City will offer United Franchise Group yet another opportunity to develop our brands and make franchise sales,” Foley said.
While expos deliver thousands of candidates to your booth, as an exhibitor it is important to have a strategy beforehand and to make sure every member of your team is clear on what you are trying to accomplish. You may need to identify a certain type of prospect who aligns closest to your goals. While there will be plenty of people to meet, you’ll want to be sure to build relationships with those who matter. Having a strategy will ensure that you make the best use of your time and see the most results.
Expos present a great opportunity to set expansion plans into motion and meet investors from all over the world that are interested in new business opportunities in franchising. New York City opens the doors for franchises of all kinds looking to expand here at home and around the world.
Joel Goldstein is the group marketing director at MFV Expositions, the producer of leading franchise events worldwide. For more information on exhibiting at MFV Expositions’ events, visit mfvexpo.com, call 201-881-1666 or e-mail email@example.com.