Accelerate Kitsap (https://acceleratekitsap.weebly.com/) is a recently relaunched non-profit organization focused on providing education, information and guidance to budding entrepreneurs and emerging start-up and existing small businesses in Kitsap County and throughout West Sound. The organization will be updating its web site and adding new board members in the months ahead.
Is your small business thriving? Do customers from out of town ask if you’re going to open another location in their neck of the woods? Are you secretly yearning for a new challenge now that your business is running so smoothly? If you can answer “yes” to all these questions, it might be time to consider franchising your business.
But there are a few other questions you need to answer to determine if you’re ready to get serious about franchising your business.
Does my business have strong systems in place?
A good franchise has operational systems and processes that can be standardized and taught to other people to provide a consistent product or service across all locations. For example, if you own a sandwich shop, do you have a written system for all the steps of making a sandwich, such as:
- Whether to put on gloves first
- How much meat, cheese, mayonnaise, and other ingredients to use (such as “two ounces” or “one tablespoon”)
- The order in which to assemble the items
- How to wrap and package the sandwich
Like marriage, buying a franchise is a long-term commitment.
Before you say yes, make sure you understand to the in’s and out’s of franchising what it takes to be successful.
Be Your Own Boss. The phrase is repeated often in franchise circles, and it can be intoxicating to those considering franchise ownership. It means freedom from the typical 9 to 5. It means control. It means you call the shots. All of this is true, but being your own boss also means that you have responsibilities.
You are responsible for your employees, your customers, and your business. Their well-being is in your hands. That is why it is essential for anyone considering franchise ownership to weigh all the factors that go into being the boss and understand what it takes to be successful. Franchise ownership is a long-term commitment much like a marriage. It’s good to treat it that way, from courtship – researching franchises – to “I Do” – signing the Franchise Agreement. Remember the goal is happiness and financial independence. Continue reading
According to a National Health Interview Survey, for the first time, more than half of Americans reported that they got the recommended amount of leisure-time aerobic activity.
Compare that to 2006, when only 43 percent of Americans hit that physical activity threshold.
That means that more Americans than ever are focused on getting/staying fit. And fitness franchise businesses are reaping the rewards.
Could a fitness franchise opportunity be the right one for you?
Here are some tools that will make things a little easier.
The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) is designed to save you time! BusinessUSA makes it easier for small businesses to access Federal services, regardless of its source. VA OSDBU quickly connects Veteran entrepreneurs to relevant ‘best-practices’ and information. Collectively, VEP offers direct access to the resources necessary to guide every step of entrepreneurship.
Start a Business
This interactive tool connects you to the right resources specific to your small business objective. Navigate through relevant topics to access information on starting a business.
Learn how to start a business »
Use this customized wizard to identify financing resources to support the start-up, development, or growth of your small business.
Learn about financial resources »
Grow Your Business
Find out how to successfully expand your small business. Explore dedicated subjects with valuable information and resources to help you grow your company.
Learn how to grow your business »
Become familiar with Federal government contracting programs. Answer a few quick questions in this wizard to find Federal opportunities that align with your small business.
Find Federal government contracting programs » Continue reading
You’ve heard the word “franchise,” but what exactly is one? A franchise refers to a system of doing business in which a parent company (the franchisor) sells the rights to a system of doing business to individuals (franchisees).
Each franchisee pays a franchise fee in order to buy into the system, then pays ongoing royalties for the right to continue using the franchise’s name and trademark. Most franchisors provide franchisees with initial training, as well as ongoing support that typically includes marketing materials, suppliers of inventory and more.
McDonald’s is probably the most famous franchise in America, but franchising isn’t limited to the fast-food industry. You can find franchises in just about every industry, from retail stores and restaurants to business and personal services, such as accounting, hair care and fitness.
Whatever type of business you’re thinking of starting, there’s probably a franchisor that can help you do it. But is buying a franchise right for you? Continue reading
Franchising is not for everyone, but for an individual who has limited business experience or someone who enjoys working within an established system, franchising can be the best possible path.
Franchising is simply a method of distributing products or services, with at least two levels of people involved. The first is the franchisor, who lends his trademark or trade name and a business system. The other is the franchisee, who pays a royalty and often an initial fee for the right to do business under the franchisor’s name and system. The contract binding the two parties is the “franchise,” but that term is often used to mean the actual business that the franchisee operates. Continue reading
The dream of owning a small business doesn’t always mean starting from scratch. You can skip the headaches of creating a startup and jump to buying an established company. Purchasing a franchise offers another path to entrepreneurship. With either option, someone has already developed a solid foundation for a company. Here are some resources to help you decide if buying an existing independent small business or franchise is right for you.
Research Your Options
Even if a business seems successful on the outside, a closer inspection before purchasing is critical. In the SCORE podcast, “Buying a Business,” mentor Norm Silverstein details how to thoroughly examine an existing company.
When you acquire an established business, you inherit important intangible assets, such as a customer base and brand recognition. Risk is potentially lower than owning a startup because you will have immediate cash flow. Also, the previous owners have hopefully ironed out the kinks in the beginning stages allowing you to focus on the future.
After finding an affordable, promising business, Silverstein recommends using a “due diligence” process to determine if the company is a right fit. Some of the financial factors to investigate include:
- Profit and loss statements from previous years
- Projected financial statement
- Last three years of tax returns
- Cancelled checks
- Lease conditions
You want to learn as much as possible about the business beyond what the seller tells you. An attorney, accountant and a SCORE mentor can advise you during this intensive process.
Ready to Purchase?
You found your dream business, which passed a thorough investigation. Now what? You must decide whether to purchase the business entity or its assets. These are the major differences:
Buying the “business entity” entails buying the corporation or limited liability company (LLC). You inherit the assets and contracts but also its debts. You may not know what is lurking beneath the surface, such as tax liens or unpaid loans.
Buying the “assets” means you are buying the tangible items like equipment and property. However, you must create a new company with new loans, leases and contracts as if the seller’s business no longer exists.
For more details on the types of purchases, read the entire “Buying a Small Business: Assets vs. Entities” article.
Buying into a Community
Another road to small business ownership is purchasing a franchise. Bob Melberth, a franchisee coach, details the pros and cons in the SCORE podcast appropriately titled, “Franchising.”
What exactly is a franchise? An entrepreneur buys the license of a larger trademarked company to sell its products or services. The new offshoot is backed by a well-known brand name, training and support from the larger company and fellow franchisees. Melberth says, “You’re in business for yourself, not by yourself,” highlighting the community aspect of owning a franchise.
With this established business structure, the success rate of a franchise is usually higher than an independent business. You don’t need to be an expert in all aspects of running a company because the franchise provides specific guidelines to help sell their products. Even though it’s a franchise, it’s still your business.
Finding your ideal business can be a lengthy, involved process, but remember that you don’t have to do it alone—a SCORE mentor can help you along the way. After thoroughly examining the foundation, you may find an existing independent company or franchise is the answer to your small business dreams.
About the Author: Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the SCORE Association.
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