Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
It’s not hard to tell when an employee is ready for a job change. When I see people who are so bored with their jobs that they’re just going through the motions or so unhappy that they start complaining, making negative comments and getting snippy with everyone, I know it’s time for them to go.
If that sounds like you, but you don’t want to land in another version of the same unfulfilling situation, it could be time to promote yourself from employee to boss as the owner of your own business — and franchising may be the perfect choice for someone with drive and ambition but not necessarily the experience of entrepreneurship.
At United Franchise Group (UFG), we have about 1,600 franchisees in almost 60 countries, and most of them have transitioned from another career; many can do so without having worked in the industry they’re investing in.
So, here are five reasons to make your next career a franchise:
1. You know it works
It’s a fresh start in a proven business model, with an attractive balance of risk and reward. When you purchase a franchise, you get a company whose products and processes have been tested and perfected in the real world, with real customers and employees. Plus, you get the priceless strength of representing an already established brand that’s recognized and trusted.
2. You get invaluable training and support
Unlike starting an independent business from scratch, joining a franchise gives you training, set-up assistance and support, including shared resources like cooperative advertising and mass purchasing. At UFG, we also provide help finding a location, negotiating a lease, building out a floor plan and many other tasks, with ongoing support as long as the franchisee is with us. We even have a mentor program in place that fosters a relationship between experienced, successful business owners and new owners. We believe an established mentoring program is one of the most valuable things a company can do.
Thanks to programs like these, you can open your business with a high comfort level, so you’re free to focus on building and growing your business rather than working on so many tasks that it takes time away from growth.
3. There’s a franchise to fit almost anyone
Companies in almost every industry are available as franchises, and you’re likely to find one that suits your personality, skills and goals.
In my experience, all personalities work in franchising except the “know-it-all” who refuses to follow established procedures (and their maverick style doesn’t work in many companies, franchise or not). Following the system is necessary, so if your ego won’t allow you to learn from others, a franchise is not right for you.
4. No experience is necessary
At our franchise brands, our training and support systems mean you don’t have to come from the industry you’re investing in. Sometimes, lack of experience can be a benefit; you’re not bringing old habits that might go against your franchisor’s procedures.
You really need to like the business, however, and especially what that business can do for (or to) your lifestyle. I also suggest that you choose a business you like or have some affinity for. If you can’t tell a monkey wrench from monkey bread, an auto repair franchise is probably not for you. Look for a company where you can utilize your strengths in sales, marketing, communications or technology.
Before making a final decision, research the industry. Meet the franchisor and the team to get a gut feeling about it all, and then visit other owners. Visit their competitors, too, and speak to professionals in the business before making a final decision.
5. Franchisees still have control
While corporate leadership does dictate that certain procedures be followed, the franchisee still has a lot of freedom and flexibility in managing their business. Every team should include management, marketing, sales, production and technology, but the way those teams are utilized is up to the franchisee. At UFG, we get our best ideas from our franchisees, so it’s critical to give them the freedom to make decisions while balancing them with our successful systems.
All businesses ramp up differently depending on sales and expenses, but the typical time frame is six to eighteen months. That first year or so is always the toughest for any kind of business, as you are learning a new industry, hiring all new staff and finding your way. A franchise has many of the same challenges, but with resources to make the experience a little less overwhelming. As owner, you have a manual to refer back to at any time, and you can always rely on corporate leaders and fellow franchisees to have your back.
Franchising gives you all the benefits of big business with the freedom of being a local owner. If you’re considering taking a leap from your current job, you can count on a safety net to help you make a softer landing.