The Entrepreneur’s Checklist: 7 Things You Need To Start A Business

If you’re one of the 90% 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. Maybe you should become your own boss and start a business. Only 30% 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 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: 7 Things You Need To Start A Business

Here’s the entrepreneur’s checklist. In order to start a business successfully, you will need the following:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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!

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 business 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. 

Worried About Starting Your Own Business? Try A Franchise

Tired of having little control over your work life? You may be ready to take the leap and become your own boss. Before you balk, owning your own business isn’t as risky as it sounds. In fact, if you look before you leap, the potential upside should outweigh the risk. Related: Are You Crazy To Start A Business In This Economy? For one thing, you don’t have to start from scratch. You can find a tried and true method for starting your own business that comes with all the systems in place, from a marketing strategy to IT. All you have to do is choose a franchise that stands up to high-level scrutiny and meets your own business and personal criteria. And you can forever slip off the constraints of punching someone else’s time clock. The franchise business is a far cry from your father’s idea of franchising —which grew quickly along with interstate highway system in the 1950s and 1960s and primarily comprised fast food joints and hotels, notably McDonald’s and Holiday Inn. Today, the franchise business is a far bigger pie than you probably realize. Franchises operate within 75 industries and encompass far more than fast food. In fact, whatever business you started in most likely has applications in some type of franchise business. A franchise coach can help you choose from a wide array of opportunities in businesses as diverse as direct mail, maid services and senior care services. These and similar service businesses are expected to lead the growth in franchising over the next year, according to the International Franchise Association. The key to recharging your career in a franchise is to answer the question: Which franchise is right for me? First, you’ll want to assess your skills and experience, along with your interests. What do you want to spend your days doing? Or maybe you want something where you can work less than full time. All is possible in the world of franchising. How do you know it’s a good franchise? You just get the Federal Trade Commission required disclosure document from the franchisor, read it, and start calling franchisees. They’ll tell you. The more thorough your research, the better off you’ll be. Before you spend a dime on your new business, you can learn about the franchise company’s:

  • Support services
  • Training
  • All upfront and ongoing costs
  • Number, location and success rate of franchisees
  • Financial condition, bankruptcy and litigation history, as well as the executives’backgrounds
  • And, most importantly, firsthand testimonials from franchisees on how all this actually works

As you gain skills as a business owner, your long-range earnings potential exceeds what you will likely earn as a cog in the wheel of corporate America. Most people realize that when you work for corporate America you probably make a lot more money for your employer than you make for yourself. When you own a successful business, you can keep both of those types of profit for yourself. When you work for yourself, your risk can actually decline over time because your employees are better trained, your suppliers are more willing to give you special terms and your customer base is more established. Best of all, you control your own destiny. Certainly, franchising isn’t for everyone. If you’re the type of person who wants to make a unique impression in the market and you don’t wish to follow someone else’s system, then do not buy a franchise. You may instead want to consider buying an existing business or starting your own. But if you can follow a simple set of guidelines, you might be able to find wealth, liquidity, and success through a franchise.

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 2022

Wondering when the profits will start rolling in? Find out before you invest in a new franchise!

So you’ve selected a franchise and have your initial investment capital saved and now you want to know: How much money will I make?

To answer the question you’ll need to weigh your costs against expected potential revenues.

Money

The beauty of a franchise is you actually have a good shot at figuring all these numbers out. Between the financial disclosure document (FDD) and information available from existing franchisees, you can get a good feel for expenses, as well as potential revenues, so long as you factor in differences related to location, local market and, not to be forgotten, the range of talents and experience individual franchisees bring to their businesses.

Why is it so important to do this math upfront? In a phrase, operating capital.

Lots of folks eager to become entrepreneurs for all the usual reasons —to control your own schedule, achieve work-life balance, be your own boss, and make more money —may neglect to factor in all the capital requirements.

At the beginning of a new business comes the transitional stage. This means you need money to run your business until you learn your way around a new market, new procedures and customer care. During this transition, you won’t generate enough revenue to cover expenses. So it’s essential you have enough capital to keep the circuits humming.

Your first task is to get a realistic sense of how much capital you need to get started. Fortunately, the FDD will provide this view of your costs. Some companies will even provide an idea of potential earnings. A franchise coach can help guide you through the process, but it’s never too early to start your research.

Three Keys to Understanding Your Potential Earnings

Know your Timetable

Most businesses take three to 12 months to start earning profits. The slowest to become profitable are franchises with a lot of costs or ones that take longer to build a customer base. And if the margins are thinner, you need to generate more volume. For example, a document shredding franchise, which requires expensive equipment, may take as long as 18 months to run in the black but can eventually become quite lucrative. Retail franchises can be among the quickest to turn a profit because a good location will quickly draw customers.

