How to Attend the Franchise Expo South February 6-8, in Houston
If you want to own your own business, attend the International Franchise Expo at the Reliant Center in Houston, February 6-8. It will be a worthwhile investment. But, only if you know what you’d like to accomplish before, during and after the show. Here are my Top 10 ways to get the most for your money, time and future:
10 – Set a goal for the Expo (e.g., To identify five franchise concepts to investigate.) and plan your strategy for attending. My next nine tips will help you. Read on.
9 – Pre-register and avoid lines and delays. Link here for information. Circle exhibitors you’d like to visit. Identify seminars and workshops you’ll want to attend—as your time permits. Show times are Thursday, February 6, 10am-5pm; Friday, February 7, 10am-5pm; and, Saturday, February 8, 10am-4pm.
8 – Pack comfortable shoes, wear business casual clothing, bring pens, a notebook, business cards and a carryall for giveaways, literature. (You can request that franchisors send you their materials. Otherwise leave space in your luggage for the extras going home.)
7 – Joining a franchise is all about “fit.” Is this business right for me? Do I like the people? While you are asking yourself those questions and more, the franchise people you meet will be asking themselves the same questions about you. At all times, present yourself in a friendly, open and professional manner.
6 – When you sign in, spend a few minutes reviewing the show directory. Familiarize yourself with the exhibit floor.
5 – Unless you have appointments scheduled with franchise exhibitors, walk the entire show without stopping. Make a long list of franchises you want to meet with for information. Allocate about 75% of the remainder of your time at the show to visit those booths.
4 – Take a break to refresh, have a snack, hydrate and breathe in some fresh, Lone Star air.
3 – Take one more trip around the exhibit floor. I have a Tannerisms that reads, “Sometimes you have to look beyond the obvious to discover the opportunity.” Just maybe you missed something. Worth taking one more look. But, leave the show a little early to avoid long lines for buses and cabs.
2 – And, be sure to ask the franchises you connect with about their VetFran programs. I am a proud Vietnam-era veteran and a member of the IFA’s VetFran committee. We encourage our members to support our veterans with mentoring programs, franchise fee discounts, and more.
1 – If you’ve attended franchise exhibits before, this time eat less, drink in moderation and sleep more. And, if you’re new to franchise shows, go hungry– starved for information, ideas, innovations, systems and technologies to invigorate your career and to strengthen your business.