The Dallas Examiner
Franchising has always been associated with the entrepreneurial spirit. As a major job creator, it has been able to provide opportunities for its owners, members of the community. With franchising in an economic upturn, it has also been associated with the America’s economic growth, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“Over the last five years the average annual growth in the franchise sector has been 2.6 percent,” Jim Mastandrea, the group show director for MFV Expositions. “Now that is two percent higher than the rest of all businesses, economy-wide. So basically what it’s saying is, as the economy begins to ramp up and begins to improve … the franchise sector is growing at two and a half times that.”
Which is why MFV Expositions has chosen to host a franchise expo in Dallas for the first time. The Franchise Expo South show will be held in the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center Jan. 12 to Jan. 14. The group boasts of being the leader in producting high-quality, highly attended franchise shows internationally and across the U.S. for over 25 years.
Mastandrea pondered hypothetical concerns potential business owners could address at the expo.
“What are you getting into? What is franchising? How do I evaluate one franchise opportunity over another?” he asked. “All that information is available to them. It’s a good opportunity … I think all the stars are aligned; what’s happening in Texas, what’s happening in the U.S. economy in general, I think the timing is great for those people interested in making that move for themselves.”
Mastandrea noted that most of the programs at the exposition are free, and many experienced, successful franchise owners, suppliers or service providers will be onsite. Guests will explain and address questions on such topics as financing, emerging trends, starting a franchise or becoming a multi-unit owner at a show that has been called a “one-stop shop” for the franchise model of business.
The exposition will open up fresh avenues to success for both new business owners and seasoned franchise professionals, Mastandrea said.
“On one side, there are going to be probably in excess of 200 exhibiting franchisers. These are franchise companies, many of them well-established, well known. Certainly, there’s another group of franchise companies that we call ‘emerging franchise brands.’ But these 200-plus exhibiting franchise companies are there because they identified the Dallas and North Texas marketplace as a region from an expansion perspective.” Mastandrea says that means a chance at business ownership for attendees, since these exhibitors are looking to find new franchisees in the area to further grow their companies.
“On the other hand, we have a very comprehensive three days of conference programs and symposia. From an educational standpoint, someone can come to the show and learn about franchising – in fact, we have a seminar called The A to Zs of Franchising – so they can understand what goes into evaluating and buying a franchise,” he said. “They can speak to literally the best of the best as it relates to the franchise industry.”
He also confirmed that the growth in Southern Dallas was especially notable for the possibility of a boom of minority-owned businesses and mentioned that there would be representatives from the Washington, D. C.-based International Franchise Association present at the expo who could offer tricks of the trade to newly-minted business owners.
“Part of the initiatives of the IFA [are] two important ones. One is called VetFran. This is a veteran’s initiative … and the other one is DiversityFran, which is a specific program that franchisers have for minorities; women, Hispanic and Latino communities, the African American community, et cetera.,” he said.
Guests Bradie James from MOOYAH Burgers and Sakimo Randall for 7-Eleven Franchising will be presenting a seminar on franchising and diverse communities. Seminars geared toward veterans and female entrepreneurs are also slated for the event.
Mastandrea gave another example, from an attendee’s perspective, of how African American or other prospective minority business owners might find the expo informative.
“‘I can identify a franchiser that I might have specific interests in based on my specific interests and values and geographic preferences and things like that,’” he said as he role-played a visitor to the event. “‘So I can go to the show and I can speak with these types of people because I’m interested in those types of things.’
“The other thing that they would be interested in … ‘How am I going to finance this?’ Some of these franchise companies look for X amount of dollars to get involved in their franchise. Franchise fees and buildout fees.”
Those who attend the show will be able to consult with representatives of the U.S. Small Business Administration about access to capital in order to create or build a business.
“We also have other franchise finance companies, other lenders of capital for franchise acquisition. They will be there at the show as well,” Mastandrea said.
When it came to what was “hot” in franchises, the group show director was quick to point out that food and drink brands are always popular.
“That always dominates … I mean, the companies in the restaurant-food-beverage category always dominate all shows. Not only shows in the U.S. but in shows all over the world. It’s because people understand it. They frequent these restaurants. They go to the Melting Pots and the Burger 21s and the Papa John’s, et cetera. They understand who they are, what they do, and they figure ‘I could do this; I get it, I understand it.’”
Other expanding industries include fitness, senior citizen care and service-provider businesses.
“This could be along the lines of home inspection, lawn care, automotive services,” Mastandrea affirmed.
More information on Franchise Expo South and the link to register to attend can be found online at www.franchiseexposouth.com.