Attending a franchise expo?

Here are 5 things to get the most from your visit.

Franchise and business opportunity expos are an absolute hive of activity. They can be exciting as it is the epitome of a ‘sea of opportunity’. But the challenge with all that activity, is that you can easily be distracted from achieving anything taking you closer to the goal of business ownership.

Here’s our short and sharp list of five (5) things to help you make certain you get the most out of your time there. We hope it helps!

1. Figure out what you definitely don't want to do.

It might sound odd, but it’s the best place to start!

A very common answer we get to the “What type of business are you looking for?” question of many people at an expo, is “I’m really not sure, but I’m hoping something will jump out at me.”

If this sounds like you, our best suggestion is to start before you go by eliminating the businesses where your’e doing things that you definitely don’t want to do.

For example, if you don’t want to work outdoors, then a mowing run and some mobile business options are probably not for you.

By just knowing what you DON’T want to do, you can already rule out a huge number of potentially distracting options.

2. Figure out the types of things you DO want to do.

Clearly, this rolls on from the above tip, but again, it’s another very simple way to immediately cull and then identify a sub-set of businesses that you can have on your radar.

It’s a simple process of filtering down to a smaller list, but the key to making this work is to be honest with yourself on your motivation, capabilities, and not to mention the capacity to afford the business.

3. What's out there that allows me to directly leverage my skills and experience?

We all want an advantage, something that gives us an edge that others don’t have. Having experience and skills that are able to be directly leveraged into a certain kind of business puts you ahead of the curve from the start.

Even if you don’t like what you are doing in a certain business or industry right now as an employee, it’s always a shame to ignore that experience and skill to get away from it. If you do ignore it, just be aware of it, and be confident you have explored your options.

For example, if you are frustrated or tired of being a teacher, leveraging that to a tutoring or education type of franchise may be the answer – and not getting totally away from the industry.

Consider using it to your advantage by giving yourself a layer of ability into a business that entirely complements that experience.

4. Beware of bright shiny objects!

Commonly referred to as BSO’s, these are opportunities that look and sound amazing, and may even be considered too good to be true. Expos are great with the huge variety of business options you have in front of you in one spot at the same time. But, there is no hiding from the obvious that you also have sales pitches going on all around and at you.

Some of the sales pitches are more slick than others. There is nothing at all wrong with selling a business, but what you will notice is that the better businesses are generally less overt in their selling.

Good franchise businesses are very interested in YOU as a person, and your skill-set and experience. They are after a great fit all-round, for all concerned.

5. Ask lots of questions.

Always ask lots of questions. For example, if it is on your mind, and you don’t ‘get’ how the business consistently makes you, the buyer, an income – then ask for that to be clarified. Drilling down into the details of the concepts via great questions, is the best way to rapidly increase your knowledge and understanding of any business opportunity.

Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions!

Steaming Milk

Why I chose Stellarossa over all others

Lorenzo Di Giorgio, Franchise Owner, Green Square, Brisbane.

When it comes to going into business and whether to do that within a franchise model or going it alone as an independent, the best people to ask are those who have done it.

As far as we are concerned at Stellarossa, it’s the ultimate question that needs to be answered.

Of course each option has its pro’s and con’s, so we asked one of our franchise owners, Lorenzo Di Giorgio, based at Green Square in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley for his take on it.

Why did you choose Stellarossa over going it on your own as an independent, and amongst all the other franchise options?

“At the start the reason I chose Stellarossa was because I was looking for a franchise group (that) I could learn from, as without the experience of running a café I wanted to be able to have some support to fall back on.

The second reason why, was because they weren’t out to gouge you. I suppose the franchise fees were affordable. A lot of the others I looked at there was a base of 10% regardless, and the first dollar you earn for Stellarossa is a little bit more flexible and a lot lower, and more achievable.

The third reason was because I got a say in everything. So the fit out that we see behind me is pretty much mine. I got to choose the tables, I got to choose the chairs, the coffee machine, the fridges. Everything was designed in accordance with Stellarossa, by myself and Phil, the owner of Stellarossa.

