For the past 20 years, the International Franchise Expo (IFE) has taken place in Washington, D.C. This year, however, the show will take a bite out of the Big Apple as thousands of investors and more than 300 exhibitors descend on the Jacob Javits Center. The Expo is a one-stop shop for prospective and current franchisees to see what the next big trend will be in the world of franchising. BusinessNewsDaily spoke with show director Jim Mastandrea about all things franchising in advance of this year's show.
BusinessNewsDaily: Tell us about The International Franchise Expo.
Jim Mastandrea: The 2012 International Franchise Expo (IFE) will take place June 15-17 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, moving the well-known franchising event to the world’s most vibrant marketplace. Every year, the IFE is responsible for the opening of hundreds of small businesses and creating thousands of jobs – and there’s no better place for that to take center stage than New York.
By moving the IFE to New York, we’re making it more accessible to the majority of qualified prospective franchise owners from the U.S. and abroad to get an inside look at the franchising world offered by our complete program of free seminars on the franchise industry. The three-day event uniquely showcases hundreds of franchise companies offering a wide range of opportunities at virtually every investment level.
Tens of thousands of prospective investors from across the country and overseas have attended the show over the last 20 years. Small business growth will be a significant factor in our economic recovery and we know New York City is the place to lead the charge. Over the years, the IFE has been a significant catalyst to the global expansion of franchising.
BND:What is new this year and how many companies will be attending?
J.M.: There are more than 300 exhibitors attending. We are expecting more than 8,000 investors from all over the United States and more than 30 countries.
BND: What are the main challenges of franchising?
J.M.: The main challenge faced by franchisors and prospective franchisees in today’s market is access to capital. That is why MFV Expositions, in conjunction with the International Franchise Association, is presenting a one-day event preceding the opening of the International Franchise Expo called Inside Private Equity & Franchise Finance.
BND:What is your advice for someone looking to get into franchising?
J.M.:Take the first step and decide to consider a franchise opportunity where you can be in business for yourself but not by yourself. Then schedule some time to visit the IFE in New York!
Take this unique opportunity to speak one-on-one with franchise consultants, CEOs and top- level franchise executives as well as attorneys and lenders about starting your own business. Take advantage of the 70 free comprehensive seminars along with fee-based symposia designed to address all your questions and concerns about the franchise process.
Visit the show floor, where you’ll find more than 300 of the top franchising brands in every industry and at every investment level. This is the type of event where you can find a franchise system that is compatible with your personality, style and career goals.
BND:Why do you think that franchising has become more popular in recent years?
J.M.: Given today’s economic challenges, franchising offers people that have been laid off, downsized or outsourced out of a job an opportunity to control their own destiny. Historically, interest in franchising has increased as the economy has slowed. Recent trends in entrepreneurialism across all demographic groups [women, minorities, veterans, recent college graduates and the elderly re-entering the workforce after retirement] have benefited franchise growth.
BND:What's the biggest misconception about owning a franchise?
J.M.:The biggest misconceptions are that you need to have a great deal of wealth to buy a franchise and that someone must have specific hands-on experience in order to be successful as a franchisee. There are franchise systems available from $5,000 to $5 million. Also, with interest rates at an historical low level and real estate values at bargain prices, now is a great time to consider investing in a franchise. Franchisors seek good candidates who are enthusiastic partners that enjoy following a successful model and operating a proven system.