Tag: funding options for a franchise

Employee vs. Franchise Ownership

Question about buying a franchise

Employee vs. Franchise Owner Facts and Stats

Not everyone is suited to own their own Franchise.  We have spoken to many people who are perfectly happy working for someone else.  Here are some Facts and Stats you may find interesting.

Employee- Facts & Stats

  1. Average American works >8.5 hours each day. This means more time spent working than:
  • Sleeping
  • Enjoying hobbies
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • A typical 40-year career which consists of working 50 weeks a year, 8.5 hour work days, will mean working 86,000 hours for the average Americans lifetime.
  1. The average American will spend over $600K in interest throughout their working life.
  2. Only 45% of Americans ARE satisfied with their jobs. This means that the majority (55%) of Americans are unsatisfied with their current job.
  3. 16% drop in job-satisfaction in just over 20 years
  • Unsatisfactory rates spring from disappointment in benefits, job stability, and growth
  1. 26% of Employees were dissatisfied with the outlook on potential future promotions (up from 19% in 2008)
  2. Less than 50% of employees were completely satisfied with their job security; with 30% of workers being worried about being laid off in the near future.
  3. Roughly 34% of employees were dissatisfied with the amount of on-the-job stress.
  4. There are currently more workers than jobs. This causes most workers to stay in these less-than-satisfactory conditions.
  5. As an employee, you are capped at contributing $16,500 pre-taxed into retirement fund annually; a business owner can contribute up to $50,000, pre-taxed.
  6. The average account balance in retirement plans according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute (or EBRI) study stated that participants in their 60’s had saved $144,004. Retirees should pull money from their 401k account at a withdrawal rate of 4%/year. When they allowing for an adjustment in inflation, this provides the average 401k holder in their 60’s an annual income of only $5,760, or $480 each month.
  7. The poverty level for 2011 was set at $15,130 (total yearly income) for a family of two or $1,261 a month.
  8. According to the 2010 Census Bureau, 79% of the population is a salary or private wage employee. Of that 79%, only 3.9% were earning more than $200K per year with the average working American sitting in the $50-$75K range.

Business Ownership and Franchise- Facts & Stats

  1. Two-thirds of all American millionaires are business owners.
  2. In a study by Scott Shane, a franchise scholar, the success rate of a franchise (62%) is nearly double that of an independent business (35%) after 4 years of operations.
  3. In 2011, franchise establishments employed nearly 8 million people with 735K units.
  4. “Active” Baby Boomers not quite ready or able to retire are turning to the $1.5 trillion segments of franchise businesses.
  5. As a business owner, you could be making the same amount in your business as in your last employment. However, you can keep more of your earnings with smart & legal tax deductions.
  6. As of 2009, entrepreneurial efforts in the U.S. were at a 14 year high, with 558,000 new businesses being started each month. It’s great for the economy and it’s an excellent opportunity for the business owner. Today, labor is abundant and less expensive, equipment and resources are discounted & real estate and rent is lower.
  7. Based on a study of an entrepreneur followed by the FBA in 2010, the initial investment, such as time, money, commitment, and frustration were all drastically reduced when investing in a franchise versus starting an independent business. The franchise business offers support, provides the opportunity to become passive and also has a considerably shorter learning curve (on average 9 months vs. 2.5 years).
  8. With a franchise, you often have sales assistance available.
  9. Upon purchasing a franchise you are provided an FDD, or Franchise Disclosure Document. This document includes all the background information of the franchise.
  • How many years it has been in business
  • Lawsuits and litigation history of the franchise and its executives
  • Initial and ongoing costs
  • Outlines what the franchisor offers to a franchisee
  • A list of current and former franchisees
  • The franchise financial statement and earnings information when it is available
  1. As a business owner purchasing a franchise you are provided with a complete system. You can be confident in your marketing plan, benchmarks, goals, and support that are required to make your business thrive.
  2. Thousands of franchises are available; some are brand new (under 1 year) and some have decades of industry experience.
  3. There are a plethora of options available with franchise systems. Some franchises allow you to operate out of your home; have or have no employees; have or have no inventory or be a passive owner.
  4. Banks are more likely to loan money to a successful franchise. They are willing to do this for a franchise compared to a start-up business because of a lower risk of repayment default.

