The U.S. Commercial Service, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s leading trade promotion agency, helps American franchisors expand into international markets. Franchise trade specialists are available at U.S. Export Assistance Centers across the U.S.
The following success stories demonstrate how U.S. franchisors gain a foothold in international markets with help from the U.S. Commercial Service Franchise Specialists.
California-based MY GYM contacted the U.S. Commercial Service in Paris (CS Paris) to discuss the best way to approach the French market. MY GYM creates facilities, programs and services that empower youngsters by helping them acquire the skills, confidence and positive self-image needed to become healthy young adults.
CS Paris arranged for MY GYM to take part in the U.S. Pavilion at the Paris Franchise Show 04, France's major trade show and a leading event in Europe. The show attracts over 400 exhibitors and approximately 30,000 French and international visitors. CS Paris used this event to provide a customized promotional campaign for U.S. franchisors to generate leads for their master franchise opportunities. To do so, CS Paris launched a major press outreach sending press releases to franchise and business/entrepreneurs magazines, franchise websites and appropriate business dailies. This campaign generated more than USD 20,000 of press exposure for U.S. franchisors. As a result, a French prospect contacted CS Paris for further details about MY GYM. The candidate visited MY GYM at the U.S. pavilion and started negotiations with the company. A CS Paris franchising specialist counseled MY GYM about the complex process of establishing a foreign franchise contract in France considering local laws, customs and language issues. It took more than a year for the two parties to reach an agreement, but the French partner recently opened the first MY GYM children fitness center in Toulouse, France.
FasTracKids, a enrichment education company focusing on 3 to 6 year old children, participated the U.S. Commercial Service 2003 Franchise Trade Mission to Shanghai. As a result, FTK licensed their master franchise for China to a Chinese company which was well-known to and recommended by the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) in Shanghai. FTK opened its first training center in Shanghai in May. The local company is also the master franchisee for Gymboree in China.
The Franchise Trade Mission directly led to FTK’s expansion into the Chinese market. By providing market and legal briefings, scheduling one-on-one meetings with potential business partners, and arranging logistic support, the Commercial Service eased the way for FasTracKids to meet possible franchisees.
Following the trade mission, two of the potential franchisees visited FTK’s headquarters in Denver, Colorado. With additional export assistance provided by the Commercial Service’s Export Assistance Center in Denver, FTK signed a master franchise agreement with one of the companies.
In the thank you letter from Hal Krause, CEO of FasTracKids International Ltd. said:"We truly feel that the assistance of the U.S. Commercial Service was instrumental in enabling us to find the right business partners for China in a very cost-effective manner, and we welcome the opportunity to participate in similar trade mission in the future."
Aussie Pet Mobile
Aussie Pet Mobile, a Southern California-based dog grooming franchise first contacted a Franchise Trade Specialist at the U.S. Commercial Service’s San Diego Export Assistance Center in the fall of 2003. Because franchise exports are very unique, the company had a number of export questions. They wanted to be able to offer the franchisee a "full package", providing all needed information and equipment for export if possible. The trade specialist was able to assist in the creation of an international marketing plan, identifying potential business partners, providing market research, trade show information, and shipping and documentation information for a variety of countries.
Aussie Pet Mobile also exhibited at the International Franchise Expo in 2004. The IFE trade show is part of the U.S. Commercial Service’s International Buyer Program, which helps to increase the number of international buyers at American trade shows. The U.S. Commercial Service in Mexico was one of many CS international posts leading a buyer delegation to the IFE show that year. Aussie Pet Mobile met many potential partners at IFE and after several months of negotiation, signed a master franchise agreement with two partners from the CS Mexico delegation.