Women Over 50: Consider Starting A Business To Jump Start Your Career

How often have you heard that women over 50 are getting left behind in the job market? Whether it’s women who were laid-off mid-career from high-paying corporate jobs during the recession or women who took some years away from the workforce to raise their children — many report finding it almost impossible to land a job. Turns out, it’s not their imagination. Women over 50 have been disproportionately left behind by today’s economy, according to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In a study that compared two-year periods before and after the Great Recession, a far greater percentage of women after the recession had joined the ranks of the long-term unemployed. Whereas in 2006-7, women over 50 accounted for less than a quarter of the long-term unemployed, by 2012-13, they had risen to half the long-term unemployed. Of course, in that same period, the long-term unemployed rose among all age groups. It’s just that women over 50 were disproportionately affected. Many of these women, highlighted in a recent New York Times article are highly skilled, from experienced attorneys to PhD holders. At least one has been told by employers that they’re looking for someone younger. So what is a highly experienced, talented person still in the prime of life to do with all she still has to contribute to society? How about embarking on a new business to call your own. Opportunities abound to make money and explore one’s interests, but one way you may not have considered is in the growing franchise industry, where you can find a business to suit your interests from thousands of franchise companies. By the middle of 2015, franchising grew faster than the rest of the economy for the fifth year in a row, according to a forecast by the International Franchise Association Educational Foundation. Certainly, franchising is a lot more than car dealerships and fast food restaurants. You can find good opportunities in business or personal services. And even if you have no direct experience in the industry, the beauty of franchising is that the operation comes with a support team and training to help you succeed. The best thing of all about starting your own business is that the fruits of your labor go directly to your own pocketbook. No more working your tail off for an employer who, unbeknownst to you or unrelated to your own productivity and success, has decided to cut your department. To make the best match to capitalize on your skills and experience, consider consulting a franchise coach or two who can help you narrow down your options and show you opportunities in fields where new businesses are flourishing.

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.  

Choose A Franchise And You’ll Get A Whole Team Rooting For You

What do you think is the No. 1 goal of franchise companies? Like any company, to make as much money as possible, but they need good franchisees to accomplish this goal. This is why buying into an effective franchise system can be such a win-win proposition.

The new franchisee gets to recharge his or her career, while the franchise company works to attract highly qualified, talented professionals to its ranks. The simple fact is the better franchisees perform, the more money everyone makes. The advantage of franchise ownership is you get a time-tested system. How well franchisees learn and execute the system is critical to their success. As a result, franchisors place a high priority on selecting new franchisees wisely and getting them up to speed as quickly as possible with training and support. ARCpoint Labs, for one, considers the selection process, of utmost importance. “We’re very selective when we grant a license to franchisees,” said Randy Loeb, vice president of franchise development for ARCpoint Labs, a Greenville-S.C.-based company which offers drug, alcohol, DNA and forensic and wellness programming. Besides relying on franchise consultants or coaches to bring them well-qualified candidates, ARCpoint uses a written test developed by Franchise Navigator to vet prospective franchisees for the right “entrepreneurial skill sets,” Loeb said, including, leadership, time management and consultative sales ability. When a franchise inquiry comes in, “we give each candidate an electronic brochure and walk them through the business model,” Loeb said, adding that within seven to ten days they will complete the Franchise Navigator assessment. “If the prospective franchisee doesn’t meet ARCpoint’s qualifications, I suggest they look at another franchise that may be a better fit for them,” Loeb said. “ARCpoint is probably one of the most sophisticated business models in franchising today,” he said. Consequently, they want people who can excel with their business model. “We’re looking for quality folks who will effectively represent the brand,” he added. ARCpoint currently has nearly 100 franchises open, and 100 more territories sold, and scheduled to open in the next few years. After the franchise candidate makes the decision to join ARCpoint, Loeb said, it’s all about the training. ARCpoint takes one and a half years to fully train franchisees, using easily digestible modules. “We spoon feed them,” Loeb said, which allows franchisees to learn one subject matter before moving onto the next training module. In addition, the company hosts several monthly webinars to give franchisees updates, improve their skills and stay current with testing rules and regulations. The company keeps a close eye on new franchisees to help them succeed. “We have a very detailed rollout,” he said. “We automatically know early if something is wrong so appropriate changes can be made to help franchisees succeed.” Following the franchise system is a critical component to their success. “We’re birddogging franchise owners all the time to make sure they’re following the system,” Loeb said. “Franchisees succeed because our system works.”

Can You Jumpstart Your Career With A Business Of Your Own? Take The 6-Point Quiz!

Running your own business has a magnetic allure. What’s not to like? With a business of your own, you never have to polish and send out a resume again, and you get complete control over your life. Of course, your living rests entirely on your shoulders. If you have little or no experience in business, the odds against you can seem overwhelming. So, all too often, folks dutifully stick with the safe 9-to-5. Related: 6 Things To Ask Yourself Before Starting A Business But you don’t need experience in the business of your choice if you start with a franchise because their experts will train you and show you how to run a business that has a proven track record. If you hit a few roadblocks, their support team is with you all the way. After all, the franchise company won’t succeed unless their franchisees do. When you start your own business with a franchise you get all the know-how you need. The most important part of the whole process is selecting a franchise whose way of doing business matches your interests, skills and experience. Here is where a franchise coach can come in handy, since they have knowledge and experience in the industry, as well as a list of businesses that have worked well for their clients in the past.

