Choosing a franchise opportunity is a hefty task to conquer. It requires a massive amount of in-depth research. While exploring franchise websites are a great place to start, it’s even better to meet with franchisors in person.

If you’re serious about franchising, consider attending a franchise trade show, convention or expo in your area. Not only will you get tons of information, but the network opportunities you’ll gain are priceless.

You can meet with industry leaders, franchisees, franchisors and even attend educational seminars to help you find clarity on what franchise opportunity to choose. Plus, there’s always tons of free food and refreshments.

Look Out for these Events

International Franchise Association (IFA) Annual Convention

The International Franchise Association’s Annual Convention is the biggest expo of them all. Jam-packed with a full schedule of events, learning opportunities for franchisors AND franchisees are bountiful. Educational seminars include The A to Z’s of Buying a Franchise, How to Franchise Your Business, Financing Your Franchise and more.

International Franchise Expo (IFE)

Thousands of entrepreneurs flock to the International Franchise Expo to network and meet face-to-face with more than 400 franchisors and some of the industry’s leading consultants who can help you choose a franchise opportunity. If you can’t make it to this event, there are also smaller versions of this conference held around the country, including:

How to Get the Most From Attending a Franchise Expo

If you’re reading this blog, we don’t have to tell you how overwhelming it is to choose a franchise opportunity—it’s a painstaking and time-consuming process. If you want to maximize your time and efforts when you go to these type of events, make sure to come prepared before you attend.

Narrow down your list of top franchise opportunities as much as possible. After you give their franchise websites a thorough read, draft a list of questions to ask the franchisor when you meet them at the event. That’s right; you should make it a point not just to look but speak with franchisors and their franchisees.

Try to ask questions that explore issues that may cause concern. If you need help coming up with what to ask—no worries—check out Dr. John P. Hayes’ comprehensive book, 101 Questions to Ask Before You Invest in a Franchise for inspiration. The answers you get will give you a better idea of what you can expect from the franchisor and if their concept is a good fit for you.

When you finally get to the event, try your best to get one-on-one, uninterrupted time scheduled with brand representatives. Attend as many educational seminars as necessary. And most importantly, take good notes.

Remember, when you’re walking through the expo, keep your mind open. You may have your heart set on a few brands, but you won’t know for sure unless you explore your options. Many people go into franchising thinking that they’ll want to buy into Concept X but end up with Concept Y.

But until you get your tickets for the next franchise show, be sure to weigh your options right here at America’s Best Franchises.

SOURCEAmerica's Best Franchises
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Bill Bradley
Bill Bradley is founding member and CEO of America’s Best Franchises, LLC.  Bill founded three financial services firms, Ocean Shores Ventures, Denali International and William Bradley Enterprises. In addition, to launching America’s Best Franchises in 2005, Bill orchestrated approximately 20 private equity transactions in excess of $31 million, and launched five specific purpose private equity partnerships.

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