The largest event of its kind in Canada, The Franchise Show is coming to Toronto.
For two days on Feb. 23 and 24 the Toronto Congress Centre will be transformed into a forum for more than 100 franchises to reach out directly to the public, eager to expand new locations in Ontario.
The event features the opportunity for anyone to speak directly with the franchisors and is also an educational experience for those new to the franchising game. There are various seminars from industry experts throughout the weekend and the ability to have your questions answered face-to-face by industry insiders.
Several franchise-themed events roll through Toronto each year but The Franchise Show is the only one hosted by the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA).
All participating businesses are members of the CFA, which has developed a reputation of representing stable and successful franchises since 1967. It now boasts a membership of more than 550 businesses that operate over 40,000 locations across the country.
At the top of the CFA sits Lorraine McLachlan, president and CEO. She has her hands in everything from board meetings to education programs to dealing with individual franchisors. She needs to keep her life highly organized and also has a few tips for getting the most out of a visit to The Franchise Show.
“There is really nothing that can replace the opportunity to be able to talk to a number of different franchisors in a short period of time so you can compare the different opportunities that are there and start to figure out what is going to be the right one for you,” said McLachlan.
She said that those that have already done their homework should be able to narrow the field down to a select group of franchisors that suit their vision but first-time visitors shouldn’t just jump right into the mix. She advises planning your day around seminars to learn about the industry before making the rounds.
One of the more notable franchisors at the show will be Peter Druxerman, vice president of marketing and co-owner of Druxy’s. His chain of deli restaurants has utilized the franchise system to spawn 48 locations, 46 of which are operated by franchisees. Druxerman will be giving a seminar at The Franchise Show about what makes a good franchisee. In his opinion, the most important part about finding a franchisee that will be able to turn a profit is finding a personality that matches a company’s particular character.
“I can train a person to slice meat but I can’t train a person to genuinely enjoy a conversation with a stranger they have just met,” said Druxerman.
In the past he has seen franchisees fail not because of their lack of business acumen but because they hadn’t been honest with what they wanted out of the franchise system.
Each franchisor requires passion for a particular type of business and if that is lacking he thinks even the best franchise model will fail.
According to Druxerman, the first step to finding success is to be honest about your personal goals and character in order to figure out what you will have passion for. After doing that he recommends touring around The Franchise Show to several booths that are not of particular interest in order to practice asking questions and interacting with franchisors. Once you are warmed up, only then should you approach the franchisors that are potential investments.
“If you are going to ask a stupid question, I think it is best to ask it to someone you have no interest in,” said Druxerman.
Druxerman is one of several presenters at The Franchise Show. All participating franchisors are members of the CFA and more information and schedules can be found at www.thefranchiseshow.ca