January 26, 2009 // Franchising.com // Eden Prairie, Minnesota - Although retailers are licking their wounds after reporting their worst holiday shopping seasons in years and President Obama began working on an economic stimulus package long before his inauguration, not everyone is bemoaning the current economy. There are a number of resourceful entrepreneurs who decided to make lemonade from the lemons of 2008 by purchasing their own businesses with the help of franchise companies.
Franchising, whose catch phrase is: "in business for yourself but not by yourself," makes up a significant portion of US businesses. According to recent surveys, 1 out of every 12 businesses in the US is a franchise and franchise businesses employ more than 14 million Americans. "The success of franchising is generally attributed to the training and support a franchisor provides to each of its franchisees," says Lori Kiser-Block, president of FranChoice, a consultant network providing a free service to consumers looking for their perfect match in a franchise business. "In return for royalties paid to the franchisor, a franchisee also gets the use of a recognized trademark/brand and proven marketing techniques. In addition, input from all the franchisees in a system helps the franchisor make improvements and modifications to the product or service, enabling the company to stay ahead of trends and customer tastes."
The key to buying a business in a troubled economy is to choose one with products or services consumers need, adds Kiser-Block. For example, PuroClean is a franchise that provides emergency cleanup for homeowners or businesses that have suffered major property damage, such as occurs with a fire or flood. It is not a service that can be delayed until the economy improves. FranChoice consultant Britt Schroeter helped Mark Dickerson of St. Clair Shores, Michigan assess his people skills and relationship building experience which led him to signing an agreement with PuroClean in July.
Dickerson, who spent 16 years with JPMorgan on the institutional investment desk and 20 years in the military, said, "I looked at many different sectors during my due diligence process and many of them were subject to economic conditions. PuroClean is a recession proof business; you can put off buying a TV, stereo or any type of luxury item but you can not put off clean up after a disaster strikes." Dickerson and his wife and business partner Ami Catenacci opened their PuroClean business in September.
"Senior Care is another industry sector that continues to grow," said Kiser-Block. "As larger numbers of Americans get beyond the age where they can safely live on their own, those of us who are responsible for their well-being are looking for alternatives to nursing homes." Senior Helpers is a franchise business providing in-home caregivers, whether for a few hours a day or around the clock, to vulnerable adults.
Shawn Gilson of Iowa City, Iowa first learned of the Senior Helpers franchise when working with FranChoice consultant Richard Pope. "Shawn and his wife Angie were looking at the business when his mother fell and broker her elbow," said Pope. "It showed him in a rather immediate way how valuable the service could be and he became a franchisee in June."
Single mother Karol Hazard would not describe herself as a big risk taker. Nevertheless, she became a franchise owner in August of 2008 after having been laid-off earlier in the year following a career as an environmental consultant spanning over 22 years. Her move from employee to business owner was prompted by the lay-off, as well as a desire to be her own boss, the potential for making a significantly greater income, and the need for a flexible work schedule. Ms. Hazard worked with FranChoice consultant Ray Fanning, who helped her explore several franchise businesses including Expense Reduction Analysts.
"Ray really helped me discover my passion," said Ms. Hazard, whose ERA business covers Maryland, D.C. & suburban Virginia. "By working to help businesses reduce their expenses, my services are invaluable, particularly during a recession. As a franchise owner, I am thrilled to have the security I lacked in my previous employment and sole responsibility for my earnings."
According to a January 7, 2009 release by the IFA (International Franchise Association) small business growth could be the key to the nation's economic recovery. While some job loss is expected in the franchise industry through 2009, said the IFA, "Historically, franchised businesses have outperformed other business sectors in economic output and job creation."
"FranChoice helps thousands of people explore franchise ownership every year," says Kiser-Block. "Of course it does take a special kind of person to own and run a business but someone with corporate experience generally has just what a franchise business needs. Our job, finding new careers for displaced executives, is very satisfying, both personally and professionally."
FranChoice is the premier network of franchise referral consultants in the United States. FranChoice consultants guide prospective franchisees through all stages of the business ownership process, from franchise investigation to the final sale, matching each individual's interests, talents and investment level with a strong franchise business.