The Melbourne Franchising & Business Opportunities Expo, held 22-24 August, has been hailed a success, with over 4200 visitors and a record 101 exhibitors, according to show organiser Specialised Events.
“We are thrilled with the show, and it wraps up a huge year for us,” says Exhibition Manager Fiona Stacey. “The marketing campaign resulted in healthy crowds across the three days. More importantly, our exhibitors are reporting good quality leads to follow up after the show, with qualified visitors serious about investing.”
Grant Garraway, Managing Director of the Franchise Shop, comments that the new organisers have improved the show immensely over the past two years, and the standard of exhibitor stands has been raised.
“It’s a lot more exciting than a few years ago, and the exhibitors – including myself – have lifted their game in terms of the quality of their stands,” says Garraway, who was named a Show Legend this year for his steadfast support of the show for more than two decades.
“I believe the increased promotion of the show has worked,” he adds. “There have been more people coming through and they are serious about starting a business – I’m going to be busy following up very good quality leads after the show closes.”
Garraway was also one of the speakers at the seminar theatre, and commented that his session ‘An introduction to franchising from a franchisee’s perspective’ had a very attentive audience. “About 20 people came to me afterwards to ask for the show slides, which hasn’t happened before,” he says.
The seminars were all very popular, many with standing room only. “The seminar sessions are an important feature of the show,” Fiona Stacey explains. “We aim for a broad range of speakers and topics, with general overviews on the benefits of franchising as well as more detailed topics such as legal and financial issues.”
Suzanne Jarzabkowska and Rod Young from DC Strategy inspired the crowd in their session “Learn what it takes to build a $50 million franchise business”, detailing how successful businesses such as Boost Juice grew from one outlet to a multi-national chain. Meanwhile Darryn McAuliffe from FRANdata presented two useful sessions on what banks are looking for when they approve finance for franchises.
The Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) also presented fascinating daily panel sessions with representatives from a wide range of successful franchise companies including Clark Rubber, Keen to Clean, Pedders, Bakers Delight and 7-Eleven.
Would-be franchisees found the seminars and the exhibitor stands to be eye-opening, as first-time visitor Branav explains. “I came with my friends, we are all interested in investing in our own business right now and leaving our jobs. We have seen a number of very appealing ideas we will be following up with.”
Exhibitors noted a wide range of visitor profiles, from young people like Branav who are seeking franchises with low investment entry points, to more mature people looking to use their substantial redundancy payouts to make a new start.
“It’s been a great show, we’ve had 20 solid leads from Melbourne,” says Cam Hadlow from Dream Doors. “Our business suits people from all walks of life and we find it immensely beneficial to be at the show to meet them face to face and find the best candidates.”
Other exhibitors that reported great results included Tutor Doctor, Cleantastic, Arbonne International, Senior Helpers, BYOJet, Step Into Life, Dodo Connect, Cafe2U, PostNet, Crestcom, Boring Chores, Briggins, Cashflow It, Embroid Me, The Coffee Club, Telechoice, Pack & Send, Flip Out and Mail Boxes Etc.
Rogelio Martinez from US-based franchisor Tutor Doctor says the Franchising & Business Opportunities Expo in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne are among the best trade shows he has attended worldwide. “The quality of attendees was outstanding and each one has been very well organised,” he says.
“We found our first Australian franchisee at the Sydney show, we have some very good prospects out of Brisbane last month, and now in Melbourne we have met some promising candidates.” Martinez adds that the show has given Tutor Doctor excellent exposure in Australia, and helped to build relationships. “We will definitely be coming back to exhibit next year.”
Fiona Stacey says exhibitors have been quick to snap up space in the 2015 Expos to be held in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. “There’s no better endorsement for a show than exhibitors immediately re-booking,” she says, “and we have found many exhibitors are keen to have an enhanced presence next year, be it a bigger stand or more prominent location. It’s worth talking to our team as soon as possible to ensure your company doesn’t miss out!”
Franchising & Business Opportunities Expo 2015:
Sydney: 27-29 March at Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park
Brisbane: 18-19 July at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, South Bank
Melbourne: 21-23 August at Melbourne Exhibition Centre, South Wharf
For more information go to www.franchisingexpo.com.au