Sick and tired of your job? Try our Entrepreneur’s Checklist

If you’re one of the 90 percent of Americans employed full time by someone else, chances are you’re not feeling much satisfaction at work. Some of you are stuck with a boss who makes your lives miserable, while others may be merely bored or vastly under appreciated.

Only 30 percent of Americans are actively engaged in their jobs, according to a recent Gallup report, State of the American Workplace. Not only does being unhappy at work lead to a whole range of obvious complaints, it can also take a toll on your health, the survey reported.

One way to improve your situation is to strike out on your own. So how do you know if you’ve got what it takes to run your own business?

Just like most things in life, what separates the whizzes from the also rans is preparation. Do your research, write a realistic business plan, raise sufficient capital and your odds for success go way up.

Even before you pinpoint your business, you’ll need to start by asking yourself key questions to determine whether you’re ready to leave a sure paycheck for the chance to take charge of your career for life.

Entrepreneur’s Checklist

Support from your family

When undertaking such a major life change, it’s critical you have your family behind your decision to give up your job to follow your dream. As you may go through a financial fallow period, their support can help you persevere.

Commitment and dedication to making your business succeed

You’ve heard the phrase: You’ve gotta want it more than anything else. Or how about: Hungry for success. The point is you have to believe in yourself even when faced by setbacks. Sometimes that means aggressively courting clients or revising your business plan. Surround yourself with critical support, including a good attorney, accountant and business coach.

Sufficient capitalization or willingness to take on debt

While you will likely need to finance some of your startup costs, you should have sufficient resources set aside to get you through the startup period until revenue begins to exceed costs and the profits start rolling in.

Management Skills

If this is one of your strengths, bravo, but if not, you may need to investigate what it takes to manage employees. If you choose a franchise, you’ll get ongoing training to help you learn the art of hiring, retaining and getting the most out of your workers. Alternatively, you could purchase one of the many franchises that do not have any employees other than the owner.


How do you see yourself getting customers? The answer to this question will dictate which businesses best suit your style. If you’re an expert at networking, you’ll likely find it easy to develop a clientele. For those who prefer that customers find them, either due to a good location or national advertising campaign, you might want to try a retail operation.

Desire to develop your own or follow someone else’s system

You may be well suited to a franchise if you like the idea of following a system that’s been perfected over time and working well for franchisees around the country. Or you may prefer to control every aspect of your business and make your own unique contribution to the marketplace.

Tolerance for Risk

Even in today’s job market where a steady job is no sure thing, starting your own business requires you to be comfortable with risk. If you believe in your vision and have the moxy to push through the learning phase, you greatly improve your odds.

If you’ve checked most of the items above and you’re ready to move forward, we recommend you consult a coach to help you decide on a business that suits your skills and experience.

Once you turn the tables and occupy the boss’s chair yourself, don’t forget you still want to make your employees feel valued, help develop their strengths so they, too, can feel satisfied and engaged at work. After all, you’ve already walked in those shoes. And happier employees can go a long way toward helping you make your business a success.


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 youve always wanted. Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at or at (484)278-4589.


© Dan Citrenbaum 2019

How A Laid-off Comcast Business Manager Made it Big with a Franchise

When Bryant Greene was laid off from his job as a Comcast business manager at the start of the Great Recession, he knew it would be tough, but, still young in his late 30s, he had a lot of confidence that his resume, including an MBA, would help him land on his feet. Six months later, he was discouraged by his lack of success in the job market.

As the recession raged on in July 2009, he headed off to a “diversity job fair/pink slip party,” where he noticed Comcast had the largest booth and a long line of would-be employees. Then he turned around to hear the question: “Have you ever thought of owning your own business?”

“Who would start a business in the middle of a recession,” replied Greene, of Philadelphia.

But Greene hit it off with the franchise coach, who introduced Greene to four different franchises, two in senior care — an industry to which he felt a personal connection as a result of his close relationships with all of his grandparents, including two great grandmas.

What Greene went through over the next 12 months shows how a great set of skills, perseverance and hard-headedness, plus old-fashioned grit paired with the right business can turn a hopeless situation into a big win. Proof positive: In five short years, Greene went from “Have I made a mistake?” to “2015 Franchisee of the Year.”

As Greene recounts, he liked the idea of a business that helped senior citizens gain the services they needed to help them stay in their homes.

After a thorough investigation, Greene chose the Always Best Care franchise, which specializes in placing non-medical health care workers in homes and is currently in the process of adding skilled home health care.

But Greene was short on funds. After a 15-minute phone call with the CEO “turned magical” and stretched into 90 minutes, Greene said, the company found a creative way for him to get started with a lower upfront investment.

At about the same time, Greene got a job offer from a media company at a level “a couple of steps below where he was laid off.” Nervous about being without an income, he took it, figuring he could start building his franchise business with the help of a close friend, Tony Belardino, and paternal Aunt Valerie Crumble (who both worked for free in the beginning).

As a single man with a teenage daughter whom he wanted to help put through college, he was motivated to work hard. And because he lived alone, working 24-7 wasn’t a problem, he said.

He started his job in March 2010, bought the franchise in May 2010 and opened up for business on July 15, 2010.

To say things moved slowly with Always Best Care would be an understatement. By the end of December 2010, he had only two clients.

Much of his time at his day job Greene spent “cutting heads,” and when he was done, he found himself laid off, as well, in January 2011.

Things grew worse as he started having difficult conversations with the executives at Always Best Care, who wrote him a Performance Improvement Plan or PIP, to help him get on track.

Talk about demoralizing, but instead of bailing out, Greene recalled, “I poured myself into Always Best Care.”

To help drum up sales, Greene thought of getting involved with the Medicaid Waiver program that helps senior citizens get home care services to avoid moving to a more costly nursing home. Even though it offered a comparatively low reimbursement rate, Greene figured he could make up for the loss with greater volume.

At the start, he got the toughest cases, he said, but they took every one, and, before long, Greene started turning things around.

By 2013, Greene moved full-time into the CEO role of his business, and now the company operates five offices with an administrative team of more than 50 people and more than 1,000 clients.

But Greene has not abandoned the qualities that helped him succeed. All hiring is driven by a culture of caring so that every senior citizen gets the best care possible.

“If they’re not the kind of person who you would send to your grandmother’s home, we don’t hire them,” he said.

Now with 13 territories in and around Philadelphia and in Wilmington, Del., Greene does a regular feature on the radio and is actively giving back by supporting local organizations.

Living proof of the old cliche, “quitters never win,” Greene exemplifies the value of choosing the right new business, allowing him to leverage his skills to achieve success.

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 or at (484) 278-4589.

© Dan Citrenbaum 2019

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 — — 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 or at (484) 278-4589.

© Dan Citrenbaum 2019

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 or at (484) 278-4589 and view his company website at


©Dan Citrenbaum 2019


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.

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 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 or at (484)278-4589 and view his company website at

© Dan Citrenbaum 2019