Are you eager to start a small business but worry you may lack adequate resources or experience to get your entrepreneurial dream off the ground? In that case, a franchise may be one option to explore. Franchises have allowed many entrepreneurs to launch and build successful businesses.
According to the International Franchising Association, the U.S. has more than 900,000 franchising businesses in more than 90 categories.
Those franchised businesses generate over $2 billion in economic output each year.
A key advantage of a franchise is the franchisor does much of the up-front work, providing franchisees with services such as site selection, training, product supply, marketing and advertising support, and in some cases, even financing.
As a franchisee, you'll be provided with a business model that has worked effectively in other markets.
A good source for more information on franchise opportunities is FranNet, the nation's leading franchise consulting organization.
Because franchisors have a vested interest in your success, they often help support their franchisees when times get tough.
The beauty of a franchise is you get the experience and support of people who have successfully managed the same business in different market and economic conditions.
If you decide to pursue a franchise rather than a traditional new start up, it's still important to do your research, due diligence, and create a business plan as a prospective franchise owner.
That includes fully understanding the disclosure documents and franchise agreement — which include specifics about purchase price as well as any other fees or requirements.
Those requirements may include sales quotas, marketing standards, and mandated sources for equipment, supplies and inventory, and conditions for terminating the agreement.
It's also helpful to interview some current and past franchise owners to gauge their level of satisfaction with the franchise company.
Plan for the long-term and partner with a franchise organization that has the same perspective.
Select a franchise category that interests you, is likely to be successful in your market, and has a good track record of growth and earnings at the franchisee level.
For more information and ideas about starting or growing your small business, contact Traverse City SCORE at (231) 947-5075 or toll-free at 888-796-4913. Visit www.UpNorthScore.com to schedule a free and confidential appointment with a SCORE mentor.
Chuck Downey is a volunteer SCORE mentor and Director of Strategic Planning for Keen Technical Solutions, a company specializing in energy efficiency and conservation solutions for the commercial and industrial sectors.