The purchase of a franchise is a major decision. You should only make that decision after retaining and consulting with competent legal and business professionals.

www.ProfessionalFranchiseBrokers.com

Works Cited

Employee Facts and Stats

  1. Information can be found in The United States Department of Labor, The Bureau of Labor Statistics

Website

  1. http://www.bls.gov/tus/charts/chart1.pdf
  2. A fact mathematically taken from the chart found on The United States Department of Labor, The

Bureau of Labor Statistics website above.

  1. Sources are cited within the graphic from Credit Loan
  2. http://www.creditloan.com/infographics/a-lifetime-of-debt-the-financial-journey-of-theaverage-american/
  3. Information found on The NY Daily News website
  4. http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-01-06/news/17944097_1_job-satisfaction-conferenceboard-research-group-lynn-franco and
  5. http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/05/news/economy/job_satisfaction_report/
  6. Information found on CNN Money
  7. http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/05/news/economy/job_satisfaction_report/
  8. These statistics can be found within the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity Report
  9. http://www.kauffman.org/uploadedfiles/kiea_2010_report.pdf
  10. This information has been stated on gallup.com, under
  11. http://www.gallup.com/poll/102898/us-workers-remain-largely-satisfied-their-jobs.aspx
  12. This statistic can be found in the chart at http://www.gallup.com/poll/149324/workers-unhappy-healthbenefits-promotions.aspx
  13. This fact is cited in the first paragraphs on
  1. This information can be found in the fifth paragraph on http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p560.pdf
  2. Information about Retirement Savings and 401k’s http://www.mint.com/blog/planning/cheer-up-yourenot-as-far-behind-on-retirement-savings-as-you-think/
  3. The figures are the 2012 HHS poverty guidelines as of January 26, 2012. (Source: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/12poverty.shtml)Monthly percentage data calculated by FHCE and rounded to the nearest dollar.
  4. A Franchise Brokers Association Independent Study

Business and Franchise Facts and Stats

  1. Information can be found in The Entrepreneur Café, LLC website
  2. http://www.ecafellc.com/small-biz-stat/first-generation-entrepreneurs-make-forbes-list
  3. These statistics are stated in the second paragraph under the section titled Independent Small Business

Failure Rates http://www.bluemaumau.org/what_success_rate_a_franchise_versus_independent

  1. This information can be found within the text at http://buyafranchiseblog.com/?m=201101
  2. This statistic can be found in the article at Blue Mau Mau, here: http://www.bluemaumau.org/2006_franchise_trends
  3. This fact is cited in the graph on the Kauffman Foundation website here http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/despite-recession-us-entrepreneurial-activity-rate-rises-in-2009.aspx
  4. This statement on FDD’s can be found on the FBA website here http://blog.franchiseba.com/franchisenews/need-to-get-your-business-funded-consider-a-franchise/
  5. A Franchise Brokers Association Independent Study
  6. A Franchise Brokers Association Independent Study
  7. This information can be found on the FTC website here http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/franchise/amendedrule-faqs.shtml#26, specifically in points 20-22.
  8. A Franchise Brokers Association Independent Study
  9. This information can be found at http://franchise.org/franchiseesecondary.aspx?id=52630
  10. This information can be found at http://franchise.org/franchiseesecondary.aspx?id=52630
  11. A representative at M&I Bank

The purchase of a franchise is a major decision. You should only make that decision after retaining and consulting with competent legal and business professionals.

 

Tax Benefit of Owning a Business

Owning a Side Business can save you hundreds of dollars every year.

