Working from home. It sounds like a great idea to many people. A home-based business removes the need for a long and often frustrating commute through daily rush hour traffic. It can offer flexibility in your schedule like never before. No corporate red tape or office politics to bother with. You can exercise and workout from your home because the "office" is just in the next room. The list of positive attributes could go on.
What's more, today there are literally dozens of home-based franchising opportunities for you to explore - depending on your interests, skills, and abilities. As if all of that were not enough, the initial investment for a home-based franchise is usually significantly lower than, say, a retail franchise that requires leasing space and purchasing expensive equipment and supplies.
But despite the glamorous appearance to home-based franchising, there can be some drawbacks and disadvantages that you should be aware of. Perhaps just as important, franchisors will want to know if you can overcome these obstacles and rise to the challenge of becoming a successful home-based franchisee. Here is a list of some of the more troublesome bugaboos:
Professional and personal balance - A home-based franchise requires a delicate balance of separating your personal life from your business life at home. Running a business out of your home is going to affect every member of your family in some way. Often, people believe a home-based franchise will provide them with more opportunities to interact and spend time with their families. And this can be true, but it can also blur the lines of personal time and professional time. Also, consider if you are prepared to deal with the temptation or compulsion to go to work at all hours of the day and night. You will need to set ground rules right up front to create a clear delineation between working and family time.
Your work style - Simply stated, working from home isn't for everyone. Here's why. A home-based franchise will require self-discipline, self-motivation, and the ability to plan and manage your time. Sure, it makes you the boss and no one else can tell you what to do. However, if you don't stay focused and on task, you can flounder. One of the byproducts of working from home is often a sense of isolation. Let's face it, there can be many hours that go by with little, if any, other human contact. Those who are used to working in a busy office or who love the social aspect of a busy office could be in for a rude surprise.
Changing hats - Typically, a home-based franchisee is the boss, administrative assistant, and employee. You'll likely be tasked with bookkeeping, administrative work, marketing, sales, and customer service, among many other possible tasks. It will require a person who can juggle many varying tasks at any given time. This makes time management skills all the more important. This reality is often tough for individuals who have worked in a "specialized position" in a large corporate business environment.
Income limitations - A one-person business will naturally only be able to grow so much before the single-person resource is tapped out. The result could be limited income potential. Consider your growth potential and the possibility of growing out of your home and into a commercial location that could allow you to add staff. Some franchise opportunities provide for this.
Control - Because you select a home-based franchise, your true independence will be limited. As a franchisee, you are required to adhere to the franchise agreement and follow a system. For example, even if you have some ideas on how to "improve" things, you may not be able to implement these tools on your own. Of course, you submit to this franchise process to begin with because the system has been proven to work and get results.
As you can see, home-based franchising does contain some potential drawbacks. That's why it's important to evaluate your own personal situation, abilities, and goals, and the variations, differences, and nuances in the home-based franchise brands you are considering so that you can make the best informed decision.
14.2: Retail Franchising: Traits & Attributes
14.4: Home-Based Franchising: The Payoff