A formula for success? Find a franchise to fit your life.

Everyone wants it, admires it, strives for it, but what exactly defines success depends on who you ask. So when you want to start your own business, first you have to decide what you mean by success.

Not only are there different kinds of success — think Wall Street Banker with a seven-figure income or principal of a highly regarded high school — there are also different levels of success, such as entry into the college of your choice, achieving a happy marriage while having work you enjoy or completing a marathon. Each can be as satisfying and validating as the next.

The definition of success, like beauty, really is in the eye of the beholder.

When it comes to your career, some people care most about maximizing their income and enjoy working long hours in a job they love. Other folks prefer a niche that allows a healthy work-life balance: time for family, hobbies, play and work, in no particular order.

The hardest part of all may be deciding what works for you because if you start down a path but take no satisfaction from your promotions or fattening paycheck and only daydream about hobbies left unexplored, you won’t feel successful.

When you seize an opportunity to start your own business and take charge of your career, you have the ability to carve out the perfect future for yourself.

In the wide world of franchising, with some 1,000 different franchises across 75 industries, you can find a franchise for every lifestyle choice, from those that require only part-time work to others where you might aspire to one day own multiple units and build a mini empire.

So before you get into the nitty gritty of starting your own business, answer for yourself what you mean by success. Then consult a franchise coach who can help you choose a franchise to suit your life.

Consider the various ways people define success then rank them in order of importance for you.

Is success:

  • Getting rich?
  • Enough money to buy a house?
  • Having a job that you love?
  • Having a family?
  • The ability to send your children to college?
  • Having the time to give back to your community, whether that means volunteering at your local food pantry or serving on the PTA?
  • Having a spiritual life, full of exploration and learning?
  • Combining the goals of your life and your career, which may mean working in health care or education?
  • Making a contribution to a goal larger than yourself, such as making the world a better place?
  • Feeling self-worth?
  • Being happy?The list represents a continuum, from goals most associated with money to those completely disconnected from income. Which end are you on? So think about what you want from your life, then I can offer multiple ideas for franchises that allow you to have a career that gives you the life you desire.

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

Want to Start a Business? Get Past the Fear!

Want to Start a Business? Get Past the Fear!

By Dan Citrenbaum

You know the line about luck happening when opportunity meets preparation. Turns out that bit of wisdom goes all the way back to the ancient Romans, to Seneca, the philosopher and statesman.

Seneca said lots of wise things, but, nowadays, luck too often becomes a handy explanation for why others succeed. You chalk it up to luck and go on wondering why you can’t be lucky, too, but the only thing lucky about success is the realization that it requires a great deal of preparation and hard work.

So when it comes to feeling fear about putting yourself and your money on the line in a new business, remember, the more you know, the better prepared you are and the more you can reduce your risk.

That’s the beauty of a great franchise system — you can find out everything you need to know before you put a dime of your money on the line. You can learn how much money you will need and how long it might take before you start earning a profit — so you can be sufficiently capitalized for the long run.

To make a good selection requires excellent preparation, from reading background materials to conducting interviews. You also want to consult with the experts: an accountant, franchise attorney and a franchise coach.

Your preparation should include:

Reading the Franchise Disclosure Document

The Federal Trade Commission requires every franchisor to disclose a list of 23 items to potential franchisees, and the document must be written in plain language. You will find a panoply of information from litigation history, how much your initial outlay will be and the type of training and support that will be provided.

Interviewing franchisees

Franchisees, having been in your shoes, have every incentive to tell it to you straight. Would they purchase this franchise again? Are they making money? Have the training, support and franchise system been everything they hoped for?

Meeting with executives of the franchisor

You will meet and speak with multiple executives from those franchises under serious consideration. Assess their competence, their accessibility and the quality of their team. Do you like them? Would you be comfortable working with them over the long term?

When youre done, you should know:

  • How established is the franchise system?
  • How good is the franchisor’s support and training?
  • What will your total financial outlay be?
  • What exactly is involved with the franchise system; Can you comfortably follow it?
  • What restrictions and/or rules does the franchisor impose?
  • Are most franchisees making a good living and pleased with the franchise?The process may take a few months, but only by doing your research can you create the conditions to make the perfect match to a franchise that works for you. Your research helps you create an opportunity for 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 dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484)278-4589.

© Dan Citrenbaum 2015

The Fine Print on Franchises: What You Need to Know Before Signing on the Dotted Line

The Fine Print on Franchises: What you need to know before signing on the dotted line.

Franchises offer entrepreneurs many benefits, including marketing tools and expertise, lots of back room support, and training to help new business owners succeed.

The road to the right franchise, however, may present some rough terrain to cross, which is why preparation is so critical. Every potential new franchisee needs to take the time to read the fine print before signing any contracts.

The good news is that Federal Trade Commission regulations provide a good safety net, which goes a long way toward helping potential new franchisees avoid getting a raw deal. A franchise coach can help you through the nitty-gritty of this process.

You will want to get a copy of the franchise disclosure document, which franchisors are required by law to provide you at least 14 days before you sign a contract or pay any money. You can ask for the document in any format convenient for you.

Before signing any contracts, we recommend you consult a franchise attorney who has the expertise to help you review what can be a long and complex agreement. In the meantime, as you begin your preliminary research, here’s what you should look for:

Franchisor’s Background

You want to know how long the franchisor has been in business. What’s the competition like? Pay close attention to the general business backgrounds of the company executives and how long they’ve been with the company and in the industry.

