Layoffs coming? Consider a Business You Can Call Your Own

In an era of big mergers, most notably the recent link-up of H.J. Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group, the all-too-often consequence is mass layoffs.

First we hear about all the economies of scale and efficiencies to be generated, and then a fresh group of experienced, seasoned professionals are cut loose into the workforce. In the case of Kraft Heinz, the first announced round of layoffs amounted to 2,500, but the company has huge cost reductions still planned, which will likely mean even more layoffs.

While the company casually sails along, these good employees may find themselves left aimless and adrift.

For folks at mid-career, somewhere between the ages of 50 and retirement, anecdotal evidence abounds about how difficult it is to get a new job at a comparable level in corporate America, even at a time of increased awareness of age discrimination.

But these talented professionals are hardly without options.

One possibility is to consider putting your skills and experience to work for yourself. Even without any experience running your own show, there is one option that provides a ready-made system, as well as all the support you would need to help you get the hang of it all.

That is: A good franchise. The question is how to determine what constitutes a “good” franchise.

Five Steps to Figure Out if a Franchise is for You

Look and Listen

Your own senses can tell you a lot. Look around and start to notice all the different types of businesses that are, in fact, franchises. You’ll find a lot more than fast food. Plenty may actually be operated out of the owner’s home, from maid and cleaning services to business support services. Check out the International Franchise Association website — www.franchise.org — to get a glimpse of this growing sector of our economy that includes more than 7,000 franchises across 75 industries. Ask around and learn from friends and family, who may have experiences with franchises.

Consult a Franchise Coach

Absolutely free, these consultants offer an invaluable service because they already have an established track record with a set of franchises. In addition, their ongoing contacts provide them the opportunity to learn about problems within a specific franchise, so you can skip franchises that may be undergoing a difficult transition or having growing pains. They will also attempt to match a franchise to your own particular set of skills and interests and so save you time in the long run.

Talk to Some Franchise Companies

Pick up the phone and call franchise companies that interest you. Sure they’re trying to sell their franchise, but they will also answer specific questions about what the day-to-day life of the owner is like, how the franchise company supports franchisees, and how much it costs to set up a franchise with their company. They can also tell you what qualities they look for in franchisees, and you can get a feel for whether this franchise would work for you or not and if its cost falls within your budget.

Read the Franchise Disclosure Document

The Federal Trade Commission requires all franchisors to disclose particular aspects of their businesses to potential franchisees, and it must be written in standard English. This is essential reading for any franchise you are seriously considering. You can get a complete rundown of the costs, you will learn the history of the franchise and its executives, whether they or the company have been involved in litigation, and some will even provide earnings estimates, though this item is not required.

Interview Franchisees

As perhaps the most important step in the process, you can check all the information you’ve received so far with the folks with all the hands-on experience. Talk to as many franchisees as possible and ask them how they’re doing, how the franchisor’s support and system has worked and whether they would buy this franchise again. You can also ask them how the numbers add up. How much capital did they need to keep their business operating until they could start earning a profit? And how much can a person expect to earn from this franchise? Not all franchisees will answer this question, but many will.

While you may have heard a lot of things about franchising, the truth is there exists a huge variety of franchises, good and bad, each requiring different types of experience. The trick is to figure out what type of franchise might work for you and treat the process as you would any important investment in your life, with thorough preparation.

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true?

Get your free evaluation today!

Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a franchise coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-4589.

© Dan Citrenbaum 2015

Looking for a Second Act? Start a Business!

            Laid off or downsized or just looking for a change in our troubled economy entrepreneurship may be just what you need to craft your dream job. And whether due to the midlife doldrums or a career that let you down, lots of folks see an opportunity to find new meaning in their work.

            About 35 percent of all new businesses in 2013 were started by people over the age of 50, according to a recent study by the Kauffman Foundation and LegalZoom. The subject of the midlife entrepreneur was even the subject of a recent U.S. Senate hearing titled, “In Search of a Second Act: The Challenges and Advantages of Senior Entrepreneurship.”

            According to testimony before the committee, entrepreneurs between the ages of 55 and 64 are starting businesses at a faster rate than people in their 20s and 30s.

            But the news is hardly surprising since everyone knows 60 is the new 40, and extensive life and business experience can pay big dividends in business.

            Don’t worry if you don’t have a background in your new business. A franchise may be just the ticket to your second career and, before you hesitate, that doesn’t mean fast food. In fact, there are lots of franchise opportunities in service businesses, where you can find ways to make a real difference in people’s lives and use the skills you developed in your first careers.

            The International Franchise Association projects business and commercial and residential services to be the fastest growing sectors of the franchise business next year. So, if you’re interested in helping people get control over an aspect of their personal or professional lives, there may be no better time to start your next stage.

            The advantage of franchises is they offer ready made systems tested over many years for running a business, plus training and ongoing support. And while the world of franchising is huge 75 industries are represented a franchise coach can help you get started with your research.

