With so many exhibitors from such a wide range of industries and investment levels, visiting the FranchiseCanada Show can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time visitor. Follow these eight tips for planning your visit and you’ll be navigating the show floor like a seasoned pro:

Tip #1: Preparation Begins at Home

  • Research industries that interest you. What are you passionate about? What is the average investment level? What kinds of skills/qualities do most franchises in this industry look for in franchisees?
  • Visit our exhibitor page and go through the list of confirmed exhibitors. Create a “must-visit” list of brands and make note of specific questions you want to ask.
  • Pre-register online to receive $5 off admission

Tip #2: Bring Only the Essentials

  • You’re going to be receiving a lot of printed information – brochures, fact sheets, business cards, etc. – so you may want to bring a sturdy bag to collect it all in.
  • You may want to consider leaving your children at home with a friend, relative or baby-sitter. As cute as they are, you’re going to want to be focused on the conversations you’re having with exhibitors and worrying about whether little Bobby or Sally is wandering off into the crowd will distract you from that.
  • Do bring your spouse/partner, as well as anyone who will be investing or working in the franchise with you. It’s a big decision, so it’s good to get everyone involved in the process.

Tip #3: Keep an Open Mind

  • Though you may attend the show with a few industries or specific franchises in mind, tradeshows are a great way to be exposed to brands or opportunities you might not have previously considered. As you’re moving around the show floor, watch for any booths that catch your eye and explore them further.

Tip #4: Step Right Up

  • Franchise tradeshows should be a pressure-free way to explore the opportunities available. So, don’t be shy, step right up to the booth and start asking questions. Everyone is there to provide more information on their franchise system and are prepared to answer your queries.

Tip #5: Take Note

  • You’re likely going to spend a few hours at the tradeshow, having numerous conversations with representatives from multiple companies. After the show, it may seem like a bit of a blur, so it can help to jot down a few notes either as you’re having a conversation or in between.
  • An easy way to do this (and remember the names of those you spoke with) is to get a business card from anyone you had an in-depth conversation with and make a few notes on it about what you talked about and any next steps.

Tip #6: It’s All About Research

  • Generally, at this stage, it’s more about due diligence and research than decision-making. Most franchise tradeshow exhibitors aren’t there to sign contracts; meeting with prospective franchisees in this informal way is simply one step in a detailed franchise investment process.
  • Though it’s exciting to be at the show and learn about great opportunities, it’s important to keep in mind that a franchise that is a good fit is one that you’re not only excited about but also meets your needs in terms of investment level, skills profile, lifestyle and work balance, and a host of other considerations.

Tip #7: Learn From the Pros

  • The FranchiseCanada Show offers a number of free seminars and expert roundtables. Be sure to take advantage of these complimentary sessions, which are usually led by franchise experts, industry veterans, franchise support services/supplier professionals or successful franchisees.

Tip #8: Don’t Forget to Follow Up

  • After the excitement of the show, the due diligence continues. This could involve continuing to research companies you’re interested in, fill out applications for the one or ones you’re really into, visit existing locations (if possible) to see their operations firsthand, discussing the possibilities with your family and co-investors, etc.