The Virginia Franchise Forum convened on September 25, 2013 at the Westwood Club for an evening reception and panel discussion.  Several dozen local business owners and members of the franchise community were on hand for insightful comments from Robb Strader with Virginia Community Capital; Jim Salley with M&T Bank; Bob Mcloone with the SBA; and Tom Lawrence with Frannet.  Moderated by Bill Stephens with FranDiscover, the panel touched on a variety of business financing techniques and trends for both franchisors, franchisees, and prospects thinking of entering the world of franchising.

Key takeaways from the presentations were that a prospective franchisee has a lot of financing options to explore, but there’s no such thing as “free money” or “government grants” to cover start-up costs.  Borrowers need to be realistic and have reasonable expectations when preparing a budget and entering the loan application process.  Different lenders and different loan programs offer many financing options depending upon a variety of factors.

The next VFF event in November will feature the annual state of franchising update and 2014 forecast presented by FRANdata.  Stay tuned for details.