So, You want to give your boss the boot, is a Franchise for you?

To many, the “American Dream” is owning their own business and being “their own boss”. Often a quality Franchise can be the answer to that dream. Franchises have many virtues, but they are not for everyone. Franchisors report that out of 100 people who request information about starting a business, only one percent actually join a franchise. You may ask yourself, “If franchising is so successful (and it is), and a vast majority of franchisees succeed (and they do), why do only one percent of the people invest in a franchise?” That is a logical question. But consider that logic has little to do with it. Most people don’t make logical decisions, they make emotional ones, and the emotional decision is almost always “no”. If you are serious about “going into business”, you must first discipline yourself to think logically and rationally. Although there is a place in successful business operation for emotion, it is a small place. Preparation, discipline, and perseverance are the true keys to success in business. If you have prepared yourself well, then a quality franchise may be right for you. Certainly, the franchisor will have proven the business operation. All you have to do is have the mental discipline to follow the franchise systems, and exercise perseverance to take it to success. Potential franchisees often do not understand that they can’t just “buy” a franchise. Quality franchises are actually awarded to new franchisees. That is because the quality franchisor is as concerned about the quality of the potential franchisee as the potential franchisee is concerned about the franchisor. It must be a match which leads to a quality long term relationship. For the right person(s), a franchise can be their answer to “the American Dream”. Maybe, it will be for you.
Lee Thomas
Placing People in the RIGHT business/franchise for THEIR SUCCESS
888 701-6413

Fear, the Great “Incapcitator”

Fear, the Great “Incapcitator”

There are many reasons why an individual doesn’t pursue the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Some are legitimate reasons, including the fact that personal desires and dreams don’t include being in business for yourself. Some people simply don’t have a desire to be in business for themselves and that is perfectly legitimate.

However, it is interesting to note that studies show that 70% of the people surveyed indicated that they had a desire to own a business, and yet so many never pull that trigger. Sometimes financial constraints, or personal and family reasons, are the inhibitors that simply won’t allow for the beginning of a new venture.

While there are certainly legitimate reasons why a person may not become an entrepreneur, I will focus on a few of the main reasons cited by people that would like to begin a business but haven’t made that leap. I will also offer some thoughts on how to defeat the fear, and progress towards the dream.

Fear of Failure

This particular item is probably the most paralyzing of all. Yet, if we examine all of the successful people we know, both past and present, we will come to understand that they have not been frozen by the fear of failure. That poses the question, should we not try to emulate the practices of those that are successful? If so, then the primary challenge is to shed the fear of failure. They did – all of them. It doesn’t mean they didn’t experience it, but it does mean they climbed past it. They probably blasted past it.

In their book entitled “Power Networking”, Sandy Vilas and Donna Fisher proclaim that ‘life is either a daring adventure or nothing’. Their message is that if you don’t dare to pursue opportunities, then you will be stuck where you are forever. I am a true believer in a similar concept that if there is no risk, then you’re playing it way too safe.

To explain by way of a metaphor, if a basketball player finishes a game with no fouls, they were probably playing too safe, they probably didn’t take chances that should have been taken, and they did not achieve their optimum result. And yet, each foul is a failure – but a failure that is a part of the overall success.

As humans, we have a biological make up that provides for the natural instincts to fight or run. When we feel the fear of failure, we feel anxious and nervous, which causes us to tighten up and quell actions. We then tend to convert to natural defense mechanisms and escape to meaningless and time-eating activities. Instead of taking action, we bury ourselves in television nonsense, newspapers, and computer minutia, or whatever the particular medicine of the day dictates. That’s the run-and-hide reflex.

The result is that vagueness sets in and we lose sight of the important issues that can change our lives for the better. Our natural reaction is out of sight, out of mind – no worries. Of course that means finding solutions or finding change for the better is an impossible feat. The contrary, and effective, line of thought is, bring it out and deal with it. Picture the worst result, and then use your imagination to identify alternatives. Realizing that the worst scenario can have alternatives is powerful medicine, which will relieve the pressure and make action possible.

As you can imagine, the most powerful, the most successful, have faced the fear, acted upon it, and realized that they can survive it. That realization is a tremendous springboard to prosperity. Susan Jeffers said, “feel the fear and do it anyway”.

If I had to summarize six steps or thoughts to deal with the fear of failure they would be:

1) Act boldly
2) Persist and never, ever give up
3) It’s not personal
4) Change things, change results; keep things the same, don’t expect different results
5) Ease up on yourself – tomorrow’s coming anyway
6) Look for possibilities – there are always alternatives

One final thought about this subject – fear incapacitates unsuccessful people.

