I went to the Toronto Franchise Expo last weekend and had a fun experience. I convinced my wife to join me by telling her that most expos give away free shirts and other swag.
Unfortunately, she didn’t get much swag at this one, just a few pens. At least, there were donuts!
I spoke to several different vendors. Some were large companies that wanted to grow their franchise footprint, others were successful small businesses in Vancouver that wanted to make a splash in Toronto.
There were a handful of companies that were just present to sell their product, which was fine since it was nice chatting with them as well.
I’ve always wanted to start a business, so this seemed like a potential way to get started on my dream.
Franchisee VS Franchisor
A franchisor is the business who owns the license to a specific business model, for which they are hiring franchisees to own and operate. For example, Tim Horton’s is the franchisor, and the manager at your local Timmie's is the franchisee. I think of it as mentor and mentee.
What I realized is that becoming a franchisee is like starting a business on training wheels. You can’t go as fast, but at least you won’t fall on your ass.
Franchisors have figured out a successful business model, and most importantly have come up with a way to replicate it in various locales.
No Software Companies
Most of the franchisors are brick-and-mortar business, restaurants, cleaning companies, dispensaries, vending machine suppliers — anything that requires in-person intervention.
There was only one software company — Neo, who wasn’t interested in taking on franchisees, instead there was just one really pushy saleswoman who wanted you to sign up for their cash back app.
In general, I didn’t see any type of remote work, SaaS companies, or anything that could be done mostly from home. I suppose these types of companies don’t have a need to franchise, since they can scale their companies across locales without having a physical presence.
Some of the vendors had incredibly elaborate booths. Complete with a 20+ft inflatable logos, working demos…