You can certainly go into business alone, but there are bigger, better ways…
Carb-loading is a familiar term to athletes preparing to take on a marathon. If you know you have to run 26.2 miles, you don’t do so on an empty tank mentally or physically. You must fuel-up for an endurance competition that is beyond a friendly run around the neighborhood. Then, there is physical training and mental preparation which includes the joy of imagining yourself crossing the finish line, at last. There is a little more buzz in the press these days about preparation for competition as the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are upon us and it’s no secret that business ownership is competition with challenges all its own.
Our greatest ambitions require getting ready to take on the demands and obstacles that lead to the prize, whatever that may be; and frequently, none of us get very far without the support of trusted mentors and a strong team. For an entrepreneur, getting ready for the challenge of business ownership requires heaps of dedication, mental preparation, trusted mentors and a strong team; much like Olympians are fortunate to have as they march into the opening ceremonies of the most important competition of their lives. Still, some folks see themselves more as entrepreneurial lone wolves, convinced they can do it all on their own. To help you prepare for the professional competition in which you will prove to your prospects that you are the victor and the singularly best source for the particular products and services you provide in your industry, is it really wise to do it all on your own? The answer is no, and the antidote to a risky solo business opportunity is franchise ownership.
45% of adults ages 35 and older want to take on the challenge of business ownership, according to a Harris Poll survey.
It also seems that the younger crowd is even more determined to ready themselves and leap into business ownership. The same poll teaches us that people between the ages of 18 and 34 want to become entrepreneurs. Yet, the reality is many people don’t have the chops to bring their hopes of business ownership to life and wind up thinking about it and frequently, that can be attributed to lack of support and training. For instance, thoughtful consideration must go into a practical business plan and sometimes, new ideas fall flat or aren’t as desired in the marketplace as one imagined.
Let’s say you wish to go forward alone into business. Anything is possible, but there are many considerations. If you have an idea to go into business independently, for instance, have you considered how much money you will need to spend before you see even a single dollar in profit? You need to consider things such as living expenses for your family during the delicate period in which you are building a business. It is vital to be honest with yourself about your money and plan using realistic estimates, perhaps taking on about 5% or more, just to be safe.
Here are a few considerations for entrepreneurial dreamers who hope to take on the challenge for real:
- Do you have something that will be likely to sell? Are you certain the product and/or service you are so excited about is more than just a trend? Just because people you’ve talked to like your product doesn’t mean there will be enough people willing to spend good money for it. You want to go into business, ideally, providing something that people need, either on an emotional or practical level (and the practical level will likely provide you with a more sustainable run as a business owner). You want to sell things that will have continual demand, so that your business has a chance at continual growth. This is the time to talk to experts and pay attention to the truth, even if it means your idea isn’t the greatest one and you need to look further.
- Do you have something that you’re ALLOWED to sell? Another pesky problem for independent start-ups is the question of intellectual property and the red tape of patents which could put your idea on ice, quickly. You will have do some research or be prepared to fork over a pretty penny to patent attorney in order to conduct the same search.
- Do you have a reasonable idea of costs? Excited entrepreneurs sometimes develop an unrealistically optimistic plan for growth, overestimating the early sales they might make while underestimating the cost involved in building a brand and securing those first clients. In order to turn your business idea into a functional reality, you need to develop a business plan that is financially logical, including your needs NOW as well as exit-strategy considerations. It is always wise to seek advice from experts, ideally ones with years of experience specific to your business model.
- Do you have mentors and a team? Going into business by yourself is tough on even the most level-headed and determined entrepreneur. It means you will not only have to gather your own team and test the marketing waters, but also come up with customers on the unknown strength of your new concept, with a lot of name recognition to build. It’s certainly possible, but you will need to find mentors within the business to business services industry in order to help you showcase the strength of your products and services.
