I go every year to the franchise expo.
I find it useful as I meet people, get ideas and see what is out there. This year I saw it was bigger than ever. Looking around, you always see something that seems interesting; you also often get a good idea of where the market thinks it is going.
If there was any theme at the show, it is about having a theme product. A product that it has that stands out.Once you have that you can build on it.
I have always been dubious on franchises. What you are doing is introducing a new level. The problem here is that few SMB businesses have the margins to afford an extra level. Also if you want to be your own boss, why give yourself another level? Still, I have seen many do well in a franchise. Again, I had a chuckle when I saw at the show many stalls of lawyers, far too often franchisees need their services. The small business minister at the expo spoke a lot about this in her talk. You may want to check out this facebook group that I am a member of there are some excellent write-ups there.
Still franchises are growing, just about everything now is being offered on a franchise model, and this expo showed that they are growing bigger every year.
One point I have made in the past, and I make it again. Many of these people going to the show are the sort of people that would be interested in buying many businesses in our market space. Many there have the money, ambition, will and are looking. So many in our market space missed here a golden opportunity to sell their industry.