Accurately Estimate Your Fixed Costs

The franchise disclosure document provides a list of all your costs —everything you need to open —which are far more extensive than just the initial franchise fee. Examples of the types of fees you’ll find under Items 5 and 6 in the FDD are: IT and system setup and initial marketing. Then comes ongoing fees, such as local marketing additional training, ongoing IT or software costs, costs for audits, insurance, and on and on. In short, all of the costs you would expect to encounter.

In your calculations, you should also factor in the cost of consulting an attorney and accountant, which we strongly recommend.

Estimate Potential Income

Flip now to Item 19 of the FDD to read if the franchisor has made any earnings claims. Only about one-third of franchisors make earnings claims, and how franchise companies address this issue varies.

To fill out the picture, your most important information can be found in Item 20, where you’ll find a list of franchisees. You want to call as many franchisees as possible, preferably those operating in locations similar to yours, to verify all the information in the FDD and get an idea on profits. Word to the wise, avoid the question: How much money do you earn? Instead, try a softer approach, such as: “How long until I can expect to make $100,000.”Then try out different income amounts.

All three steps are essential to your preparation. Doing the due diligence required to choose the right franchise upfront will help you experience the pleasure of being your own boss for years to come.

This guest post is by Dan Citrenbaum, a Franchise Coach and Entrepreneurial Consultant who helps people achieve their dreams as small business owners.  He offers free evaluations to find out what option might be the best for you.  Find Dan at www.EntrepreneurOption.com.

Want To Buy A Franchise? Don’t Forget To Consult An Attorney!

Thinking about buying a new business or franchise? Then Caveat Emptor! The best way to protect yourself from stumbling into a bad deal is to carefully research your new business niche and consult a knowledgeable franchise attorney.  Buyer beware, often considered a consumer warning, applies just as strongly to those thinking of buying a business. In the world of franchising, federal law has established disclosure rules to help people make wise choices. Still, it pays to consult an attorney that specializes in franchising. Of course, any franchise coach or attorney will advise prospective franchisees first to read the franchise disclosure document (FDD), which the law requires be written in standard English, so it can easily be understood by the non-lawyer. You still need a lawyer who specializes in franchises to review the franchise agreement or contract to make sure your interests are protected. Since experienced franchise lawyers know firsthand where franchisees get into legal difficulty most often, they can help you avoid the pitfalls that may exist in some franchise agreements. Most of the items in the FDD are incorporated in the franchise agreement, but an attorney can help you review the first four items, which provide background on the business and its senior executives, most particularly whether they’ve been involved in previous litigation or bankruptcy. And while there are costs involved, you can find an attorney who will provide these services for a flat fee. You should consider it part of your cost of getting into your own business. “I get phone calls daily from people who did not consult an attorney upfront,” said Nancy Lanard, a Philadelphia attorney who specializes in franchise law and works with clients across the country. “It’s much harder at that point.”

Legal Checklist For Franchise Buyers

Before buying a franchise, be sure to review this checklist:

1. Review Franchise Agreement

Five or 10 years ago, most franchise agreements were completely non-negotiable, Lanard said, but now she negotiates non-material changes to most franchise agreements to protect the interests of the franchisee. Franchise companies are reluctant to negotiate any material changes for an individual franchisee because it would require them to revise their franchise disclosure document, an expensive proposition, she added. In her review of the contract, Lanard looks for issues that might create undue financial burdens on the franchisee, including how notice on default is handled and remedies applied.

2. Check Trademark Registration

Since the trademark is “the cornerstone of what they’re buying,” Lanard’s firm checks the trademark registration to make sure another firm isn’t operating under the same trademark in the designated territory — not an unknown occurrence.

3. Set Up A Legal Entity

Lanard strongly advises franchisees to set up a legal entity before signing any agreement with a franchise company to protect themselves from third party claims. Each location should be a separate entity, she added. Her firm charges a separate flat fee for this service.

4. Negotiate A Lease

“A lease can make or break a franchise,” Lanard said. Good franchisors should offer help finding a good location. They might have demographic studies and a great relationship with local brokers. They also can evaluate the lease from a business perspective, help negotiate good business terms, favorable rent, build-out costs, renewal terms, and so on. “Leases are highly negotiable,” Lanard said. A lawyer can protect the franchisee from onerous costs that landlords may try to impose, and a good lease can save a lot of money over the long term. A separate flat fee is charged for this service.

