Inside the 2024 International Franchise Expo: Q&A with Sebastian Aguirre

I did a quick debrief with NiceJob's Sebastian Aguirre, fresh from the 2024 International Franchise Expo in New York City. He shared some notes on what's happening in the franchise world today, along with some hilarious stories, and exciting takeaways from the event, and a bonus celebrity sighting. Check out the quick Q&A and some of his event photos below:

 

  • Were there any new trends, products, or innovations that you found particularly interesting?

There were several companies with innovative concepts, but one that stood out to me was a company called chargeFUZE. They have a network of high-speed charging stations for your phone, available in six states and four countries.

 

I personally experienced their customer service when my phone was at 1% and I found their booth with charging stations. All you do is scan a barcode, enter your credit card information, and instantly receive a portable charger that you can take with you. The best part is that you can return the charger to any of their other locations.

 

I thought this concept was not only great but also convenient and very affordable.

 

  • Did you meet any new people or reconnect with old friends?

 

Yes! I met with a partner of ours, Lisa Linkowsky from Milestone Franchising, Lou from the Canadian Franchise Association, Jill Abrahamsen from FranchiseWire, Emiliano from Ifranchise Group, and Angela Coté from AC Inc. It is always good to catch up with our NiceJob partners and clients to see what projects they are working on.

 

As for meeting new people, I was particularly looking forward to meeting Red Boswell, President of the IFPG. We’ve been communicating on LinkedIn for a year and we said that when we finally meet in person, it would be truly epic, and it was. Red was kind enough to let us interview him, where he shared his franchise insights and predictions.

 

Another person I was looking forward to meeting was Jack Monson, President of Brand J and host of Social Geek. He was very kind to interview us on his podcast show, where we discussed entrepreneurship and the leaders who have inspired us. One point I wanted to add is that Monica Feid, Co-Founder of BizCom Associates, acquired Brand J. This acquisition is a testament to the great value that Brand J holds in the industry.

 

Catching up with friends and hearing these stories is very encouraging, and I love hearing these success stories.

 

Monica

 

lisa linkowsky

 

Jill Abrahamsen

 

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  • Were there any funny moments that happened during the expo?

 

There were too many to mention here, but I think the one story that tops the cake is Bart the Knight.

 

Ziebart International’s marketing team has been working on new projects, and one of them was Bart, who debuted at the International Franchise Expo. So I can say this expo was historic!

 

Bart’s armor was not only great and accurate but also amusing. Bart would interact with them and have fun as kids and prospects walked in front of their booth.

 

I think one of the geniuses of marketing is always breaking the fourth wall with your audience, and Bart the Knight and the Ziebart marketing team truly nailed it. I must admit, I went to take pictures with Bart like a fanboy many times.

 

ziebart

  • Can you share some highlights from your interview with Jack Monson on the Social Geek?

 

We talked about entrepreneurship in the franchise space. There are two CEOs that I follow on social media, and I observe their presence not only within their company but also in how they interact with their clients and franchisees. They are Aaron Harper, CEO of Rolling Suds, and Josh York, CEO and founder of GymGuyz.

 

What makes these two CEOs distinct is how fast their brands are expanding in the franchise space and how frequently they are on social media. Josh releases reels on socials regularly and shares candid stories about his business, which is a great way to tell your story and connect with your audience. I could write all day about these two successful CEOs, but I definitely recommend you follow them and check out their content.

 

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  • What were some of the key takeaways from the sessions or workshops you attended?

 

I attended a session led by Trevor Rippleye, CEO of FranchiseFilming, titled "Secrets to Sell," where he discussed the power of storytelling through videos. He emphasized that 95% of people buy based on emotion rather than logic.

 

He highlighted the importance of creating authentic, engaging content that resonates with viewers on a personal level. He shared techniques for crafting compelling narratives that connect emotionally with potential customers and he also provided insights on how to effectively use video to showcase brand values.

 

It was truly an enlightening session that reinforced the significant impact of emotional storytelling in marketing and sales.

 

Trevor Rippleye

  • Did you notice any common challenges or concerns among franchise owners?

 

I would say the main concern I noticed was regarding interest rates. With rates now lowering, the concern is slowly dissipating, especially considering that Franchise Online Searches have increased in the last quarter. This indicates that more prospects are becoming interested in franchising, and now they have the resources and loans to start their own businesses. One point that many have expressed is the cost of goods, but as we mentioned before, as the rates begin to level out, we’ll see an increase in GDP spending.

 

  • How was the overall atmosphere of the conference in New York City?

 

The conference was truly 10/10, and the great weather in New York played a huge part in that, as it was sunny and vibrant. The conference had a fantastic ambiance, designed to invite attendees to engage and learn about the franchise brands they were connecting with. I was able to network with many brands myself, and because the atmosphere welcomed collaboration and networking, I found everyone at ease and ready to connect. This is one reason why I enjoy attending these types of conferences – there is a mutual benefit to learning and networking with new friends.

 

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  • Aside from the conference, did you have any unique or interesting experiences in New York City that you'd like to share?

 

I met Steve Carell outside of my hotel, lol. I was staying at the Paramount Hotel located in Times Square, and he was performing in his Broadway show, "Uncle Vanya." It was truly unexpected but amazing, as I've been a huge fan of his for years. Whenever I visit New York, I try to squeeze in some sightseeing and explore the city, as it's truly an amazing place.

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BONUS: What advice would you give to someone attending the International Franchise Expo for the first time?

 

Go with an open mind.

 

Many emerging franchise concepts are entering the market, as I mentioned previously, such as chargeFUZE. Not all concepts are in the food and home service sectors. Some concepts are truly tech-based due to the emerging trend of "Here to Stay" A.I.

 

If I could make a recommendation, it would be to research all the brands on the MFV Supplier List beforehand. If any interest you, head to those booths and speak to their representatives. This will help you make the most of your time and build valuable relationships.