Are you sick of the daily grind? Worn out from the boss asking when your next presentation will be ready, or tired of making the same old sales pitch? Sometimes, the commute alone can make you want to hang it up and never head back into the office. Unfortunately, dropping out of the workforce altogether isn’t practical. And frankly, ask anyone who has fallen victim to tough economic times and lost their job, and they will tell you that being unemployed can leave you with a very unsettling feeling that you have suddenly lost your life’s purpose.
So, what’s a person to do? Have you ever considered making the transition to starting a home-based business and being your own boss? If so, here are ten things you should consider before handing in that letter of resignation.
There are some great resources to help in your search for a home-based opportunity. Turn to reliable organizations like the International Franchise Association, the Canadian Franchise Association or publications like Entrepreneur magazine. They will not only educate you about the concept of franchising, they will be an unbiased way to learn about which companies you may want to investigate further.
2. To franchise or not to franchise
Buying a franchise is not like starting an independent business. With a franchise, you’re buying a support system and the rights to operate a business that has been designed by someone else. Someone who has developed an expertise in the business and who has, most likely, tackled and solved the problems that people generally encounter in the industry you are thinking of entering. You’re buying the security of a track record, a brand, and operating, reporting and management systems. With a franchise, you’re purchasing a head start in the industry and a foothold from which to begin your climb.
Franchising is growing at nearly 6% per year. Currently, there are over 1.5 million franchised outlets, accounting for approximately one-third of all U.S. retail sales. Statistics show that 80% of franchise owners succeed in their businesses. Compare that to the 60%-80% failure rate of new businesses overall each year in the U.S.
It’s important not to be misled, though. Even though a franchise can give you some advantages over starting a business yourself, it’s not going to guarantee you success. Each and every individual business – franchise or not – has one major difference: YOU. And with the statistics in your favor, franchising can be the method of owning a business that can allow you to succeed.
3. Talk with other franchisees
Any competent franchiser will happily provide you with a list of current franchisees for you to ask questions and learn more about the business. If they don’t, then run the other way! It’s that simple.
4. Do something you enjoy
What do you like to do? Garden? Travel? Fix things? Make sure whatever opportunity you research aligns with your passion. You might be surprised at the number of business opportunities that are really out there.
5. Ask how much training you’ll get
If franchising, your relationship with your new company should begin with some sort of training program. For example, a cruise travel franchise company offers a mandatory one-week training for its new home-based professionals. The training is conducted classroom style with other new franchisees. They learn about the cruise industry, with a primer course on major cruise lines and popular destinations, and then learn about the company’s various programs, including marketing support, technology, business development strategies and more. Franchisees are also invited to a week-long seminar on prospecting, marketing and selling cruises to large groups of people. During this advanced training session, franchisees develop their marketing plan and dive into the details of how to make their business successful. Thereafter, the franchise headquarters team works year-round to host seminars, conduct net-conferencing training, plan national meetings, and fulfill as many of the franchisees’ training needs as possible.
6. Know how much time you want to spend on it.
There are franchises available that allow you to work less than a 40-hour week. It just depends how much money you want to make. That is part of the beauty of working from home. If your personal life forces you to spend a little less time on it one week, you can always make up for it the next, but you won’t have your boss watching your time card! You may need a transition period, where you work on your new business on evening and weekends, and then eventually you can transition away from your old “day job.”
7. Consider the costs
There is a very simple way to find out how much your new business will cost, especially if it is a franchise. You can request a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), which franchisers are required to make public. They list all costs associated with the business, including the initial fee, monthly fees (if applicable), renewal fees and even other miscellaneous fees that might come up from time to time.
8. Go with a reliable company
The promise of an instant six-figure salary is attractive, but just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are many ways to judge a franchiser’s reliability: how long it has been in the business, how many franchisees it has, how successful their franchisees are, how happy their franchisees are, and more. That’s why it’s more important than ever to have those informational interviews with current franchisees. Also, what are the companies that the franchiser associates with? Do they work with reliable vendors, and so on?
9. Determine the opportunities for growth
Unfortunately, there is no real way to predict how much money you will make. But a good franchiser will provide a host of programs to increase the effectiveness of your business. Their corporate staff should be available to review your complete operations and provide programs designed to increase profits. You can also look at the industry as a whole and determine whether businesses related to that industry seem to be doing well or on the decline.
10. What is your real goal in working for yourself?
Do you want to make more money, have more fun, spend time on the road, never have to leave the house, create a business you can sell to someone else, the list goes on and on. Make a list of what your real goals and desires are. You may find that the list changes as you investigate the many opportunities out there.