Are You Contemplating Franchising?

Industry senior vice president discusses challenges, gives tips for success

International Franchise Expo welcomes attendees in NYC

The 2014 International Franchise Expo wrapped June 21 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. According to event organizers, it was “The biggest franchise expo in the world.”

Franchise businesses are expected to grow more than 12% this year, the strongest surge in five years and more than 450 brands from several countries turned up to showcase their franchise concepts to potential investors. The show was hosted and produced by MFV Expositions and sponsored by the International Franchise Association.

Blackenterprise.com caught up with Matthew A. Haller, senior vice president Media Relations and Public Affairs at I.F.A He develops strategic direction for communications to ensure information about franchising including policy initiatives, the economic impact of franchising, emerging trends and best management practices is disseminated to members and external audiences.

His position and experience makes him uniquely suited to break down the basics of franchising and the challenges facing prospective franchisees considering taking the plunge into the market.

How is the show going?

It’s been going really well. We expected about 20,000 attendees and delegations over the three days with 450 brands from lots of countries looking to bring concepts here or take back overseas. It’s New York City, it makes sense to do the show here.

To what do you attribute the success of the show this year?

It’s a reflection of franchising continuing to be a growth driver in the U.S. economy. The output, the number of jobs created and new franchise establishments this year are outpacing private sector growth in other industries. Just good news for people that want to get into franchising. Credit is readily available, we’re back to pre-recession levels of credit availability which is key to buying a franchise.

What are the challenges facing prospective franchisees?

There are various public policy challenges right now. Notably, issues surrounding minimum wage, labor regulations and the affordable care act. These are creating additional costs in various ventures for existing and prospecting franchisees and are things that need to be put into your business plan as you consider how to grow and be successful as an employer.

Does a franchisor need to be affiliated with the International Franchise Association to exhibit at the expo? And what do they need to consider?

You don’t have to be a member to exhibit here. We have 1350 members of the association, though most of the brands exhibiting this year are members. A franchisor just needs to consider if they are expanding in the area or expanding overseas. And ask about the costs of exhibiting at the show. Then make the calculations and estimation whether the cost of exhibiting on the show is worth the investment. For most franchisors if they walk out with one deal, it makes being in the show worth the company’s time. Our hope is that most people that are walking the floor are here to buy franchises. A lot of people here are what we call tire kickers.

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