Solid Trends in Franchising: Avoid the Latest Franchise Crazes
Choosing a franchise has to be a far more substantive process than jumping on the next big wave. For example, cupcakes were all the rage in 2016, and while they make a pretty window, their long-term appeal was fleeting. Frozen yogurt also made a strong comeback after almost disappearing some years ago. But it doesn’t take much to saturate the market, and you know it’s a fad when it fizzles out fast.
What’s hot and what’s not may be a typical topic at the annual auto show, but you want to stay away from fads when it comes to franchises. Sort of like the flavor of the month, when folks get tired of it, they stop buying. After all, people are not likely to buy specialty cupcakes on a regular basis or continue buying frozen yogurt when the weather turns cold, which is why these businesses tend to come and go as often as the weather changes.
Everyone always seems to be looking for the next big thing, but the smart money is on the long-term trend—in franchising as much as any other business. Rather than cruise your neighborhood to ascertain the types of businesses most in demand, look to the larger economic trends to guide your search for a new business.
A strong business idea fulfills a deep-seated market need, which, as we know, some people may have not yet realized. Who would ever have guessed 20 years ago that Americans would now be so addicted to their espresso drinks!
Choosing a business in which to invest your hard-earned savings and labor requires as much of your business acumen as you will apply to operating your future business.
We like businesses with either of these two sets of characteristics: businesses that succeed even in economic downturns or those that capitalize on our new economy. The International Franchise Association data has consistently shown commercial and residential services to be strong growth areas.
Look for Tried and True Franchises
Some of the best opportunities are with franchises in well-established markets, where the field may already seem crowded. But there’s a lot to be said for the tried and true. After all, savvy buyers choose the economic sectors with consistent growth.
Look for businesses that tend to be recession resistant, not easily outsourced overseas or not vulnerable to internet competition. Examples include firms that conduct workplace drug and alcohol testing, mandated by the government for some industries, and companies specializing in the restoration of water-damaged homes.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider a franchise coach to help you explore your options and choose a solid franchise.
Services Always in Demand
As we all know, the baby boomers are swelling the ranks of senior citizens, setting a great growth trajectory for senior care. Several excellent franchisors operate and thrive in this segment. See the next section for more details.
The health care industry has experienced excellent growth in recent years. As baby boomers age, the prospects for the future may be even better. You can find franchises that provide home health care, operate wellness clinics, or offer wellness services to a business’s employees to help keep employees at work, rather than the doctor’s office.
People are always going to need haircuts, and several good franchises exist in this niche.
Pet Services and Supplies
The trend of people treating their pets with the same loving care as they treat their children probably isn’t going away anytime soon. This phenomenon of people doting on their pets extends to all sorts of high-end goods and services.
In a modern variation of the old saying, your home is your castle, statistics show spending continues strong for products and services to keep those homes up to date for modern living. Gains in remodeling activity are expected to continue to be strong in the next several years, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity. So long as people need a place to live, home repair and maintenance businesses should continue growing.
Companies that retrofit homes for accessibility
Far more older people are staying in their homes well into their very old age, and those homes often require retrofits such as wheelchair ramps or stair lifts.
Property Damage Repair
No matter the rate of unemployment or growth in GDP, natural disasters will continue to occur, and families whose homes have been damaged by fire, flood and hurricane will require cleanup.
Services That Capitalize on Economic Trends
In this age of downsizing and increasing automation, many companies now routinely use contract workers and temp staffing project-by-project.
As an integral aspect of 21st-century business, most small businesses outsource their IT support, and some excellent franchises have risen to fulfill this need.
Business owners are always looking for an edge and for ways to improve their operations. Increasingly, they turn to business coaches for guidance on how to solve business problems and take advantage of opportunities.
Why do these professions remain strong even in weak economies? Uncertain times cause more business owners and executives to look for help and advice.
As the “Mad Men” age of advertising fades into distant memory and social media is now king, lots of established businesses need help in reorienting their advertising strategy toward the digital sphere.
Giving back to society while making a living often becomes a goal for mid-career changers who want to shift their lives to focus on ways to contribute to the greater good. While they may be looking for solid six figure incomes, they want to feel that the work they do benefits others.
When rethinking their careers, they’re often interested in finding balance in their lives.
If you’re the type of person who has always wanted a career that allowed you to do well and do good, lots of franchises exist for you. Examples include tutoring, health and wellness, or helping people cope with aging. You can find a franchise to help you advance your career while satisfying your spiritual or altruistic goals.
We see these sort of businesses particularly interest people who enjoy managing others. If you like to mentor and develop your staff, a coaching business might have a lot of appeal to you. Are you strong in getting your team to work together to achieve a goal? Many business owners and managers are very willing to pay for the type of insight you can bring. And a franchise can show you how to market your services to them.
