Since the appearance last December of Annie Lowrey’s article Grown-Up Start Ups, the buzz about the higher success rate of older entrepreneurs has grown unabated, catching the attention of journalists at the Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. We’ve even seen special attention paid to the recent boom in older franchisees by Market Watch, an affiliate of the Wall Street Journal.
News to the Wall Street Journal, maybe, but the success of older business owners isn’t news to us. We love getting older applicants for a Kiddie Academy franchise. Older applicants often offer years of business experience, smart decision-making skills, and well-built networks of family, friends and business associates, all of which are ingredients for business success.
Franchising can be a great choice for older entrepreneurs, taking the work, risk and years out of creating and testing a business model, while still allowing you to be your own boss. Good franchisors also provide a clear path for growth, making expansion attainable much more quickly.
But not all franchise opportunities are a good match for older entrepreneurs. If you or someone you know is considering a second career as a business owner, consider the following points carefully when evaluating a franchise opportunity:
• Choose your industry wisely. Food and convenience franchise businesses can be time-intensive, sometimes demanding 12- to 14-hour days. Industries such as child care, and senior care are more likely to offer opportunities that don’t require full-time hands-on management and allow you to set your own schedule.
• Your own franchise business is something you may be able to pass on to your family – check with franchisors to see if you can do so, as not all franchisors allow it.
• Choose a proven concept – a franchisor with 10 years franchising experience minimum. Put your experience to work running a proven business rather than spending years helping a young franchisor work out a new one.
• Carefully evaluate the amount of support provided. If you’re paying a royalty fee to a franchisor, make sure that you’re getting excellent operational and marketing support in return. Talk to current franchisees and see how much the franchisor really takes off their plate.
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