5. Protect Territory

Disputes over territory are “probably the No. 1 litigated area of franchising,” Lanard said. A good franchise attorney will make sure that the language in the agreement regarding territory affords the franchisee an actual separate, exclusive territory. A cautionary tale is a franchise that set territory based on zip code, which allowed franchisees to open across the street from one another — not a great way to stay in business.

6. Generally Good Advice

Likely topping this list will be for prospective franchisees to carefully study the fees and other costs — items five to seven in the FDD — required to set up a franchise. Take the most conservative approach since many businesses fail as a result of having insufficient capital to sustain the business until it can operate in the black. Good research cannot be over emphasized. Lanard tells a story of a woman who phoned, excited about purchasing the franchise of her dreams in the automotive sector, a franchise she had aspired to operating since she was a little girl. While she wanted Lanard to review the franchise documents for her, Lanard suggested she interview franchisees to see if they were satisfied with the franchisor’s support and training. When the woman called back, she reported that all the franchisees she spoke to were unhappy and wished they had never bought into the franchise company at all. Better to face this type of disappointment than the losses that can accrue as a result of signing a bad contract and trying to to fix it later. 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.

Want A Business With A Proven System? Shop For A Good Franchise

The attraction of a good franchise is its proven system for making money. You plunk down your money, and the franchisor shares the secrets of the trade: follow these procedures and you, too, can have a successful business and earn a good living.

The tricky part is finding a franchise whose system is truly proven. This is why buying into a new franchise can be risky since they may still be working the kinks out of the system. After all, the franchise company learns more about the business model from the process of expansion. By the time, they’ve got a dozen or more franchises that have been operating successfully for at least a few years, the franchise has a proven track record. But not before then. And because we would never recommend buying a franchise where you didn’t have the opportunity to interview plenty of existing franchisees, this process tends to eliminate those systems that haven’t yet passed the test of time.

3 Simple Questions To Help You Separate The Winners From The Losers

How long has the franchisor been in business?

There are actually two parts of this question. First, when did the franchisor first start the business? They may have operated for years as a single unit operation. Or they may have originally started off with the idea of franchising. How long have they been franchising? What is their franchisee success rate?

How many outlets are there?

If the operation is mainly centered in the region around their headquarters, and you’re in a different part of the country, you may not want to jump into this without a lot more investigation. Learn about their process of expansion. If most of the expansion has occurred in the past year, their system may not be fully tested.

Are there regional differences in the system?

A good franchise is always experimenting. They may find some products or services are more popular in some places than others. For example, McDonald’s sells the McRib sandwich more often in the South than up North. Do you see evidence of creative flexibility? Once you have a solid assessment of how well the franchisor’s system actually works, you can move forward with your next set of questions. First and foremost: Can you follow this system? Assess yourself honestly. Even though it works for others there may be a multitude of reasons why it may not work for you. If this is the case, walk the other way. If, on the other hand, you like the system and it is a proven money-maker, you also need to know if you think you can you work well with the franchisor’s support team. Whatever you do, as you go through your due diligence, don’t let wishful thinking and romantic visions of a particular business bias your thinking. In other words, don’t fall in love with a franchise before you learn everything there is to know about it.

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 business 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.

4 Proven Sectors For Starting A New Business

Some businesses arrive and depart about as quickly as sunrise and sunset — think cookies or cupcakes or donuts. Sort of like a one-trick pony, catering to a fleeting taste is far riskier than seeking to serve a market niche with enduring demand.  Sure the new cupcake confectionery might be jammed for the few months after opening, but after a while, people may start to crave cookies, banana bread or brioches and they’ll likely end up at the full-service bakery that supplies a treat for every mood. On the other hand, some things, like certain services, just never go out of style. Think about what you need on a regular basis, related to household maintenance and upkeep, educating your children or taking care of aging parents. So when you’re contemplating starting up a new business, always consider long-term viability, larger market forces and filling an ongoing market need. You can find plenty of choices in the service sector. Among the options are:

1. Health Care

Senior care is one of the fastest growing needs as the Baby Boomers age. You can also find opportunities with businesses to modify homes for seniors.

2. Temporary Staffing

Many businesses need employees to work flexible schedules on an as-needed basis. This is especially true in this era of extra-lean corporate staffs.

3. Cleaning Services

You can find great options for house cleaning or business janitorial services. Other ideas include carpet and upholstery cleaning services. In an economy where many businesses have outsourced these jobs, opportunities abound.

4. Business Services

In one of the fastest growing segments of the franchise industry, options include printing services, business coaching services or companies that offer document shredding. So contact a franchise coach, who can help you locate a business that best matches your skills and experience. Then when you take the leap, you’re making an educated decision based on strong fundamentals and solid research.

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 business 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.