West Coast Franchise Expo Launches a New Experience in Anaheim
Franchising may be growing at a steady pace, but corporate America is still struggling. This is good news for franchisors exhibiting at the International Franchise Association’s West Coast Franchise Expo or WCFE. According to the Franchise Business Economic Outlook, jobs are estimated to increase by 2.2 percent with 177,000 new jobs to total more than an estimated 8 million jobs in 2012. Investors are looking to trade shows and expos, such as the upcoming Anaheim event, as prime places to explore viable business investments and speak with top-level executives about turning their careers around—even in recessionary times. The WFCE is produced by MFV Expositions and scheduled Oct. 12-14 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
One example is its efforts to attract highly qualified investors ready to start their own business. With partnerships including local government agencies, small-business and entrepreneurial organizations and veteran centric associations, the West Coast Franchise Expo promises to open new doors for aspiring business owners. And expos remain at the top of lead generation efforts for many franchisors.
A Resource for Aspiring Franchise Owners
“We advertise in various media outlets including print and online,” said Tim Courtney, CFE, director of franchise development for CruiseOne. “We feel that exhibiting at the West Coast Franchise Expo and investing the three days here to meet people face to face gives candidates an opportunity to see that we’re real, our team is real and it lends quite a bit of ease to the relationship-building process. The quality of the prospects walking the show floor has been excellent, and we expect to close some deals and continue to grow in California.” Courtney added, “We reserved our space for WCFE 2012 during the 2011 event. We also exhibit at Franchise Expo South and the International Franchise Expo. These in-person opportunities are how we grow and we plan to continue to use these events to fuel our expansion.”
Prospective franchisees are becoming increasingly aware of the financial incentives offered by developing franchisors. Federally-backed loans to small businesses in Southern California and across the nation are increasing as more banks participate in federal lending programs. Small banks continue to beat out their bigger counterparts when it comes to small-business lending, according to credit marketplace Biz2Credit’s June Small Business Lending Index.
The latest analysis of 1,000 small-business loan applications on Biz2credit.com found that approvals last month by big banks rose half a percentage point from May to 11.1 percent, while small bank approvals jumped two percentage points to 47.5 percent.
“Small banks are the big story this month,” said Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora in a statement. “They have made a lot of SBA 7(a) express loans, which used to be the strength of the largest banks.” SBA loans are backed by the U.S. government in the event of a default, reducing the risk to lenders.
“West Coast Franchise Expo has proven in the past to be an excellent opportunity for Primrose Schools to meet highly qualified franchise candidates,” said Tim Linderman, director of franchise development at Primrose Schools. “The opportunity to meet face to face with people serious about starting their own business is a very valuable resource for Primrose. Since Primrose has a relatively high initial investment level, it is important to meet candidates who have access to capital, and many people we have spoken with at WCFE were self-funded or have access to capital, and they are looking for the right opportunity. We finished up the 2011 expo with several exciting leads. As we continue to grow our brand in the west, it’s critical to meet qualified prospects to fuel our expansion.”
Events like West Coast Franchise Expo provide a unique forum to follow up on warm prospects that are still in the pipeline. “We haven’t just met with new prospective franchisees at West Coast Franchise Expo, we’ve met with people who we’ve met with a year ago, six months ago who are still considering buying a business and who have gone through our process and remain interested,” said Dave Schaefers, CFE, senior vice president franchise development for Driven Brands. “At this expo we’ve done very well; we met with three folks who have been in our pipeline and WCFE was a great opportunity to reconnect with these prospects and we’ve had some great dialogue. For new prospects we’re meeting for the first time, with an interest in an automotive business, the expo allows us to engage in a conversation that you probably couldn’t get into on the phone, and certainly not have he opportunity to qualify them the way you can face to face. Either you’re in the business or you’re not. We’re in franchising for the long haul. If we don’t award a new franchisee at the expo this year, we’ll get one next year,” said Schaefers.
From fresh fast food concepts to home improvement businesses, the 2012 West Coast Franchise Expo caters to the diverse interests of thousands of future entrepreneurs. With the economy picking up and the registration listing growing, now is an optimal time to plan to exhibit.
Joel Goldstein is the group marketing director at MFV Expositions, the producer of leading franchise events worldwide. For more information on the WCFE, International Franchise Expo, IFA or other MFV Expositions shows, visit mfvexpo.com. To exhibit at the WCFE, call 201-881-1666 or email email@example.com. To hear the latest on the West Coast Franchise Expo, follow us on Twitter @MFVExpositions.