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How buying a franchise can help you break though the “Gray Ceiling”

It’s the fault of those Baby Boomers, really, or so statisticians are telling us. That great mass of people born between the years of 1946 and 1964 are now firmly ensconced in upper management positions in corporate America, and those underneath, say in their late 30s to mid 40s, are finding their own career advancement put on hold as the Boomers, like the Energizer Bunny, just keep going and going and going.

The leading edge of Boomers is turning 62 this year, which is still a few years shy of traditional retirement age. But, and again we’re getting this information from statisticians as well as a peak at our own bank account, Boomers are hardly in a position to retire anytime soon. Boomers much prefer spending to saving for a rainy day and that paltry 401K they have will perhaps last a decade, if they’re lucky, not the 25 years they expect to live after retirement. And Social Security? If they plan to camp in a cardboard box after retirement, their Social Security pension may be enough for groceries, that’s if inflation doesn’t push the price of a loaf of bread up higher than the national debt.

This means that all of you late Boomers and the generations that follow are stuck below a “Gray Ceiling” of executives who won’t be moving on any time soon to make way for you.

If this is your reality, there is another path you can take: buy a franchise.

When you buy a franchise, you own your own business. It’s as simple as that. No working weekends on reports and then letting someone else take the credit. No increasing a company’s profits through your hard work only to find the CEO and company stockholders get big checks while you get a big nothing.

Owing your own business means you get all the profit and glory of your hard work, as well as all the pain and frustration of failure. When you buy a franchise, however, you are minimizing your risk of failure over starting a business from scratch because an enormous amount of work has been done for you.

Is franchising an option for you? Take a look at what buying a franchise can mean to a bright, hardworking and highly motivated middle manager.
1. You can use the skills you have

What’s middle management about anyway but using leadership skills in mentoring, coaching, organizing, negotiation, communication, time management and planning? These are precisely the skills you will need to find, hire, schedule and motivate your employees.

As your own project manager (usually with the assistance of your franchisor), you will oversee the selection of your site, negotiate your lease, and supervise the build out of your store.

Your proficiency at sales, marketing and networking will be essential to the success of your business and you will hone your skills in customer service.

2.  You can learn new skills

The skills you bring to your new business are impressive and will take you a long way towards your goals. But don’t you have a yearning to learn something new? I thought so!

Franchising is the ideal way to lean a completely new business while making use of the skills and talents you already have. For example, you can move from a career in finance to owning your own personal service business, such as a maid service or dry cleaning pick up and delivery. You won’t be doing the actual work, you’ll be managing employees and your financial acumen will help you control all aspects of the business to a “T.”

If you have a yen for something more hands on, add excitement and flavor to your neighborhood by opening a photography franchise or a coffee shop. Never printed an 8x10 or frothed milk for a caramel latte? Not to worry – you’ll receive expert instruction in everything you need to know.

The point is that all the skills you’ve learned in life to date are just what some franchisor is looking for in a franchisee. Even better, the franchising industry provides some of the best and most concise training you’ll ever receive. Once accepted by a franchisor, you’ll be given training in how to manage and run your business.

If you have an unmet desire, you can probably find a franchise that will help you fulfill it. You can use your artistic flair to help people matt and frame pictures. Or you can help businesses in your area by providing signage. Never done anything like that before? Don’t worry. You’ll receive training in everything from how to display merchandise to how to handle returns.

The real beauty of owning a franchise is that everything that doesn’t work in that particular business has been eliminated and what’s left is a business model that does work and a team dedicated to making sure you can manage every aspect.

3. You can choose the type of business, the size, and the hours you work

There are thousands of franchise companies in the U.S. and they’re not all fast food. This means that you will have a very large selection of business from which to choose. To begin, you should decide how much money you want to invest, what type of hours you want to work, how hands-on you want to be and which of your many skills you most enjoy using.

If you are a people person, for example, you may want to find a business that will put you in direct contact with your customers. If you prefer to be behind the scenes, a business where you can manage a manager would be better.

Don’t forget that you will be taking your income from this business so how big do you want to go and how hard are you willing to work?

There are other considerations, as well. What kind of business would make you wake up every morning, excited about the new day? Do you have a desire to make a difference in your community? Help the environment by refilling printer cartridges or provide educational aid to struggling children with a tutoring franchise.  If your pet is numero uno in your family, you’re not alone. Pet pampering is big business and there are numerous franchises that cater to our desire to give pets the attention they need. You could consider a franchise that boards, washes or trains Sparky or perhaps just cleans up the lawn after him.

4. You can reap the rewards of your own work, for a change

No one will tell you that owning your own business isn’t hard work. You need to be prepared to work long hours, particularly as the business ramps up, and will generally have to be in business for months or years before the business turns a profit.

But once you do make a profit, it’s your profit. Well, all except the royalty that most franchise companies charge. In consideration for the use of the brand and the system, the comprehensive initial training, the ongoing training and support, research and development, and numerous other benefits of belonging to a franchise system, you’ll have to pay a royalty, which is usually based on a percentage of the gross sales. The average royalty is between 5 and 8%.

This royalty is how a franchise company makes money and is important to keeping the system as a whole healthy and growing.

Is there money to be made in franchising? The answer is a resounding YES. Franchise owners not only take control of their career goals, they can master their financial goals as well. If you choose your business well and follow your franchisor’s directions, you should be able to reap the rewards of your hard work.

Once you own your own, profitable franchise business, you can give those Gray Ceiling Boomers the brush off − or better yet, sign them up as customers!

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