You don’t need to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to open a business. It doesn’t need to be a full-time business to take advantage of the tax savings. It can be a part-time or side business that may grow to a point where it becomes full-time.

Most people don’t think about owning a business unless it will make them a lot of money. Making a profit is extremely important when starting a business because nobody starts a business with the idea to lose money. It may take two to three years to show a profit and start replacing your salary. But what if you could save money each year with your business while it is making very little profit or no money at all?

There are tax savings involved in running a business that many do not consider. Being an employee is the worst way to save on taxes because Uncle Sam takes a large portion out of your paycheck before you get anything. With a business, you can pay for many things using pre-tax dollars, which can save you hundreds of dollars every year. So, while on paper, your business is not making money, you are getting the savings of buying goods with money that is not being taxed.

Some of the most common deductions include:

  • Home Office Deductions
  • Business Use of Vehicle
  • Equipment
  • Business Trips
  • Health Insurance

Put Up, or Shut Up

What you really what to see are some numbers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average income for a family 2016 was $74,664 and the most common tax bracket is 15%. This means you are paying $11,199.60 to Uncle Sam before you take home $63,363.40. The BLS estimate that the average family has $57,311 in expenditures every year. It is not surprising that the average family is struggling to get by.

Let’s see how much an average American can save by owning a business. We will look some of the expense costs (per the BLS) for the average American family and look at just a few common deductions you could see by owning a business; Auto Mileage, Home Office, Travel, and Equipment.

Transportation

According to the BLS, the average American spends $9,049 on Transportation and drives 13,474 miles per year. Let’s assume you are using 20% of your miles for business purposes. This would allow you to deduct 2,695 miles and with the 2017 IRS mileage deduction of 53.5 cents per mile, you would have a $1,442 tax deduction.

Housing

According to the BLS, the annual expense for Housing is $18,186. By working out of your home, you are able to take advantage of many tax deductions. If you were to assign 20% of your home to dedicated business use, your deduction would be $3,637.20.

What about utilities such as water, gas, electric and a dedicated phone line? The average American will spend about $2,400 on utilities. We will assume a 20% deduction which is a $480 savings per year.

Food

The average American family spends $3,008 on dining out. My wife and I are always discussing our business whenever we eat out. As a result, we expense some of our meals every month. We will assume the average American can expense 20% of their meals. The IRS only allows you to expense 50% for meals and entertainment, this would equal at 10% deduction equal to $300.80.

Travel

Financial experts suggest that the average family spend about 5% of their total income on travel, or $3,733.20. You are not able to deduct the expense for travel that is purely for pleasure, but with proper planning, you can make the trip business related. We don’t have a breakdown of the $3,733.20 (airfare, lodging, food), so we will assume that 70% is deductible. This would give the average American a total deduction of $2,613.24.

Equipment

Thanks to the new tax laws, the Section 179 provision is continued and has increased its threshold. Computer equipment and furnishings can be expensed 100%. If you need a new laptop, printer or desk, you can deduct 100% of that cost the year in which you put it in use. If we were to assume that the average American spends $1,900 on equipment and 20% is used for business, the total deduction would be $380.

How much can I save?

There are many more areas in which a business can save you money and my assumptions are on the conservative side, but if you total up just a few examples we have here:

$1,442.00 + $3,637.20 + $480 + $300.80 + $380 = $6,240.00

Based on an average income of $74,664 in the 15% tax bracket, you would be saving $1,026 per year even if your business is not making any money. Even if the business is part-time.

You will need to document every expense carefully and you should work with an accountant. There are easy to use software programs, such as Quickbooks, that make this process simple. Oh yeah, you can deduct the cost of your Quickbooks software.

Finding a business to suit your lifestyle and budget is not as hard as you think. This is one reason why you should use a Franchise Broker because they have more information than you can find on the Internet.