            Opportunities in the growing service sector include:

Senior Care

As Baby Boomers age, opportunities abound. The greatest need is for home health aides to help seniors stay safe and healthy throughout the day in their own homes.

Health and Wellness

You might start a business to help fit people with hearing aids or get fit with an exercise program. A range of possibilities include franchises for massage therapy or urgent medical care, as well as fitness for seniors and baby boomers.

Home Modifications for Handicap Access

Lots of opportunities exist to help people renovate their homes to be accessible to older or disabled folks.

Academic Tutoring

You might want to devote your working life to help augment educational opportunities by going into the tutoring business. Lots of businesses are thriving in this area, including Above Grade Level, which sells in-home tutoring services.

Disaster Recovery

This business fills a critical need to help people cope with the awful after-effects of a natural disaster, be it a tornado or flood or even a burst pipe. When people don’t know where to turn after experiencing severe damage to their homes, they can turn to companies like ServPro.

Green Energy/Recycling

In this growing area of our economy, you can be a part of the green revolution, by not only by helping people to reduce pollution but by cutting their energy costs, as well.

Whichever business you choose to enter, topmost in your mind should be your specific personal goals, whether that’s work-life balance or maximizing earnings. Either way, you can find what you’re looking for in the world of franchising.

 

Dan Citrenbaum is a franchise coach and consultant to entrepreneurs, who helps people achieve their dreams as small business owners. He has a proven track record helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. Contact Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-4589 and view his company website at www.entrepreneuroption.com.

 

©Dan Citrenbaum 2014

 

Nine Things to Know Before Buying a Franchise: A Personal Inventory

Before you start looking seriously at franchises that might be your ticket to a future career as a business owner, you need to figure out answers to key questions that may make the difference between success and failure.

Youll need to think about who you are as a person and where you are in your career journey. A little self-reflection will go a long way toward helping you choose a franchise operation that is the right fit for you.

Consider: 
Does your family support you?

As a franchise coach who has helped many business owners buy franchises, I think this is by far the most important question on the list. With the commitment and time required of an independent business owner, particularly during the start-up phase, if your spouse or other critical family members are not on board, your answer is to stop here. If you feel this is truly a passion for you, youll first have to bring your family on board. Just think, if you can convince those who know you best, selling future clients will be a piece of cake.

What types of businesses interest you?

The range of franchises available to you is practically as wide as your imagination. Write a list of your strengths and weaknesses. How do they match your interests? A franchise coach can help you with this process.

How much time and effort are you willing to dedicate to your business?

Its not an all-or-nothing question. Some franchises require fewer hours of work than others. But you need to know what you require. Is it a 24-7 commitment or maybe something you can combine with an existing career?

Are you qualified to manage a business?

Be honest with yourself, and at the same time dont shortchange your skill set. Many skills developed in first careers can easily be adapted for second careers. So when you develop your list of skills, think globally. If you have experience managing employees, you might want to choose a franchise that capitalizes on your management strengths. On the flip side, if you have sales experience or have an outgoing, positive personality, you might consider a business where the owner is often involved in sales. The main point is to play to your strengths.

How much money are you prepared to invest?

And this doesnt just include the upfront franchise fee. Depending on the business type you need enough money on hand to last from three to 12 months running your business. This might also include the costs of setting up an office, paying rent, and covering other expenses until your business reaches profitability.

Are you comfortable taking on debt?

This question is important when considering the price range of a franchise to consider buying. Sometimes, it may be worth taking on a little debt to get the business that excites you the most. For this question, a franchise coach can be an invaluable resource.

How quickly will you need income from your franchise?

Do the math. The most important thing is for your expectations to be realistic, so you can afford to start your business properly and get through the building phase.

Do you like following a system?

A franchise will provide systems for their franchisees. If this makes you uncomfortable and youre the sort of person who prefers to march to the beat of his own drummer, this may be a stumbling block.  Learn what the system is and plan to follow it.  If you dont expect to follow the system, then simply dont buy the franchise.

How do you prefer to solicit new customers?

Starting your business often requires building a clientele marketing your service to new customers. Some people are comfortable cold-calling or direct mail marketing, but others won’t enjoy that type of work. Many businesses, however, don’t require the owner to be a salesman. It’s critically important  you choose a franchise that doesn’t make demands on you as an owner that you’re not prepared to deliver.

You can never do too much research before buying a franchise. So after you complete your personal inventory, you can start your nitty gritty business research.

 

 

© Dan Citrenbaum 2014

 

 

Dan Citrenbaum is a franchise coach and consultant to entrepreneurs, who helps people achieve their dreams as small business owners. He has a proven track record helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. Contact Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at 215 367-5349 and view his company website at www.entrepreneuroption.com.

 

The quality of your research is key to success Get the help you need!

