Did Your Journey Start Here?
Many of us recall childhoods peppered with Sunday nights overcome with dread. As pangs of anxiety would set in as the weekend wound down, we lamented the inevitable start of another pressure-filled week of school. Sadly, the same doom and gloom plagues adults who are miserable at work. Are you still all too familiar with the Sunday night blues because you are unhappy in your current job?
It might sound difficult to believe, but some start each week - even each day - actually looking forward to going to work! Let’s face it, though, and admit that this is not the reality for most of us. It’s not uncommon for our spouse, family members or friends to complain to us about what they are lacking at work, whether it’s fulfillment, money, free time or opportunities to advance.
What many unsatisfied employees dream about is becoming their own boss, which means starting their own business.
“More and more people are separating themselves from corporate America and going into a business,” explained Alesia Visconti, CEO of FranServe, Inc., the world’s largest franchise consulting organization. “This has been trending for years. Corporate America doesn’t provide the stability it once did nor offer the longevity it used to.”
Further exacerbating the situation was the onset of the pandemic, which enabled many people to work from home for the first time and compelled them to realize they did not want to return to their workplace. “If there's a silver lining in that horrible experience, it was that it gave people a wake-up call to make choices that aligned with their family values and future aspirations,” explained Visconti.
Starting your own business sounds like a great plan - until reality sets in and hard questions abound. How do I get started when I have never owned a business before? What kind of business should I open? How much money will I need? How can I ensure it will be a success when businesses fail all the time? Such daunting questions lead to negative self-talk.
“Most people's dream is to be in business for themselves, but the idea of launching a business alone can be terrifying,” Visconti said.
What was an exciting dream just moments earlier suddenly transforms into an idea so intimidating that it can paralyze aspiring entrepreneurs from moving forward.
The next thing they know, it’s Sunday night again, and they’re stuck in the same old cycle.
The good news, however, is that career bliss can be ours - if we know how to find it.
Don’t Travel Solo
It is understandable to be intimidated by all the details involved in launching a new business. After all, no one person can be an expert in all aspects of accounting, marketing, business development, team building, client relations, employee management and technology (just to name a few areas that running a business encompasses). That’s not even touching upon the industry-specific knowledge needed, depending on what type of business you decide to open.
The good news is that you don’t have to do any of it alone. Through franchising, you don’t need to be an expert in all - or even any - of these areas. By investing in an existing brand with a proven business model, you are not starting from scratch like an independent business owner would be.
Perhaps one mantra touted by the International Franchise Association (IFA) puts it best: “Owning a franchise allows you to go into business for yourself but not by yourself.”
From the start-up phase of your business to ongoing training and support, the franchisor provides the assistance needed to make your business a success. What’s more, the franchisor wants you to succeed, since your success is also their success.
Consider just a few of the benefits of franchising according to the IFA:
- The brand may already enjoy widespread brand-name recognition.
- There may already be a pre-sold customer base, which ordinarily takes years to establish.
- Supplies may be purchased at a significant discount due to contracts and volume purchases.
- The brand may have proprietary technology that franchisees can use.
- The products and methods are already proven, which makes the chances of business success greater.
- Quality and consistency are held to high standards mandated by a franchise agreement.
Keep an Open Mind
While the words “franchise” or “franchising” may conjure images of popular fast food or convenience store chains, they are just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Franchise business options span approximately 80 categories and include most professions and industries. From healthcare to financial services to education to pet grooming, there’s something for every professional work style and interest.
The initial investment required can also vary, ranging from $25,000 to several million dollars. Some companies are better suited for a hands-on owner-operator, while other business models are perfect for executive management and still others offer investors an absentee owner with residual income. Whether you want to own a brick-and-mortar location or roll out of bed into a home office, there is something for every professional personality.
Working with a Franchise Consultant can expose potential franchise owners to brands they wouldn’t have normally considered. For example, someone who doesn’t consider himself handy may never think to look at a business in the home improvement sector. However, many franchises don’t require any experience or background in that area in order to become a franchise owner. That’s because, in many cases, employees perform the manual labor while the franchise owner focuses on building and managing a successful team as well as developing a new business.
Find an Expert Guide
Perhaps you don’t even know what your professional strengths, preferences and limitations are yet. That’s fine, too. Either way, it’s not advisable to tackle the research of hundreds of business opportunities on your own. (That’s why you won’t find a “how-to” manual for accomplishing such a feat in this blog.) Instead, allow us to direct you to those who are uniquely qualified to help you!
They are called Franchise Consultants - professionals who assess the needs of entrepreneurial candidates, research opportunities that connect best with their candidate’s specific characteristics and present a list of qualified prospects for consideration. What is great about utilizing the expertise of a Franchise Consultant is that it costs candidates absolutely nothing. When candidates become franchise owners, the Franchise Consultant is paid by the franchisors. There is also no additional cost to the candidate in obtaining the franchise business when using a Franchise Consultant. It’s truly a win-win situation on every level.
“We are changing lives by introducing people to business ownership,” explained Visconti.