Lee Thomas, Placing People in the RIGHT Business/Franchise for Their SUCCESS
Franchises Paths to Success
303 739-5160,

Boomerpreneurs Becoming Self-Employed

Boomers Turning into “Boomerpreneurs”:

- More than half of boomers start their own businesses because they want to work for themselves, not because of need

- The number of self-employed Canadians aged 55 years and older doubled between 1990 and 2008

- The most commonly cited sources for funding a new business are withdrawals from personal savings or loans

Canadian Boomers will be making the most of their down time, with millions expected to launch “semi-retirement” businesses as their careers wind down, according to a report from the BMO Retirement Institute.

The report found the following:

  • More than half (52 per cent) of Boomers surveyed are drawn to entrepreneurial activity because they like the idea of working for themselves.
  • Only 11 per cent cited job loss as the reason for launching a new company.
  • The most commonly cited source for funding for Boomers looking to start a business is a withdrawal from personal savings (42 per cent); taking out a loan follows at 21 per cent.

“For an increasing number of Canadians, retirement isn’t about a definitive shift from work to leisure,” said Tina Di Vito, Head, BMO Retirement Institute. “Rather, it’s more of an extended transition that involves a combination of both.”

This “Boomerpreneur” trend, where Canadians on the cusp of retirement are looking to realize their self-employment dreams, is expected to grow as Boomers start to retire in greater numbers over the next few years. However, those considering it should understand that entrepreneurship involves an enormous financial commitment that is best managed with the assistance of an experienced financial professional.

This year, the first of the Boomers became eligible for retirement (65 years old). As Canadians start to retire in greater numbers, the “Boomerpreneur” phenomenon could lead to Canada experiencing a surge of new businesses that, planned and managed prudently, should provide a positive economic boost in the long-term. Conversely, the lack of sufficient preparation could have an overall negative effect on the economy and the business owner.

Some advice to Boomerpreneurs-to-be:

  • Do your research – Take advantage of your resources to learn all you need to know to set up your company. This includes gaining industry insight, arranging a new phone number, deciding whether or not to incorporate the business and looking into the potential tax implications.
  • Consider the pros and cons – Think carefully about why you want to start your own business. Being your own boss can offer some flexibility. However, other sacrifices, such as longer hours and a possible decrease in cash flow, may be necessary to ensure your success.
  • Develop a plan – Stress-test your idea and research your marketplace, including what products and services you will be offering, their appropriate price point(s), who your potential customers are and what your sales targets will need to be to cover your costs. Keep your end goal in mind as you build your company and maintain a positive, yet realistic, outlook as you progress.
  • Seek outside advice – Speak to an accountant and a small business banker. Financial specialists can provide insight into setting up your company, market competition, personal and business capital and how it may change over time.

Could this also be true here in the good ole USA?

Lee Thomas, “Placing People in the RIGHT Franchise for Their SUCCESS”