So how do you know if you’re a good candidate for a franchise? Take the quiz!

1. Are you willing to do your research?

You will need to thoroughly research any franchise you purchase. This requires you read the Franchise Disclosure Document, which all franchisees are required by law to provide to potential franchisees, and talk to as many people associated with the franchise as possible, from its executives to its franchisees. Not only do you want a franchise with a good track record, but you want to make sure it’s a system that suits you.

2. Do you have enough capital?

Starting a business with a franchise offers you the great advantage of knowing upfront all your capital needs. Don’t forget to factor in what you will need to pay your cost of living until your business reaches profitability.

3. Are you determined to work hard to get your business up and running?

The start-up phase can be challenging as you learn the new business and your market. Can you stick with a problem and work through it until it’s solved? With all the support and expertise available through the franchise, you can be sure you’ll get all the help you need, but you have to be willing to put your shoulder to the wheel.

4. Can you call for assistance when needed?

While a franchise offers an experienced support staff to help you, it only works if you’re willing to ask for help when you need it.

5. Can you accept paying regular franchise royalties and other fees?

These fees are the price you pay for getting a proven system and support staff, as well as an advertising/marketing campaign, to help you become successful. If you might resent paying for this help down the road, a franchise isn’t for you.

6. Are you willing to trust the system to work?

The franchise system, perfected over many years, is the way this business is designed to operate. You have to follow the system to maximize your success. If any part of the system doesn’t suit you, don’t buy the franchise. If your answer is no for two or more questions, a franchise may not be the best choice. But if you’re ready, there’s no cost to begin investigating, and you may find the business of your dreams just a click away.

Why Dreamers Need A Healthy Dose Of Realism When It Comes To Starting A Business

The quality most desirable for starting a business? Realistic expectations. Of course, you need plenty of skills, experience and support, not to mention energy, initiative and a strong work ethic, but you should also understand exactly what is necessary to succeed. Not only do you need a realistic perspective about what you can achieve and how quickly, you need a realistic assessment of your own attributes, your strengths and your weaknesses. If you realistically prepare for a ramp-up that could take up to a year or longer, you can sufficiently capitalize your business, while also covering your cost of living. Of course, with an independent startup, it is not possible to know exactly what you may face down the road as you tinker with your concept and deal with unexpected costs. This is where the advantage of a franchise can be most helpful, especially if you don’t have much experience with a particular business. A franchise comes with a complete breakdown of costs, so you know exactly what you’ll be getting into. If you can’t afford it, you don’t do it. As most everyone knows, one of the biggest causes of failure for new independent businesses is undercapitalization. With a franchise, you know all the costs before you invest a dime, plus you have a back office team behind you. Some franchise companies will help you assess your skills and experience to see if they’re a good fit with their business model, but others will be happy to bring you into the fold if you have the franchise fee and seem willing to learn their system. A franchise coach can help you assess both your skills and direct you to a list of select franchises with a good track record of success for people with your skill set. Ultimately, the responsibility is yours for vetting the business, as well as yourself. So it’s absolutely critical you figure out what types of activities as a business owner you are willing and capable of executing. Certainly, with a franchise, you can get into a business with which you have little or no experience. This is part of the attraction. But franchisees have to be comfortable working the franchise system as it’s been designed. So, for example, if you don’t like managing employees or can’t stand selling, you need to stay away from businesses that require these skills. Still, it’s not uncommon for people to become so excited about a particular business concept, they gloss over the work of the owner or fool themselves into thinking they can perform tasks that aren’t actually within their wheelhouse. A good franchise coach can help the budding entrepreneur put his or her feet back on the ground and find a business that matches his or her skills and interests.

Make The Right Choice Part II: Choose A Quality Franchise!

Once you’ve decided you want to start a business of your own with a franchise, the question becomes: How do I choose the best franchise for me? Related: Everything You Need To Know To Succeed In Business Your investigation of the wide world of franchising, in which a variety of businesses offer various levels of brand identity, support, and training, is the most important part of your purchase. Only with real knowledge can you get beyond the superficial and learn about enterprises that offer the best opportunities to suit your own particular set of skills and interests. The fact is not all franchises are created equal, and some have far better training and support services that can make the difference between success and failure. To ensure you make the most educated selection, your evaluation of the quality of the franchises that most interest you is paramount. (See Part I on Making the Right Choice)

5 Steps To Selecting A Quality Franchise

1. Consult a franchise coach.

You can benefit from the expertise of these professionals who have vetted thousands of franchises, eliminating those that are not first-tier, so they can recommend franchises with the greatest chances for success. While you should conduct your own research as well, you should use every resource available to you, and a good franchise coach can save you a lot of time and headaches later on. Best of all, this resource is free.

