By Carolyn M. Brown –Blackenterprise.com
In the past decade, more couples are going into business together than ever before. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)there are over 28 million small businesses in the US and of those roughly 22 million are self-employed individuals. But by some estimates around 3 million small businesses are coupled-owned.
More and more couples are coming up with ways to run family businesses and grow empires—and that includes buying franchises. When a couple decides to buy a franchise, they can often sell goods and services that have instant name recognition. They also get the support and training they need to succeed as a business owner.
However, when many aspiring entrepreneurs decide to purchase a franchise as opposed to starting a business, they are not sure where or how to start, notes Christopher Conner. president of Franchise Marketing Systems, which has become one of the primary organizations for providing full-service marketing and sales support consulting to clients in all industries. Clients include TotalGym, Blimpie, COSTCO, Allscripts, and Romeo’s Pizza.
Before couples make that “jump” to buy a franchise, Conner says that they should consider the following:
Get a good understanding of where you are financially, timeline-wise and from an interest standpoint. You need to assess not only yourself, but your financial position. For instance, what kind of cash you have in place, what is your liquidity, and what is your net worth (sum of assets minus liabilities)?
Know who you are. Before selecting a franchise brand or concept you need to fully understand your own interests, background and business abilities. Are your hobbies and interests outside of work or professional life? What are your strengths and weaknesses from a business or personal standpoint?
Research the market and as many franchise opportunities as you can. Unless you have a specific company in mind or are using a franchise broker or consultant who is helping you through the process and researching, this could be a lengthy, frustrating process. There are dozens of franchise websites and thousands of franchise opportunities out there. Many sites provide a wide variety of information on franchises.
Research your financing options. Once you have made your selection, you may need financing. In fact, even if you don’t need financing, it’s good to understand what your options are and what capital/cash is available for you should you need working capital or resources to launch your franchised business. There are numerous options, including conventional bank loans, SBA guaranteed loans, 401k rollovers, alternative financing channels, and home equity loans.