Franchising has shifted towards the home front in the last number of months. The challenges of the economy have forced flexible entrepreneurs to reconsider their attachment to their business space. Many have been opting to forego rent and relocate at home. But launching a home-based business is not an open-and-shut matter.
Recently, The Wall Street Journal published an interesting profile of entrepreneurs who have relocated their businesses to their homes. A move home might seem like the logical step for a franchise that is small and versatile, especially if the franchisee has an extra room in this house. But there are a few challenges to consider, as the article discusses.
Zoning: Laws vary from town to town and state to state, but this is a very important consideration. The WSJ article cites the experience of Princeton, NJ’s Victoria Rogers, who wanted to relocate her ballet shoe business to her home. A local community group objected, claiming the ballet shop violated Princeton’s historical image and Rogers was forced to obtain a permit for selling shoes in her house by appointment only. This seems like a great inconvenience and it’s the kind of hassle every entrepreneur should consider before relocating.
Marketing: The greatest advantage of owning a store is having a living, breathing space to advertise your product or service. A shop is probably the last thing a consumer is looking for when they drive through a residential area, and the small sign you’ll be able to hang out in home’s window will hardly capture many people’s imagination. Distance from the footfall that a shoppinh zone provides forces many entrepreneurs into the trickier world of online marketing, as Brendan Buffington of Eurochild explained:
"Before, we could put a sign with 'sale' on it outside our door, and it would drive traffic directly into our front door," Mr. Buffington says. "Now, we place ads on other Web sites, and send our email campaigns, and wish on a star that people will click through."
None of these things should inhibit you from opening a home-based franchise, but they issues are worth considering. Perhaps in these difficult times, rent is one expense too many, so it’s as good a time as any to consider a home-based franchise with Franchise Direct.