The complete UK franchise shows and exhibitions' list for 2017 - 2018

17/08/2017 15:10 | Start a business

Top UK franchise trade shows and exhibitions


Want to find out more about franchising, but don’t know where to start? Well, look no further than the annual franchise shows and exhibitions that take place across the country.

Here’s a run-down of the British Franchise Association accredited exhibitions and why they’re worth a visit.

The best UK franchise tradeshows coming up

What:The National Franchise Exhibition
Where:NEC, Birmingham
When:13th – 14th October 2017
Why:This two-day exhibition offers participants an essential guide to franchising. Whether you’re interested in taking the first steps to becoming a franchisee or you’re considering turning your existing business into a franchise, then this is the show for you. Over the two-days you’ll get the opportunity to hear from successful professionals within the franchise industry. You’ll get access to informative presentations, interesting workshops and insightful Q&A sessions. Financial and legal experts will also be on hand to answer any questions, as well as representatives from the British Franchise Association (BFA).

What:The Franchise Show
Where:ExCel, London
When:16th – 17th February 2018
Why:This two-day event is the largest franchise show in the UK and is worth a visit whatever stage of franchising you’re at. And what’s more, the tickets are absolutely free. You’ll have the chance to attend a wide range of seminars on topics from ‘a day in the life’ to ‘international franchising’. You’ll also get the opportunity to meet franchisees from all different industries if you have any questions you’d like answered. If you need it, there will also be free, impartial advice available from funding and legal experts.

What:The British and International Franchise Show
Where:Olympia, London
When:9th – 10th March 2018
Why:This highly regarded show offers prospective franchisees or franchisers the opportunity to learn from some of the biggest brands in the world. As well as an impressive line up of guest speakers and exhibitors, you’ll get the chance to attend seminars on a variety of different franchising topics. You’ll also get to meet franchising professionals from both the UK and overseas.

Attending franchise shows and exhibitions are a great way of discovering franchise ideas and finding out about the most profitable and best franchise opportunities. And if you haven’t decided on a market or industry for your franchise then exhibitions are an opportunity to meet franchisors face to face so you can narrow down your search. You’ll also get the chance to chat with other franchisees and ask questions about what it’s really like to run a franchise business. In fact, Joel Libava (also known as the ‘Franchise King’) suggests that the ‘money question’ you should ask all franchisees when researching an opportunity should be “What do you wish you would have known before you bought this franchise?”. The answer you get should help you decide if franchising is really for you.

Top 5 tips when attending franchise shows

The Franchise Show has produced a useful infographic to help you get the most out of your exhibition visits. They offer the following advice:

Allow plenty of time – You will be meeting people you should be speaking to in every aisle. Before you know it, time will run away from you. Allow enough time for unscheduled conversations as well as planned meetings.

  1. Make a plan – It pays to be prepared. Have a list of outcomes that you’d like to achieve during your time. Be focused on the objectives that are the biggest priority for your business.

  2. Have an open mind – One of the advantages of exhibitions is that you often find out about brands and ideas you have never considered before. In some cases, when you are looking for innovation, it’s the idea that you haven’t considered that offers the best solution.

  3. Pre-register – Not only will you save money, but you will also receive regular e-alerts with the latest show news, offers and benefits.

  4. Take advantage of free educational opportunities – If you are close to an industry the more likely you might fall in the trap of “seen it, heard it, done it”. But don’t be complacent. Look at what the show is offering in terms of seminars and 121 sessions; you may learn something new.

  5. Follow up – When you come back with a bag of brochures and business cards, share the information with your colleagues and contact the people you met. Relationship building starts here!

What should you do after?

Once you’ve attended franchise events and talked to franchisors and franchisees, you’re on your way to starting your franchise journey. As a quick reminder, here are the next steps to owning a franchise.

  1. Make discovery day count. This is the name of the meeting between you and your potential franchisor. It usually takes place at the company’s headquarters and it’s a chance for you to experience the brand, culture and people involved in the business. First impressions count, so it’s important to trust your gut before entering into a franchise agreement. Prepare questions to ask and be ready to get into the details of the agreement. Find out how much support the franchisor will provide while you’re setting up your business with elements such as recruitment and training.

  2. Choose your location. If you’re getting all the right vibes after discovery day then it’s time to get down to business and choose the ultimate location for your new business. For some businesses location will be more important than others. For restaurants and shops, for example, footfall is the difference between the success or failure of a business. Most franchisors will help you find a suitable site. If you choose a location on your own, then this will need approval from the franchisor.

  3. Secure funding. Having a robust business plan will ensure you know exactly how much money you need to start franchising. If you need to apply for a bank loan to raise the capital, the same business plan will help you prove the viability of the franchise opportunity. Some banks specialise in franchising and will give advice if any additional funding is needed.

  4. Speak to the experts. When you’ve met your franchisor, chosen the location of your business and secured funding, and you’re about to sign on the dotted line – STOP. Before you commit, make an appointment to see a specialist franchise solicitor who knows the intricacies of how to start a franchise. A franchise agreement can be an intimidating document so having an expert to help you make sure that it meets the British Franchise Association Code of Ethics is a must.

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