Many people when thinking about their career choices overlook the franchise option. Franchise ownership presents a variety of choices to suit many different types of talents and people -- whether young and exploring college or trade schools; a college graduate looking for a corporate job; a middle-aged executive "downsized" out of a long-time job; or even a retiree eager to continue working.
Franchise ownership is a rewarding as well as challenging career choice that offers many advantages -- the first and foremost being an independent business owner who works for one’s self. But unlike those who start their own businesses completely on their own, franchise ownership comes with a proven system and a trademarked brand that typically conveys instant recognition. It is a way of being part of a larger corporate company while still maintaining your own independence as a business owner.
First of all, what is a franchise? It is an ongoing, legally binding relationship with a “Franchisor” who licenses the right to operate a business according to established operational systems; and who typically provides training, support, and supplies. And that also sums up the inherent advantages of franchising as a career choice. Because it is based on proven systems, tested in the real world, refined and improved through experience, franchising has a far greater success rate than new businesses started from scratch.
Although the franchise owner makes day-to-day decisions about various aspects of the business, there are guidelines and operational procedures that must be followed. Franchisors want Franchisees to be successful, so there is generally extensive system support in place for franchisees, who reap these advantages:
* Training – almost all Franchisors provide detailed training in their systems as part of the franchise fee. It’s possible to buy a business that you have no experience in at all, and still learn the ropes through the franchisor’s carefully planned training program.
* Operational support – many Franchisors offer access to a network of support administrators, managers and other franchisees to answer questions and give advice. Additionally, some franchise companies have their own centralized administrative support for different functions, like lead generation, marketing, supplies procurement etc.
* Tested quality standards – as a franchisee business owner, one doesn’t have to continually test products, services and processes. It’s been done for you.
* Marketing and name recognition – most often the fees paid by the franchisee include some portion of the cost for advertising, both nationally and locally. And again, the franchisor usually has the proven perspective on what makes the most impact and draws attention to your business.
* Discounted buying power – as a franchisee, you’ll probably get access to low-cost goods for your business because of group buying power.
There is a wide range of franchises available suited to just about anyone – no matter what your age, stage of life, financial situation or interests. For instance, a college graduate with some work experience, and even college loans to pay, is probably a good candidate for franchise ownership. The same goes for an older senior who wants to find a part-time business to run after leaving the full-time work world. Just look around, and you will see that so many of the businesses we patronize everyday – from morning coffee, to child day care, to lunch time sandwiches, to yard care, auto repair and home décor – are franchise businesses. Franchise ownership offers the possibility to follow your own passion, be it plants, pets or computers, and create financial independence as a business owner.
Of course, there are pitfalls and mistakes to avoid. And some folks are just not temperamentally suited to “go by the book.” But for many people, franchise ownership is an attractive career alternative to a typical corporate job.
To learn more about the ins-and-outs of franchise ownership, check out these highly informative books on the subject:
* Franchising for Dummies by Dave Thomas (Wendy’s founder) and Michael Sied * Complete Idiot’s Guide to Franchising by James H. Amos, Jr., former president and CEO of Mail Boxes Etc, and former chairman of the International Franchise Association * Franchising 101: The Complete Guide to Evaluating, Buying and Growing Your Franchise Business, published by The Association of Small Business Development Centers
And the granddaddy of all books about franchising: Grinding It Out: The Making of MacDonald’s by Ray Kroc, founder of the famous hamburger chain.