The reason Franchise Consultants enjoy such a great success rate, according to Visconti, is that they are great listeners. “Each candidate has different needs, goals and aspirations,” she said. Besides being a great listener, compassion is another important trait for an effective Franchise Consultant. Visconti continued, “You are working with people who are going to be in transition. Owning a franchise for the first time is a big step.”
By spending so much time working with a candidate, a Franchise Consultant can often get to know the candidate even better than the candidate knows him/herself. It is not uncommon for a Franchise Consultant to introduce a candidate to a brand the candidate would not have normally considered.
“Keep an open mind; A brand you may think is perfect for you might not be the right business model for you,” stated Visconti, who serves as an advisory board member and committee member on several IFA initiatives, including the Diversity Board and VetFran.
So how does a Franchise Consultant help a candidate? It’s a multi-step process where the Franchise Consultant engages in numerous conversations with a candidate to learn what their true passion is. They delve deeply into the candidate’s likes and dislikes. For example, does the candidate want to have a big staff, or would she prefer to be a one-woman show? Are flexible hours important, or is a set schedule part of their future picture? Does he dream of manning a storefront, or is being on the road and going to the customer more appealing?
“The Franchise Consultant helps candidates look inward and find out what excites them, what motivates them,” Visconti explained. Franchise Consultants then help candidates zero in on a few brands that are ideally suited to them. Even after a candidate makes a final decision and chooses the right business opportunity, the role of the Franchise Consultant is hardly over. The Franchise Consultant can help the candidate find financing and serve as a coach through the due diligence process. Most importantly, the Franchise Consultant helps facilitate a relationship between the candidate and franchisor. While the decisions to choose and own a franchise are the sole actions of the candidate, the information the Franchise Consultant provides is of enormous educational value.
There is a lot of hand-holding that the Franchise Consultant provides throughout the due diligence process. “Fears will come up. It’s natural. But moving forward despite fears that come up is what makes the difference,” explained Visconti. “You have that excitement and fear. The true entrepreneur feels the fear but takes a baby step and moves forward. It means you just don’t stop when fear sneaks up on you.”
Seek out The Best
As the world’s largest franchise consulting organization, FranServe, Inc. has a plethora of experience helping others. “We don’t ‘sell’ franchises. We educate. It’s a different philosophy than some, and it’s what separates us from competitors,” said Visconti.
FranServe’s mission rests on three core values:
- Integrity is everything
- Grow or die
- Teamwork gets results
“That guides every decision our company makes. These are our people’s values,” said Visconti. “They have a different understanding than other consultants.”
Not only has FranServe, Inc. attained an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, but the company’s Franchise Consultants have earned the professional designation of CFC (Certified Franchise Consultant) as well.
“We’re part of a franchise family. That big-picture view influences why people love working with us. We’re fun, we’re classy, and we just take a different attitude. We have that human element.”
Be Driven by Purpose
To that end, Visconti has made giving back a top priority for FranServe. She even calls the company a “PDO,” coining an acronym for the term “purpose-driven organization.”
“We have a moral obligation to give back to the world on a bigger level,” she explained. “It’s incredibly important to me to give back on a global basis in ways that we can because it is about changing people’s lives.”
Through Fran-Aid, the company’s initiative dedicated to social responsibility, Ms. Visconti has allocated more than $65,000 to worthy causes to help a wide range of those in need across the globe. For example, Fran-Aid supports VetFran (https://www.vetfran.org), a non-profit program of the International Franchise Association that helps veterans find the right business opportunities in franchising while easing their career transition from military to civilian life.
Another worthy cause selected as a recipient of Fran-Aid’s generosity is Freedom Service Dogs of America (https://freedomservicedogs.org), which is an organization that trains and gifts service dogs to those in need, from children with autism to veterans with PTSD.
FranServe has also donated to Susan G. Komen (https://www.komen.org) - the international organization dedicated to breast cancer research as well as community health outreach, advocacy and programs in more than 60 countries.
“Every CEO wants to be able to be profitable. You need to have that basic business mentality,” Visconti explained. “But there has to be something beyond that. It can’t just be about money.”
Lead by Example
The philosophy Visconti embraces has helped to propel FranServe’s success. “People are flocking to franchise ownership. There are so many opportunities to own a business and be your own boss! The ‘new normal’ is entrepreneurship,” said Visconti.
Prior to becoming the CEO of FranServe in 2014, Visconti was the president and CEO of several global organizations. Her focus has always been on career and life coaching, so helping others find their perfect career is more than just a job description - it is her passion.
“Passion moves me forward,” she said. “I stress over and over that we change people’s lives. I know about people in transition. It can kick up anxiety. Our franchise consultants recognize that and respect all questions that come up.”
Under Visconti’s leadership, FranServe has grown to be the world’s largest in its category, and the company is adding new Franchise Consultants to its team as the demand for its services continues to grow. FranServe take pride in training and supporting the best in the business!
“Franchising really does help people build a blueprint for mapping out success,” Visconti said. “We are dedicated to helping people find their career bliss.”
- Written by the FranServe Expert Team