When it came to the site, I’d been working with Phil and Darren for about 4-5 months. We were looking at another site in the city where, when we sat down and did the numbers, I didn’t see it being profitable. The rent was way too high, what they were asking for.

Then Darren came across this one (location), and he flicked me the details. I did my own research. I came and spent some time here at the other cafes that were already established, and I could see the benefit of this site. The building, when I moved in, was almost going to be 100% tenanted. There were only two floors vacant. These two buildings were both at 100% capacity, so the due diligence showed me that this was the right place to go.

So Darren and Phil came up with the site, gave me all the information I needed. I did my own due diligence as well. I didn’t (just) rely on them. And then that’s how we chose the site. And I said, ‘Yep, I’m happy to go ahead with that’.”

Stellarossa's keeper of all things coffee culture

Introducing Cameron aka ‘the professor’ Dittman

You are referred to as the ‘Professor of Coffee’ – Why that name and who ‘gifted’ it to you?

“It actually came from one of the directors Darren (Schultz), and I guess it was the information and manner that I was providing it at a time around coffee.

I like to go into coffee and talk about the science, the chemistry and the physics, and even the mathematics that’s actually involved in the coffee process.
Of course, I did not give myself that name!”

What is your background?

“My background is one of many years in a variety of different cafes, bars, pubs and clubs. Eventually my whole goal was about getting into the roasting industry or part of coffee. I was always very passionate about coffee, and thankfully, that passion eventually took me down the path that I am on right now – and I love it!

With Stellarossa I’m all about learning and development, and passing on the knowledge that I’ve acquired from all those experiences in service and beverage production over many years.”

What do you think is the key to being a great barista?

“As a barista, I believe the key is a focus on consistency in ensuring you deliver a quality product. For me personally, I’ve always taken pride in having customers come in in the morning, at the very beginning of their day, and they receive a great quality product. It’s a great feeling to know that it’s actually going to make a great start to their day and make them happy. I’ve always been about customer service and if I can provide that and put a smile on somebody’s face, then it makes me happy as well.

That’s a key message I’m very keen to ensure I keep passing on to anyone I’m involved with in helping them become a great barista.”

How do you take someone from knowing nothing about coffee and, inside just a few weeks, be confident to run their own café?

“It’s not as challenging as it might appear on the surface. A lot to do with coffee is actually about the experience that people get on the machine.

In our training that I love taking new café owners through from start to finish, we’ve taken a high-performance approach to it, where we’ve made it about kinetic muscle memory.

We break the entire process down, and go through each step it takes to make a coffee part by part. Coffee is a process, just kind of very similar to when you’re baking goods. If you go through that process and you don’t skip any steps, then you eventually make yourself a very, very good cup of coffee.

This happens almost without thinking when you are well-practised.

I also really enjoy, and it’s very important, to provide everybody with a desire to consistently make great coffee, the knowledge behind coffee as well. So, in the very beginning stages of training you to be a great barista, we’ll go from crop-to-cup as the saying goes, so that you understand every aspect of what it takes to produce exceptional coffee that your business can be underpinned by.

That’s exciting to be a key part of.”

Is there anything you’ve noticed where people commonly get ‘stuck’ in learning to make a great coffee?

“No, not really. There is nothing that I would claim to be a ‘common’ problem people have. My approach is to understand where that person is at as an individual. For me it is not really relevant what others have problems with – my focus is on the individual in front of me at that moment, and helping them get through and develop themselves into the best barista that they can be.”

What's the best part of your role with Stellarossa?

“I love that I get to see it all the way through with the people I’m working and training with. You see, coming from a training background, I used to train people for a time, and that would be it – never see them again as they move on and into their roles etc.

At Stellarossa, it’s hugely fulfilling that I not only get to train people on their paths to become great baristas, but I get to be in touch with them and continue developing with them permanently going forward. I love being able to come around to a café and see how everyone is progressing, what extra assistance, training or support they might need And for me personally, I take pride in actually seeing them develop as a barista and watch them grow in their business and the industry.”