The lightbulb goes off and you have the solution to the nine-to-five doldrums: Start your own business. And you’ve been planning your big career move ever since. Unfortunately, you’re still at the same desk, trying to come up with the perfect idea, some new undiscovered niche in the marketplace.
With that kind of thinking, you’ll be daydreaming at your frustrating job from now until eternity. There is no such thing as the perfect new idea. Who would have guessed a pet rock would catch fire?
Rather than look for the next best, new thing, you’re better off figuring out how you can add your unique talents in a well established market. One way to get going without having to invent everything from scratch is to match yourself with a good franchise.
While not all franchises are created equal, you can figure out which ones you should consider and which you should cross off the list.
I call it the one-two punch. 1) consult a franchise coach for referrals to franchise companies with a good track record of helping franchisees succeed, and 2) Read the franchise disclosure document (FDD), which will provide you all the information you need to complete a thorough due diligence. Here are a few pointers to help you get through what can be a long complicated document.
How to Navigate the Franchise Disclosure Document
The FDD consists of 23 Items. Focus most closely on:
Item 1: The Franchisor
You’ll find the franchisor’s business history, where it is incorporated, and a general description of the business, including whether it has operated under other names.
Item 3: Litigation
It’s best to stay away from companies that have a history of litigation – especially if the litigation is with their own franchisees.
Items 5-7 Initial Fees and Investment Costs
You can learn exactly how much this operation will cost you. The breakdown will include your initial fees, royalty fees, estimated wages and other labor costs, training, estimated lease payments, estimated costs to furnish your office or store, signs, advertising insurance, etc. Remember, every new business has a ramp-up phase, and you have to be prepared to cover your living expenses during that period.
Item 12 Territory
Some franchisors offer exclusive territories. You want to be sure that your market will be sufficient to allow you to make a good income.
Item 19 – Earnings Claim
Not a required item, but be aware that for those franchisors who do provide estimates, they may be affected by regional differences and other factors.
Item 20 – List of Outlets
This is by far the most important item because it gives you the ticket to your best resource for information: the franchisees. You should interview as many as possible to learn how their business has worked out.
Item 21 – Financial Statements
You can learn the financial condition of the company by reading their audited financial statements for the most recent three fiscal years. I recommend you have an accountant review these for any franchise you’re serious about purchasing.

 When you get close to choosing a franchise, I you will want to consult an attorney, as well as an accountant to make sure the franchise agreement is favorable to your long-term success.  Then by all means get started and recharge your career!

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true?
Get your free evaluation today!

Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted.
With a quarter century of experience as an entrepreneur and coach, Dan began the latest stage of his career in 2010 when he bought a franchise — which he calls “the best decision I ever made.” To find out how to start your own business with a franchise or buy an existing business, call Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-4589.
© Dan Citrenbaum 2016

The Advantage of a Franchise for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Lots of you do it every day, especially when it seems everyone’s on your case and you’re not hopping fast enough to please your boss. You begin to wonder: How can I get control of my own destiny and reap all the rewards of my labor?

Almost half of workers over the age of 35 want to branch out on their own, according to a recent survey by Harris Poll and CreativeLive (an online education company).

The obstacles sometimes seem enormous for older adults, ones who have picked up costly responsibilities along the way. Striking out on their own may sound too risky. They may not be certain they have the right skills for business ownership. The big question: How do I get started?

One way to lower your risk and help get you to a new and better career is to consider buying a franchise, which comes with a network of support to help you succeed in your new business. Another clear advantage of a franchise is the opportunity to talk to people already in the business to learn how they’re faring, how the franchise company’s systems work and whether they would do it again.

 

Five Easy Steps for Selecting a Franchise

  1. Rev Your Engines

Make a list of your skills and experience. Then look into different franchises in which the franchisees seem to have particular success. Start matching skills to what the owners need to do in those businesses to see where you might have the best connection.

  1. Research Your Selected Business Sector

Learn where the growth is, where opportunities abound, what your geographic area may be missing, and what economic indicators are showing. Maybe local school budgets have been cut and the area has a growing need for a professionally run tutoring business. Or maybe your region lacks adequate resources for senior care.

  1. Contact a Franchise Coach

A coach can help you narrow down your choices to franchises that are well-tested in the marketplace and offer the best support system for franchisees. The coach can also help make sure your research is thorough and objective.

  1. Talk to franchisors and franchisees

Get the Franchise Disclosure Document from franchisors and learn the financial history of the company, as well as its key executives, and receive the list of franchisees. Franchisees are your most important resource, because they will provide the lowdown on where the franchise company is strongest and where its system may not work so well.

  1. Consult a Franchise Attorney

Attorneys who specialize in this market will help you understand the potential pitfalls in a franchisor’s contract and suggest ways to improve the fundamentals to help ensure your success.

Just like any new endeavor in which you want to be successful, your preparation is critical. Making a well-researched solid selection will go a long way to putting you on the road to becoming a successful business owner so you can take control of your career.

 

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true?

Get your free evaluation today!

Contact Dan Citrenbaum to create the career you’ve always wanted. As a Franchise Coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-4589.

 

 

©Dan Citrenbaum 2014