- Do you have the guts and grit to get out there and market your business? If you are going to do the uphill challenge of independent business ownership or if you are considering a franchise opportunity, both cases require stamina when it comes to marketing and promoting your business. The ultimate success or failure of your venture is influenced by decisions you make during the research phase and with one other person…you. Taking personal responsibility for the development and growth of your customer base is a liberating feeling and it is also vitally important because in reality, the onus of true success resides with the entrepreneur, with you.
For many, rising to the challenge of business ownership works best through making the most of a proven system
Jim Galasso, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice-President for NY, NJ, and CT, knows that going into business is always a risk, but going into business alone is rife with greater and sometimes, unnecessary challenges. This is why he is proud to represent a business to business industry leader able to provide an Olympic-sized network of stress-relieving support across so many critical areas.
As Jim says, “Going into business is a big decision and truthfully not everybody is made to be their own boss. The discipline it takes and dedication to succeed must be the driving factor in a person’s decision. Once a person decides the type of business they will open, then the preparation needs to follow. Certainly, having a franchise system to lean upon such as Minuteman Press takes a lot of the guesswork out of what needs to be done.”
Jim Galasso offers 3 strong reasons to consider a franchise opportunity:
1. From the start, you’re not alone: “The marketing analysis, the site selection, lease negotiations, renovations, layout, and the type of equipment needed to start are challenges that you will not face alone. You will have local support representatives by your side.”
2. Pricing and marketing guesswork is eliminated: “Next is the task of learning how to market and properly so you can promote and advertise your business in order to get the first customer in the door. And, of course, making sure that your product is competitively priced while building a successful business is an absolute must. All of these thoughts are necessity for a person going into a business. So with a successful franchise business like Minuteman Press, there’s no guessing because we have fine-tuned the process.”
3. There are good and bad franchises so find the good ones and choose the best: “I use the franchise I represent as an example because we produce results and have done so with a track record that is respected worldwide. You must know that not every franchise is a good franchise. There are good and bad ones out there, but with over 40 years of experience and almost 1000 stores around the world, in five different countries, our reputation speaks for itself. If you seek the advantages of being a franchisee, make sure you understand this distinction.”
Freedom to create your own legacy with “coaches” that have your back
If we care, we prepare for the challenges that will bring rewards we seek thoughtfully and getting ready to become a business owner is certainly no exception. The appeal of breaking out of the white-collar corporate environment (even leaving a high-paying job to do so) exists because you seek something more from your professional life than money; and the great news is there is a way to make money and still achieve your escape from corporate employment. The autonomy that comes with entrepreneurship is part of that, but so is the freedom to create a legacy that is all yours with potential to share with your children someday. This life you hope to build, this challenge you are preparing for, will require all of your dedication and wise decisions as far as how to invest your money.
You could push forward into business alone, but it is important to realize that a decision this big is one that can be made in a way that sets you up with a lifetime of support and camaraderie, much like the difference between running a marathon solo versus training and preparing for one as part of a team. When franchising is done right, the elite franchisors are not unlike an Olympic team filled with pride, years of hard work, conditioning and continual training and support for the duration of you’re “run” as a franchisee. In the words of Jim Galasso, “As you prepare for the challenges of owning a business, make sure you have the just the right business for yourself. Find something that you will enjoy doing. Then, rather than going solo, consider the reduced risk associated with a successful system that’s been seasoned for success and in place for many years.”
When you join the ranks of an elite franchisor and choose a winning franchise opportunity, you bear the same colors representing award-winning franchisees able to boast the success of the franchise system. As you march forward into the opening ceremonies of your own business, you can take a breath and be assured that your journey will be a joint effort towards meeting each challenge business owners inevitably must face to succeed. Local support experts will match pace with your every stride towards growth within your community, while you maintain authority over your own destiny. Just as top athletes are selected to represent their countries in the Olympics, you will be entrusted with a proud, respected brand and you can use it to your great advantage, empowered with a heightened opportunity to experience professional victory, at last.
Minuteman Press International is a business service franchise that is rated #1 in Marketing/Printing Services by Entrepreneur. Learn more about Minuteman Press franchise opportunities at www.minutemanpressfranchise.com.