Dirty Words in Franchising

Secret

The Value in the Fees

Just about every time we speak to a person who inquiries about a franchise, they get turned off by the franchise fees, advertising fees, royalties and other fees a franchisor assesses their franchisees.  We get that.  As multi-unit franchisees with about $3,000,000 in revenue – we paid a lot in advertising fees and royalties.  There were a few months during the recession where we paid the franchisor more than we paid ourselves.  Were we angry – yes, if you want to be truthful?  Who wouldn’t be? 

So why not go it alone?  We get people who opt to do that.  We do not suggest that because you have to create a brand and trademark it, set up your operations platform by either finding something out of the box or paying a programmer to customize a system just for you, write your operations manual, write your HR manual, figure out who your ideal employee is (there is an art to finding a person who will fit into your culture), hire an accountant to set up your chart of accounts and figure out how to measure your key metrics, find the right retail or office space and figure out how much you really need, design your space to accommodate the needs of the business and you can see this is a very long run-on sentence that I could continue for at least 10 more lines.  Basically, I just scratched the surface of what your initial franchise fee pays for.  I also did not mention the time it saves.  We all agree time is money and many people run out of money just trying to get those doors to open.  We have seen many “mom and pops” with the coming soon only to see them go out of business in a few months because they spent too much money just trying to open.  To be fair, we have also seen franchises do the same.  Those people were also undercapitalized and did not get a realistic picture from a broker or a franchisor about what it will take to be successful. 

Does $25,000 to $50,000 sound a little bit more reasonable?  Here is another dirty little secret in franchising.  Franchisors lose money in selling the franchise.  They are looking long term in revenue from royalties. 

The next dirty word.

Like I had mentioned, we paid a lot of money in royalties.  To be perfectly honest, the support we received was sometimes very disappointing and we sought outside coaches and advisors.  You may have to do that too.  But what do royalties really get you?  I had mentioned support, but what is more important is the operational platform and backbone to automate and measure your business.  When we sit in on initial calls with our clients, we are always amazed at how much technology is woven into an operating system.  For example, you want to open a handyman business.  Seems simple enough, buy a van, wrap the van, buy tools, stock the van and start marketing.  Cha Ching.  If you bought a  Handyman Connection, for example, you would have their training, be coached through their quick start program, have a call center answer your incoming calls and schedule appointments, when the job is bigger than a simple quote – estimating software, and an Uber backed program that allows your customer to see who is coming and when.   Their software is so granular, you can see exactly where you are making money and where you need to improve your margins instantly.  Knowledge is power in your business.  I also forgot to mention they have national contracts with many retailers, real estate companies, and discounts. 

Still not convinced? 

Net Worth: Why do franchisors want to know it and how to calculate it?

Quite simply, your net worth is your assets minus your liabilities. This is probably the most the most important factor for obtaining a franchise. So, why is this so important to a franchisor? The franchisor is putting their name on the line and they need to know whether you are the right person to move their brand forward. The relationship between you and the franchisor is one of mutual benefit. The more successful you are the more successful the franchisor. Your financial condition will become a factor but it is not the only factor.

The Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and other documents will tell you the net worth the franchisor requires. They expect you to have that money in hand before dealing with them. But rest assured that they will look at other factors, such as management experience, “people-skills”, and various additional relevant background. If you can show adequate access to capital, a franchisor will overlook your “less-than-adequate” net worth. Other capital may include an SBA-approved loan or money from family and friends.

A good franchisor will not make a decision based solely on your net worth. If they do, they can turn out to be an unreliable franchisor that is just looking to sell a franchise and not begin a mutually beneficial relationship. A good franchisor will make sure you are a good overall fit for their organization. The net worth is an easy starting point for the franchisor because they know, from experience, what it will take to start a new franchise on solid financial ground. The number one reason businesses fail is because they are undercapitalized.

How do I calculate my Net Worth?

Net Worth is the value of what you own minus what you owe. A positive net worth would mean the value of everything that you own is greater than the amount that you owe. A good thing. If your net worth is negative, then you owe more than the value of what you own. A bad thing.