If you hate spending your days looking at spreadsheets full of numbers or selling the latest throwaway widgets from China and wish you could have a direct impact on people’s lives, remember, a franchise can give you the tools you need to succeed in this entirely new line of work.
Capitalize on the Growth in the Senior Care Business
While a distinct economic trend, senior care can also satisfy your desire to do good in the marketplace. In this burgeoning business, the expertise provided by franchise companies can make all the difference to success.
You don’t need any particular knowledge about geriatrics to get into senior care, and with a franchise, you get all the training and ongoing support to teach you what you need to succeed.
As baby boomers get older, increasingly they want to age in place, and eventually many will need in-home care to help them do so, which is why the business of senior care has done so well in recent years. Home health care and personal care aides are among the country’s fastest growing occupations, expected to grow by 38 percent in 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As a result, senior care can be the perfect place for budding entrepreneurs to find a new career niche.
A Franchise Story from the Field
If You Prefer Management, There’s a Franchise for That, Too!
Many franchise companies offer franchises in regional management, in which the franchisee performs many of the franchisor’s tasks for a specific geographic region. In this position, you help create a productive network of franchisees in that region. You will recruit, and train new franchisees then tutor them as they work to get their businesses up and running. This is usually called a Master Franchise or an Area Representative Franchise.
Always Best Care (ABC) is a great example of this model. In the interest of full disclosure, my partner, Ken Garron, and I were area representatives for ABC in the Philadelphia area, until selling our franchise back to the franchisor.
The area representative recruits new franchisees then works to help them succeed.
There is an incentive built into the relationship since the better the franchisees perform, the more money the area representative earns.
For ABC, the most significant challenges new owners face is finding customers and staffing cases, so they can provide care for their clients. Our first goal as area representatives was always to ensure prospective franchisees fully understand their role before they would buy the franchise.
We would make sure the prospective owner was a good fit for the business. This helped us recruit only franchisees who would be successful. It also reassured our prospective franchisees, since they knew that if we invited them to come on board, we must have confidence in their ability to succeed.
After the new franchise owner signs on, the area rep helps them prepare to open. For example, first the franchisees must identify where in their community people get care. Generally, they’ll be looking for skilled nursing facilities, primarily those that specialize in short-term care. People in these facilities will usually be going home soon and may need care when they get there.
Prospective franchisees are brought through a very specific process that includes:
Research – in which you learn about the business model
In the case of ABC, for example, the franchisor advises new franchisees what their first weeks will look like. They will call on the skilled nursing facilities every week, meet with the social worker, and develop a relationship with these people so that they can earn referrals. Prospective franchisees are told they may have to visit the nursing facilities for a couple of months before a social worker will start making referrals to them. During that time, they will have proved themselves credible, that they can work hard and are worthy of taking care of their patients.
At this stage, the area representative acts as a kind of reality check, to help prevent a poor match with a prospective franchisee. When prospective owners learn all that is involved, they may decide the business is not the right one for them. We consider that a successful research process.
If they are not a good fit for the business, it is much better that they learn this before they make an investment.
Once the contract is signed, the first step is working through ABC’s pre-training checklist, which has 85 items. New franchisees complete the items on the checklist before attending their week-long classroom training. During this period, the franchise company helps new franchisees get their insurance and state-required license.
Each state has different requirements, and the franchise company’s experts can save new franchisees a lot of time avoiding mistakes in the application process. The franchise offers the additional advantage of connecting new franchisees with an insurance company that will write them a liability policy. Most insurance companies won’t provide liability coverage for a new health care business. But they do for a new franchisee who is joining a well-established business.
The advertising department will set up your website, and you will order brochures and business cards from existing templates. You will also set up your office to meet HIPAA requirements (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
The franchisee’s area rep calls every day during the three weeks of pre-training to help answer any questions and guide the new franchisee through the process.
Classroom Training at the Company Headquarters
New franchisees go to headquarters for one business week, where they receive classroom training, as well as time in the field. They spend a day visiting existing referral accounts to see what this process feels like. They will also spend time with senior executives and local support staff.
Training in the Field
The field training in their home territories is a minimum of three days. New franchisees spend time with their area rep, knocking on doors together at hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and doctor’s offices.
“Let them know there’s a new guy in town,” Garron said, adding “I’d go out with them as much as they wanted,” noting that typically means a couple of days more than the franchise request before the owners are on their own. After the field training, I would often speak to new franchisees several times per week. They call, or I check in. Since everybody’s income is connected, everyone works together to maximize success.
Franchisees in our region also got an opportunity to share their stories and get support from fellow franchisees at regional meetings three times a year. The point is they should always feel there’s a team behind them.
When you start your own business, you’re not in it by yourself.
This blog sourced from and accredited to Dan Citrenbaum, Author of Own Success;
Permission granted by Dan Citrenbaum