By Jim Mastandrea of MFV Expositions

Many have considered starting their own businesses. Yet, fear of the financial risk and going at it alone keep most from making that happen.

What many fail to consider is becoming a franchise owner. With franchising, people have a built-in support system, a company behind them, a proven brand, financial help, training and more. When people start their own company alone, they usually make mistakes, but as a franchisee, the company keeps you from those mistakes.

The success of the franchise business model is backed up by impressive statistics too.
• According to the International Franchise Association, in 2016 franchises count for more than 801,000 establishments representing 2.3% of all businesses in the U.S.
• Franchised businesses provided more than 90.1 million jobs in 2016 – a greater number of jobs than all manufacturers of durable goods, such as computers, cars, trucks, planes, communications equipment, primary metals, wood products, and instruments.
• Colorado boasts more than 16,000 franchised establishments, with more than 171,000 jobs in the state being a result of franchised businesses (10.7% of Colorado jobs).
Denver will soon be the epicenter of franchise opportunities as thousands of entrepreneurs gather for Franchise Expo West at the Colorado Convention Center Thursday, Oct. 6 through Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. Potential business owners will have the rare opportunity to meet face-to-face with executives from more than 200 franchise brands at nearly every investment level in a multitude of industries.

Follow these three tips to make your time at Franchise Expo West a success:
1. Look and learn. Look into the hottest trends in the franchise industry – ranging from restaurants and fitness clubs to auto repairs and pet supply stores – as attendees explore the vast, emerging, international, and mature franchise opportunities ranging from as little as a $10,000 investment up to $1 million+. You can already start checking out which companies are exhibiting and make a list of those that interest you.

Take advantage of the more than 60 free seminars, five in-depth workshops, and three specialty seminars being held throughout the three-day event. These educational opportunities, most of them free, will help you make the right decisions during your franchise research.

2. Ask questions.
It’s important to meet and ask questions of the company executives, so go with the intention of speaking to, and not just looking at, the franchisors. View this as an interview, not merely a chance to stock up on free pens and stress balls. Have a short list of questions that you will ask each prospect. Some questions worth considering may include: the initial investment and on-going payments required; the amount of support and training provided new franchisees and then ongoing; range of product or service offerings; locations that are available; current franchisees’ earnings; how many franchisees are in business five years after opening; what’s the biggest reason for a franchise success and failure.

3. Review requirements. After the festival, take the time to review your notes and the literature that you collected. It’s probable that you will have eliminated a few of your original prospects, confirmed your interest in several others, and added a few new companies into the mix. As soon as possible after the event, schedule follow-up meetings to learn more about those franchisors that are still in contention.

For the past four years, Franchise Expo West was held in Anaheim, Calif. Last year, more than 8,000 attendees from 35 states and 24 countries attended, and this year, even more are expected.

Franchise Expo West costs $10 to register in advance and $20 at the door, but those who register at and use promo code OPR can receive one complimentary pass to attend the show. On-site registration is also available, but pre-registration is recommended. 

About the Author: Jim Mastandrea is Group Show Director for MFV Expositions. Call him at 201-881-1626 or send him an email for additional information. Please visit for more information on franchise expos.
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