Your first step is to gather and organize all your information regarding your assets (what you own) and liabilities (what you owe). This can be a big task if this is your first time. But, once you do this, it will be easier to keep the information organized.

Assets

Assets are everything you own. They can be broken down into a few difference categories:  tangible, equity, fixed-income, and cash/cash equivalents. For all your assets, list and assign a dollar value.

Tangible assets are items that have a physical form, such as; your home, vacation home, rental properties, furniture, cars, recreational equipment, art, and jewelry.

Equity Assets are your ownership interests in businesses, such as; stocks, variable annuities, limited partnerships, and retirement accounts.

Fixed-income assets are long-term investments that pay you interest on a fixed schedule, such as; US government bonds, municipal bonds, mutual funds.

Cash and cash equivalent assets are short-term accounts and investment that can be cashed in immediately, sometimes referred to as “liquid capital.” This typically includes: checking and savings account balances, money market funds, certificates of deposit, other cash on hand.

Once you have these items listed and a dollar amount associated with them, you will add up everything for your Total Assets.

Liabilities

A liability is any money that you owe to a person or business in exchange for an asset. For each liability, you need to write down the dollar value that is still owed. Liabilities include; home mortgage, other mortgages (vacation or rental properties), home equity line of credit, home equity loan, car loan, bank loan, student loan, personal credit line balances, credit card balances, personal loans, and any other money that you owe. Once you add up the dollar amount for each liability, you will have your Total Liabilities.

Apply the formula

The final step is to apply the simple formula:

Total Assets – Total Liabilities = Net Worth

Who said high school Algebra was a waste of time?

There are many tools on the Internet to help you calculate your net worth. Yahoo offers a simple calculator: Click Here

If you are considering the purchase of a franchise, knowing your net worth is a good start. Another good step is to Pre-Qualify for a loan in the same way you would pre-qualify for a home purchase. This lets the franchisor know that you are a serious prospect. In many cases, a franchisor receives hundreds of inquiries every month and you want to stand out. To see how much you qualify for, visit our pre-qualification portal: Pre-Qualify for you new franchise by clicking here

What is Stopping Your from Buying A Franchise?

Question about buying a franchise

The answer could be fear.

As a franchise broker, we often ask this question and we hear answers such as “There is a lot of competition in this market” or “I don’t know if people are interested in these services” and most commonly “I don’t know if I can make enough money to live on.”

When the smoke clears, it is not about the product or services that are being sold or even the money – it is about fear. The fear of failure. We tell our clients that if you don’t have a little fear, we would be worried. But too much fear can cause decision paralysis. Fear can be a good thing and it has it place – in moderation. Don’t let fear keep you from your dreams.

There are ways to overcome your fear of failure and be able to forge ahead. First, face your fears in order to change your attitude. Secondly, make a plan for success.

Facing your Fear of Failure

When it comes to business, the biggest fear is that you will lose all your money and possessions. Another fear is shame, which can elicit feelings like anger, frustration and regret. Failure does not make you a bad person nor does it physically change you. The fear of losing all your possessions/money is not very likely. You are able to structure your business in a way to limit liability and protect yourself. You will need to know how much money you are comfortable losing in the worst-case scenario. Nothing is ever guaranteed.

There are two things you can do: face the fear and focus on aspects you can control.

Face the fear. Accept that failure makes you afraid and ashamed. Find advisors you can trust and bring these feeling to the surface with them.  This will help prevent your unconscious from sabotaging  your efforts and it will get assurance from them that can bolster your self-worth and minimize the threat of disappointing them.

Focus on the aspects that you can control. For example, worrying about whether people will want your product or service. A franchise can minimize this fear because they have already forged a process that has proven successful to others.

Make a Plan for Success

You already know how to fail by doing nothing. You need to learn how to succeed.

