Katie Bullon’s Take: Reflecting after the International Franchise Show in London

What a day it was at the International Franchise Show in London last week. It really was a great show and a very worthwhile trip. I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts and highlights on the day. 

My first takeaway was how great it was to meet some contacts within the industry that I deal with on a weekly basis, virtually – suppliers and media outlets. Meeting in person after knowing them for so long was invaluable. 

It was also amazing to see how many motivated people there were out scouting for the perfect franchise. It reminded me why we do what we do at activ Marketing Franchise. It’s not just about business; it’s about empowering fellow entrepreneurs to chase their dreams. Walking around, chatting with so many, and hearing their excitement about our offering was a real boost.

You know what else struck me? The power of face-to-face interaction. In addition to existing contacts, meeting new people in the flesh totally changed my perspective on some potential partnerships. I had gone with some preconceived ideas of who I wanted to work with moving forward. It’s funny how different someone can seem when you’re chatting over a coffee compared to exchanging emails. I made some genuine connections that were different to what I expected. I am a big one for ‘gut feeling’ when it comes to business, and I was totally able to make some choices based on ‘gut’ at the show.

Looking at our offering, we really are in a sweet spot. Affordable, yes, but packed with value. I could see the lightbulbs going off in people’s heads when they realised just how much ‘bang they’d get for their buck with us’. Supporting new and emerging entrepreneurs is something I am so passionate about – so seeing the potential that our offering gave some people really filled me with excitement.

After much work last year, and since acquisition in 2021, we’re crystal clear on who we want to bring into the fold. Now is the time we’re going out and attracting those shining stars who align with our vision. Attending the show made me see how many good candidates there are out there who could do so well through our model. I want them to bring their sparkle to shine with us – and that is totally acceptable and achievable for us to want to, and be able to, bring in only the right people.

The informative seminars also left me buzzing. Specsavers and McDonald’s had the crowd hanging onto their every word.

When it came to Specsavers, I was impressed by the way they refer to their franchisees as partners. It’s not just a title; it’s a mindset—a collaborative approach that fosters success. Their seminar shed light on the support systems they have in place for their partners, from training to marketing assistance, and it’s no wonder they draw in the crowds and are celebrating their 40th year of business this year – same age as me (big birthday approaching!).

And then there was McDonald’s. The interest in them was off the charts. People packed into the seminar area, eager to glean insights from one of the most iconic franchise brands in the world. McDonald’s didn’t disappoint, sharing their recipe for success and giving us a glimpse into their world-renowned business model. It was a masterclass in franchising done well but on their terms.

So, there you go. A great day; exposure and industry networking was top class. If you’re even a tad curious about what we’re all about at activ Franchise, let me know. Let’s plan an informal discovery session and chat about how I can support you as you begin your self-employed marketing journey, as I did 10 years ago. 


Managing Director – activ Marketing Franchise

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