Litigation history

Has the franchisor been involved in any litigation with their franchisees? Have any of its executives been convicted of fraud or other violations of franchise law? Have franchisees filed law suits against the franchisor? These would all be red flags to further investigate if not disqualify this franchisor from your search.

Initial and Ongoing Costs

This is critical information since you never want to find yourself short on funds or surprised by costs you should have known about. Examples of costs franchisees face are: advertising, business promotions, operating licenses, inventory, royalty payments, cost to purchase equipment, and insurance, among others.

Only by estimating your costs can you realistically evaluate franchise operations to see if you have the capital to succeed in this business.

Restrictions

Franchisors may restrict from whom you order supplies, what you may offer for sale and where you can sell. Each franchisor will have different ways of determining a territory, which is meant to protect current franchisees but may not be satisfactory to you. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts has restrictions limiting some franchisees from also offering 31 Flavors ice cream.

Training

While franchisors offer training, you need to know who is eligible for training and who pays. Are new employees eligible? Are support staff available for ongoing support? Again, make sure you know all the costs.

Advertising

Franchises often are asked to contribute a portion of their earnings for advertising. Get the details on what the franchisor requires. What percentage of the advertising budget is spent in your area? Will local advertising amount to extra out-of-pocket costs?

Current and Former Franchises

Plan on talking to as many current franchisees as possible. Ask them what you will need to do to succeed. Also talk to former franchisees to learn what went wrong for them. Make sure you ask financial questions, such as their total investment, and how long it took them to recover their initial investment. What are their earnings? Franchisees’ income might vary quite a bit, depending on geographic area, the skill and commitment of the owner, and other factors.

Financial History

You want to make sure the franchise company is financially stable since you certainly don’t want the company to go out of business just after you invested your money. You also want to ensure the franchisor has sufficient money to supporting its franchise system. You will have access to the financial statements of the franchise company, so review them – or better still, have an accountant review them for you.

For more information, check out the FTC’s website, which has published a consumer guide to buying a franchise at http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/inv05-buying-franchise-consumer-guide

 

 

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 06/2015

 

Are You Cut Out for a Franchise? Take the Quiz!

Are You Cut Out for a Franchise? Take the Quiz!

Buying a franchise is one of the quickest, safest ways to start your own business, but a franchise is not for everyone, particularly if you’re the type of person who likes to blaze your own trail.

For starters, to be successful with a franchise — that is to maximize your potential earnings — you must be prepared to follow the franchisor’s system, the time-tested method the company has for virtually every aspect of its operations, including staffing protocols, an advertising campaign and store build-out plans.

After working with dozens of franchisees over the years, I still see new franchisees decide they can cut corners, for example, by declining to hire enough people to cover the day-to-day responsibilities of meeting the needs of customers.

The owner may decide to save money by doing some of the work himself, for example, cleaning houses or caring for seniors. As a result the owner has less time to build the business, creating a steady and growing clientele to generate earnings. While that owner may save some upfront costs, he or she loses long-term earnings potential.

So how do you know if you are a good candidate for a franchise? Answer eight easy questions:

  1. Are you prepared to thoroughly research the business?

Selecting a franchise may be your first most important step, and the process requires solid research, from reading background materials to putting shoe leather to pavement and visiting franchisees.

  1. Are you prepared to work hard?
  2. Just because the business comes with a system doesn’t mean you won’t have a learning curve. Of course, once you have good employees in place and operations running smoothly, many franchise operations will allow you to take an afternoon for golf or to attend a child’s track meet. Many franchisees set a realistic goal to work 30 to 35 hours per week within three to five years of starting their business.
  1. Can you call for assistance when needed?
  2. A good franchisor wants to help you through the start-up phase, so to take full advantage of what you’re paying for, you need to be willing to ask for guidance. A good franchisor will likely offer many good suggestions, possibly a long to-do list that will require time to implement.
  1. Do you have enough capital to set up the business to operate as designed?
  2. Before you buy the franchise, your research should have told you how long it will take to operate in the black, and the Franchise Disclosure Document will tell you your upfront expenses. Getting to profitability varies by location and franchisee. You will need to be work hard and pay operating expenses for some time before earnings begin.
  1. Can you accept paying the franchisor royalties and other specified fees?
  2. These fees are the price you pay for a proven operating system, built-in research and development, a fully vetted list of suppliers, as well as an advertising campaign and ongoing support and training.
  1. Will you accept structure in your business?
  2. If you would rather create your own approach to a unique business that reflects your particular vision for a product line or service, you don’t want a franchise.
  1. Can you accept advice from authority?
  2. When you buy into a franchise system, you are part of a team, and the franchisor needs each of its franchisees to present a consistent image to the buying public. No reinventing the system.
  1. And, most importantly, can you trust the system to work? Ideally, you will answer yes to each of these questions. If you answered no to more than two, then you might want to consider an independent business. I also suggest you consult a franchise coach, who is in the business to help you make the best decision to ensure success. Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true?
  2. If the answer is no, then don’t buy the franchise.

 

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 05/2015

 

Sick and Tired of Your Job? Try Our Entrepreneur’s Checklist

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.

Marketing

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 you’ve always wanted. 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 04/2015