  • Do your research – While you cannot possibly have every piece of information, collecting the most important data will help you make a smarter decision and help alleviate the fear of failing. A franchise has already completed a lot of this information and has used it to makes its franchisees successful. As a broker, we will help you in gathering all the data and information to help you make a smart decision.
  • Create a Plan -Writing a business plan is not easy but it is worth the time and effort. The business plan can act as a roadmap to success. Many franchises have already created business plan templates you can use, you will just need to customize it to your market.
  • Make a Plan B – Making a Plan B is NOT setting you up for failure. It shows that you are a smart business owner. Starting a business is taking a measured risk and by planning accordingly, you can build your confidence in your decisions. Your Plan B does not have to be an alternative course that you take if you fail. It can be a tool to help you consider alternative paths.
  • Get Support – When to starting a business alone you can get stuck in your own self-doubt. You will need a support system to help you on your journey. This is the beauty of a franchise, you are in business for yourself but not by yourself. You are buying into an already existing and successful support system.

My point is that fear is not a bad thing. It can help you be more successful. It can take outside your comfort zone to learn something valuable. Owning a franchise can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life and we would not want you to miss out just because of a fear of failure.

Our role is to help you through this process and to help you face those fears. As franchise owners for 16 years, we have faced those fears. We had our doubts. But in the end, it was the best decision we ever made.

College v Franchise

Question about buying a franchise

With the cost of a college degree surpassing the annual rates of inflation and the job market is so weak due to a poor economy, it is no wonder why so many young adults graduate with an average debt of $30,000.  The researchers also note that student debt figures could be misleading because colleges/universities may not account for private loans students take out that the school is unaware of. Nationally, nearly 20 percent of all graduating seniors’ debt came from private student loans.

Does graduating from college guarantee you or your children a job?  Not always.  Our economy is a capitalist’s economy and if you graduate with a degree that is in low demand – those college graduates may spend the first few years of their careers underemployed or in a career outside their major.  The problem is – not everyone can be a programmer, engineer or a multi-lingual international business degree graduate.  Plus what is “hot” now may not be in demand in 4 to 5 years.

Why Franchising?  You can be anything in a franchise.  Do you have a passion for children – we have that franchise.  Do you want to be in the hospitality industry – we have that franchise.  Are your interests in helping people – we have that franchise.  Do you like working with your hands – we have that franchise too.

Is starting a franchise expensive?  It can be.  Can you get a SBA Loan to start a franchise?  Yes, you can.  If we had children that were about to go into college, I would ask them about franchising and give them a head start on their peers.  As a business person, I can see a better ROI going the franchise route in today’s economy.

I went to collegedata.com to see what the average cost of tuition, room and board, books, and incidental items were for school year 2013 to 2014 for the average state college.

Tuition                                  $ 8,893

Room and Board               $ 9,500

Books                                    $ 1,207

Incidentals                          $ 2,580

Total Year 1                         $22,180

 

Assuming 3% inflation per year

 

Total Year 2                         $22,845

Total Year 3                         $23,531

Total Year 4                         $24,237

Total for 4 Years               $92,793

 

This cost can be even higher for a private college.  Let’s take an even $100,000 for the cost of a 4 year degree.  This is a lot of money to start a franchise.

 

We have over 300 franchises we represent – from brick and mortar to work from home.  Franchise fees range from $10,000 to over $100,000 (we would not recommend buying a $100,000 franchise for a child).  So which franchise is right for your family?  What are your or your child’s interests, where do you live, what is your credit score, what franchises are available in my area that make sense, does the family have retirement funds to help fund the business, are you or your child mature enough to take on the responsibility of running a business, can you rely on your parents for support and guidance, are you entrepreneurial (we have a test for that)… There are so many questions to be answered and it this a risk you are your family are willing to take?  This is an investment.

 

Why talk to us?  Our job is not to just sell you a franchise.  Our job is to help guide you through the process of possibly buying a franchise.  We have told some people to not buy a franchise because they did not have the time, money, level of commitment, the passion, the credit score, the right market or the support to start a franchise.  Buying a franchise does not guarantee success.  You must evaluate the opportunity and identify all the risks and rewards before investing.