2. Conduct a review of franchise types.

You will find a list of the 75 industries represented in the huge world of franchising at the International Franchise Association website at www.franchise.org. Keep your mind open as you review various franchise types that include tutoring centers, an array of B2B services, fitness centers, storage facilities, as well as the most well-known restaurants and more. You will find opportunities that allow you to work largely on your own, part time or build a multi-franchise operation.

3. Read the Franchise Disclosure Document.

All franchises are required by federal law to disclose certain aspects of their businesses. These documents, written in everyday English, can be obtained from the franchises that most interest you. You should zero in on some key nuggets:

  • The business history — How long has the franchise been in operation?
  • Litigation history — A record of lawsuits would be a red flag.
  • Any earnings claims? — though this is an optional item
  • Financial statements of the franchisor – Are they solvent?
  • A full accounting of your costs, including outlays necessary to set up the business
  • A list of franchisees.

4. Interview franchisees.

Once you have the list from the FDD, you should start calling franchisees. You can learn from no better source how good the franchisor’s system works. Is their support and training excellent, merely sufficient or inadequate. Would they purchase the franchise again? You should also make a point to talk to franchisees who have not been successful. Find out what went wrong. Remember, sometimes people choose franchises that don’t suit their expertise, interests or personality, and this can cause failure as much as problems stemming from the franchisor.

5. Talk to and meet representatives from the franchisor.

As part of your preparation, you will talk to representatives from the franchise. If you’ve moved farther along the process, franchisors will provide written materials to help educate you about their system, as well as one-on-one meetings with executives, either on the phone or in person. This process culminates in Franchise Discovery Day, where you visit a franchise, meet the support staff and make your final decision on whether this franchise is for you. All along the way, you will have ample opportunity to reassess and decide that this franchise isn’t for you, either because you don’t connect to the business or its executives. This in-depth process ideally will lead you to the business of your dreams. But before you sign on any dotted line, you should also consult a franchise attorney and accountant. While a franchise offers many great benefits, you have to make the right match to make it work for you. Check out Part I:Ready For A Franchise? Maximize Your Success By Making The Right Choice!

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) 278-5489.  

Ready For A Franchise? Maximize Your Success By Making The Right Choice!

You’ve made the decision to buy a franchise. The key question then becomes which one of the 3,000 franchises in the marketplace is right for you. The choice will make all the difference on whether your new business limps along or flourishes. You can maximize your chance for success by using two critical criteria.

  • Determine whether the role of the owner in the business suits your particular strengths and
  • Assess the quality of the franchise.

The beginning of your process will consist of exploring franchise types (there are more than you think), assessing your own strengths, and developing a list of possible options to investigate further. One of the key things you need to find out is what exactly are the owner’s job responsibilities for each franchise.

The Role Of The Franchise Owner

What the owner does may be drastically different from what you may think. For example, maybe you’ve been thinking how you might like to open a little bakery or a little cafe because you love to bake and would love to have all your friends drop by for socializing and tea. But once you look more closely at what the owner of such a franchise does, you’ll find the owner is mainly responsible for managing employees and marketing, focusing on building a customer base to grow revenue. Generally, the number one goal of the owner is to build the business, which allows you to earn a good income, have happy, productive employees and an ever-expanding customer base. On the flip side, you may find yourself veering away from types of businesses that at first sound unappealing, such as cleaning services — since you don’t want to spend your days scrubbing and polishing — but the owners of firms like this should not be doing the cleaning work. Your job is to hire good, reliable employees and create a solid customer base for repeat business. Franchise companies will tell you upfront what the role of the owner is in the franchise. And you can further assess this by interviewing franchisees, both successful and unsuccessful ones, to learn about what their day-to-day responsibilities are. Bottom line: Don’t make your choice based on preconceived notions about the business.

Match the role of the owner with your skills and experience.

So now that you know the owner’s job profile, the question becomes, does this suit you? You want to create a realistic appraisal of your skills and experience so you get into a business where you can enjoy your work and apply your talent and skills for long-term success. Do a quick inventory of your skills and take into account your interests, since when you make a choice to build a business of your own, you want to like going to work! Are you proficient in and do you like:

  • Selling, which always includes selling yourself, as well as your products or services?
  • Managing people? Do you think you could learn how to do it?
  • Working with people or do you prefer working on your own?
  • Marketing, which might include advertising as well as making presentations?
  • Getting into the details or do you prefer to delegate?
  • Networking — creating links with people who can help you grow your business?

Once you get a handle on what types of activities you excel in and enjoy, you will have the information you need to make a good match with a franchise. Your research will tell you which franchises require which areas of expertise from the owner. Remember one of the attributes of a good franchise is its training and ongoing support. So even if you’re not sure you know how to do something, if you have a feeling you could learn — and you might want to ask friends for their views — you might still go ahead. And, of course, you won’t be buying a franchise that you haven’t fully vetted for quality. Stay tuned for Part II on making the right choice.

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) 278-5489.