By: Lynne Shelton
To read this article as originally written in Franchising USA Magazine, click HERE.
Trade Shows are always great places to pick up tidbits of information, but within the franchising industry they epitomize their trade by guiding others. After all, isn’t that what franchising is all about, teaching others to do what you already know how to do?
Many of the top level franchising executives, speakers, and guru’s volunteer their time every year to give back to the franchising community by providing sound advice and best practices to those wanting to break into franchising. Most of the speaker’s have between five and 30 years experience in franchising, you can rest assured that you are listening and conversing with professionals that have the credentials to answer any questions you have.
What Shows are Available?
Every year, three large franchise shows are available: in October you can attend the West Coast Franchise Expo in Anaheim, CA; in February, the Franchise Expo South in Houston, TX; and in June, the International Franchise Expo in New York City. There are also regional shows around the country throughout the year. Many people attend these conventions with the hope of finding the “hot” franchise that will make them millions and allow them to quit their current job, but what many do not realize is that the actual “hot” commodity can be found in the seminars just as much as in the exhibit hall.
What Type of Person Should Attend?
No matter your skill set, everyone can benefit from attending the franchise seminars offered throughout the conventions.
If you are just starting out as a franchisor, or are ready to expand your business through franchising, taking a course on specific aspects of franchisee relations will enrich you. However, if you are looking to buy a franchise, regardless of whether you have just begun to look, are at the point of narrowing down what type of franchise you want, or even if you are currently deciding amongst your top two to three franchise systems, then you would benefit greatly by taking a course or two.
What are the Different Seminars I Can Attend?
At the franchise conventions, each one of you will find seminars to fit your budget, experience level, and ambitions, as well as, engage speakers who have the passion and knowledge to answer all of your questions.
If you are looking to purchase a franchise then there are plenty of seminars that will break down the Franchise Disclosure Document for you, show you how to finance your purchase, and how to negotiate the best deal to fit your market and circumstances. These include: “The A to Z of Franchising” and “What Do I Need to Know Before Buying a Franchise” among others.
If you are interested in franchising your business then attending conferences specifically concerning becoming a franchisor, or a better franchisor, will certainly improve your chances at a profitable and harmonious relationship with your franchisees. Seminar topics available to you include: “The Profitability of Franchising,” and “Operations Manuals” along with other seminars dealing with brand consistency and other best practices.
Certified Franchise Executive Opportunities
Those serious about franchising often enroll in the International Franchise Association’s (“IFA”) Franchise University three-year program to become a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE). As a CFE, you have the opportunity to network with other individuals with similar drive, earn industry recognition for your achievements, and an overall opportunity to continue learning and growing professionally in the franchising community.
Overall, Why Should I Attend?
A better question to ask might be, “Why am I not attending?” If you are looking for the opportunity to expand your knowledge of franchising, to learn what it takes to be successful, earn credits towards your Certified Franchise Executive status, or simply find out if you have what it takes, the seminars offered at the franchise conventions will give you everything you need to achieve your goal.
A prime example of why you should attend the seminars involves a young man who shared this story. After attending our seminar “Navigating the Buying Process – What to Ask Before you Invest,” this gentlemen stated that he was successful in clarifying and negotiating many terms of his Franchise Agreement that mattered most to him, and that without the different seminars he attended he probably would have signed his Franchise Agreement, as is, assuming that it was non-negotiable, and non-tailorable to his circumstances and his geographical issues.
I look forward to sharing my experience with you at a future seminar, after all “You have to learn to listen, and listen to learn; because those that quit learning, are dead.”- F. Gilson
Lynne Shelton, Esq., is a Senior Partner over the Franchisor division at Shelton & Power, LLC, a Franchise and Intellectual Property Law Firm; a Certified Franchise Executive; and has been involved in the franchising industry for over 20 years. Ms. Shelton is asked to guest speak to franchisors and franchisees at national and international franchise shows. Shelton & Power offers their clients flat fee pricing on legal services for franchisor, franchisee, and business services which eliminate costly billable hour fee schedules, and allows their clients to easily budget all legal work. S&P also handles intellectual property protection, and sophisticated and complex legal issues.