Corporate Visit

Our First and Only Corporate Visit

At the time it seemed to be a waste of time. We understood the concept – non-medical in home care for seniors. We knew it was going to involve managing a lot of people. We knew they had a system in place and other franchisees were successful even though it was a new franchise. We jumped in our car and decided to take a road trip out to Dayton, Ohio to visit Comfort Keepers. Why not combine seeing America and have a little fun on the way (I fell in love with the city of Pittsburgh, it is really a neat city).

We drive up to the office building excited. We were not sure of what to expect and what type of dog and pony show we were about to see. Clustered together with some other couples we were herded into the conference / training room and the founders began to talk about how their company started and the need the fulfilled in their community. We began to relate their experiences with our own family members and saw how we can make a difference in the lives of others. SOLD.

More Research

Were we being too hasty? We had only visited 1 franchise and there was one more like it we knew about. Why not look at the competitor? What was their corporate culture like? We seemed to fit in with Comfort Keepers. Calls were made to some of the franchisees, we asked my Dad, who is a CPA to look at their Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet for us and to give us questions to ask about the soundness of their company.

We still had jobs. We were beginning to hate what we were doing and how we were being treated. The thoughts of taking control of our lives was dominating our conversations. The fear of doing something new would always bring us back to the fact that we still had jobs. One by one our colleagues began to disappear. Mike and I realized the clock was ticking faster and it was time to say yes.

Our personal journey to buying a franchise

Mike and Laura

We never looked back.

We would like to share with you our journey to buying our first franchise with this three part series.

We bought our first franchise (YTD we have owned 6) back in 2001 pre 911. The economy was about to go through a Tech Bubble and we lived in Northern Virginia – just about a perfect storm. There is never a perfect predictor of how outside conditions can influence your outcomes.

I knew my job at US Office Products was going to disappear as we were purchased by Corporate Express and I did not fit their corporate mold and Mike knew his days were numbered as the Tech Startup he worked at was cutting fat in order to be sold (laying off employees with false stock promises). This was in May of 2001.

At that time we began to look at our resumes riddled with jobs that lasted 3 to 5 years and the thought of having to look for another job every few years was most unappealing. That was the beginning of the “new economy.” We needed to break the cycle.

We took inventory of our skills and experiences. We did a SWOT analysis. We searched the internet. We visited some franchise brick and mortars. We researched and researched and then we asked my Dad for advice. We bought a book about franchising and read that cover to cover. Then we began to trust our instincts.

Our First and Only Corporate Visit

At the time it seemed to be a waste of time. We understood the concept – non-medical in home care for seniors. We knew it was going to involve managing a lot of people. We knew they had a system in place and other franchisees were successful even though it was a new franchise. We jumped in our car and decided to take a road trip out to Dayton, Ohio to visit Comfort Keepers. Why not combine seeing America and have a little fun on the way (I fell in love with the city of Pittsburg, it is really a neat city).

We drive up to the office building excited. We were not sure of what to expect and what type of dog and pony show we were about to see. Clustered together with some other couples we were herded into the conference / training room and the founders began to talk about how their company started and the need the fulfilled in their community. We began to relate their experiences with our own family members and saw how we can make a difference in the lives of others. SOLD.

More Research

Were we being too hasty? We had only visited 1 franchise and there was one more like it we knew about. Why not look at the competitor? What was their corporate culture like? We seemed to fit in with Comfort Keepers. Calls were made to some of the franchisees, we asked my Dad, who is a CPA to look at their Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet for us and to give us questions to ask about the soundness of their company.

We still had jobs. We were beginning to hate what we were doing and how we were being treated. The thoughts of taking control of our lives was dominating our conversations. The fear of doing something new would always bring us back to the fact that we still had jobs. One by one our colleagues began to disappear. Mike and I realized the clock was ticking faster and it was time to say yes.

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