Franchise opportunities are growing. While fast food and quick service restaurants dominate the franchise arena, ‘Health and Wellness’ is the second fastest growing sector. There are weight loss centers, supplement retail stores and home health/senior home care businesses with Franchisors such as FirstLight Home Care. This means the opportunities for business ownership are growing, especially for those that want to get into the booming healthcare industry. Whether you have just considered the idea of franchise ownership, or are beginning the process of investigating franchise systems, I would like to offer some advice to help you make the right choice when selecting a franchise. It is critical to insure you find the “right fit” for both your search criteria, as well as, the franchise owner criteria of the franchisor.
Tip 1: Be Inspired
You have to feed your passion. Your chance of prosperity increases exponentially if you have a burning desire for the industry. That said don’t be blinded by passion, make sure that you complete your due diligence. Don’t buy a franchise because you think it looks attractive and you want to jump into healthcare, instead buy a franchise because you have thoroughly researched the market, the environmental factors and the product/service being offered. Is this something you can enjoy thinking about or managing every day?
In the senior/home care business you need to be inspired by helping people and working with people everyday. If you are not a “people person,” senior care is not the right selection. Once you know where your inspiration comes from, pay attention to the corporate culture of the Franchisor and make sure it is in sync with your ideals so that you will be able to thrive in that system. If you have passion for your business and for the system you work within, you will have a personal investment in addition to a financial investment. This combination positions you for achievement. Make sure you feel very strongly about the culture, the team and the approach and will continue to be inspired by your work for years to come.
Tip 2: Know Your Needs
You need to take inventory of the most precious resource – YOU! Undertake a brutally honest self-assessment to understand where you thrive, where you lack skills and in what areas of the business you are most comfortable or uncomfortable. With this in mind, clearly understand the levels of support the Franchisor provides. Some franchise systems have great operational support but rely on the owner for sales outreach, if this is the case, do you have the drive for sales? If you are a strong sales person, but don’t have any business financial experience, you will want to buy a franchise with strong financial training and support. Be sure to check the details and the commitment level of the franchisor.
At FirstLight Home Care we require a two-person approach right from the start in order to allow one person to focus on networking/ community outreach and the other to focus on operations/caregiver recruiting. We understand that most people don’t excel in both skill sets and from experience, we know networking/outreach and operational/recruiting skills are required for the highest growth potential. We want our franchise owners best positioned to excel and this is one of the ways we help make that happen. It is important to be honest with yourself about what skills you bring to the table and where you will need support to excel.
Tip 3: Have Personal Support
Embarking on a new business venture not only requires business acumen, you’ll need a personal support system to provide encouragement, guidance and help you achieve your life goals. From a business perspective, you need Franchisor support, but what about your fears and insecurities? Do you have the emotional wherewithal to sustain a small business?
All new business endeavors are challenging, especially in the beginning. Owning a business will always come with a set of emotional and leadership challenges and you need a support system to continually face and meet those challenges. Your friends and family may be great sounding boards, but also consider who your mentor(s) can be. If you don’t have a business mentor, start by having informal meetings with other business owners you know for the purpose of discussing business related issues. This is a great way to get expert advice, solve common challenges and alleviate fears. Having a personal support system is just as important as having a great Franchisor support system.
In summary, matching personal interest with the industry opportunity, honest self-assessment and a personal support network are crucial elements for anyone considering a franchise. Don’t leave home without it.