Franchise Paths to Success

888 701-6414

Medical, Drug Test Franchises are a new, emerging franchise opportunity

Buying a franchise used to mean getting into the fast food business or opening a convenience store. But these days, franchise opportunities cover the gamut of potential businesses — and an increasing number of would-be entrepreneurs are looking at health care as a place to hang their shingles.
In recent years, home health care and related businesses have been a growing area for franchises. Now the next frontier may be drug and medical testing. Two local businesswomen are pursuing this business niche, one as a franchisor, the other as a franchisee.
Lynette Crow is a former registered nurse who started Conspire, which provides drug and alcohol testing, in 2000 at 1495 Garden of the Gods Road. Believing she had developed a stable business that fills a need, she began looking at franchising the concept in 2009 and now has a franchise in Denver, one about to open in Fort Worth, Texas, and three or four more in the works.
Crow says she knows “conspire” usually has negative connotations, but she likes it and is sticking with the name.
“If you look it up in the dictionary, it means ‘to come together for a solution,’” Crow said.
“People either love it or they hate it,” said Tracy Iverson, director of franchise development for Conspire.
“It draws a lot of curiosity and a lot of questions.”
Drug and alcohol testing for pre-employment screenings, random workplace tests and, increasingly, schools or parents is a booming area, Crow said.
Conducting tests, however, doesn’t require a full-scale laboratory setting (that’s outsourced) or an extensive medical background, since all of the tests are noninvasive, she said.
Conspire also does criminal and online background checks.
“It’s all about safety and prevention,” Crow said.
“For us, there’s a huge need that isn’t going away.”
Amy Mullins worked in real estate and saw trouble coming in that field back in 2008.
After considering restaurants and other franchise opportunities, she bought the area franchise for Any Lab Test Now, which conducts a wide variety of medical tests in a retail setting, most for $49.
She’s working to open a second Any Lab Test Now location by September and plans a third next year.
“It’s not just a business, I truly feel that we’re helping people,” Mullins said.
Mullins’ storefront at 7824B N. Academy Blvd. has a team of phlebotomists for blood draws and other procedures, and some of the testing is done on-site.
With so many people losing their insurance coverage or switching to high-deductible policies, the retail environment and pricing at Any Lab Test Now saves people a lot of money over conventional lab work, Mullins said.
“If they’re high-deductible, they’re better off coming to us,” she said. “If they’re cash-pay only, it’s a no-brainer coming to us.”
She also gets customers who come in for a test out of concern or curiosity, often even before they see a doctor.
“We’re a first step for them,” Mullins said. “There’s so many people that are, ‘Oh, I don’t need to see a doctor, but I do wonder about this.’”
Matt Haller, director of communications for the International Franchise Association, said nontraditional franchises are taking off, and there are currently 295 business categories represented in the association.
“It’s really growing tremendously in these nontraditionally franchised areas — lab testing, home care,” he said. “Anything where you can duplicate the model can be franchised.”
“It’s a message that we really try to drive home — there really can be something for everybody in franchising. A lot of people who might not have considered it because they don’t want to own a McDonald’s, maybe they would be interested in a home-remodeling business.”
As the nation stumbles out of the recession, finding financing to start a new business is still a challenge (see sidebar). Crow said her franchisees so far have paid in cash, either from savings or borrowing from a retirement fund. The total startup costs for Conspire are in the $100,000 range, Iverson said.
“$100,000 isn’t a big investment when you’re buying a business,” she said. “We’re a low-risk concept and we’re need-driven.”
Mullins said going with an established franchise gave her confidence in investing her savings in a new business.
“I wanted to go with a franchise simply because the success rate that the Small Business Administration shows, it’s astronomical how many franchises still exist five years later versus (independent) small business startups,” Mullins said.
“I wanted something that would last.”
Often, entrepreneurs find strength in adversity and strike out on their own in a recession. That’s been hard to do in the current downturn, however, since many people who would like to try their hand running a business can’t get conventional loans and can’t borrow against their house or retirement funds.
Matt Haller, communications director for the International Franchise Association, said there is a $2 billion shortfall in the amount of lending available for franchisees compared with demand.
“The demand is there, but it’s a lot harder for a startup franchisee to get capital,” Haller said. “Borrowers have less capital, they have less assets — real estate obviously took a big hit, home equity lines are virtually nonexistent now.”
That means thousands of potential businesses and tens of thousands of jobs are not being created, he said.
“At a minimum, there is a 20 percent lending shortfall versus the demand that’s out there,” Haller said. “What that means in terms of on-the-ground jobs is 82,000 jobs not created.”
Government-backed small-business lending has rebounded since 2008, said Mia Fagley, business development specialist for the Small Business Administration’s Colorado District.
“The number of loans has increased,” she said. “The dollar amount has increased pretty significantly.”
Indeed, in Colorado the total number of SBA loans to startup businesses in the first two quarters of 2011 is already nearly equal to the total number in 2010 and above 2009’s total.
“Certainly the SBA has been a lifeline — they saw a record loan volume in the fourth quarter,” Haller said. “The joke is that the SBA used to be the lender of last resort, now it’s the lender of only resort.”
Lee Thomas, Placing People in the RIGHT Franchise for Their SUCCESS
Franchise Paths to Success
888 701-6413

Is Getting an SBA Loan for You?

Going through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s loan process can be a long, mind-numbing process of paperwork. Fortunately, there are ways to trim down the time — particularly for would-be franchise owners.
On the plus side, an SBA-backed loan could be an attractive option for young businesses and startups that don’t have a sustained history of financial performance, said Ron Box in the Journal of Accountancy. For a business needing to restructure debt, such a loan could offer a longer term — and therefore a lower monthly cost — over traditional bank loans.
But on the downside, an SBA loan requires more information than its commercial bank alternative, Box wrote.
The SBA process can also be time-consuming, California Bank & Trust Vice President Rachel Zippwald told the Journal of Accountancy. That bank also is an SBA lender. For planning purposes, applicants can request a time estimate from the SBA for consideration of the loan.
To cut down on that time spent maneuvering through paperwork, the SBA has pre-approved certain franchise opportunities and has accepted their business agreements. So when a hopeful franchisee wants to get an SBA-backed loan for a franchise on the list, the process becomes streamlined and the loan review less complex, according to the SBA’s Small Business Cents blog. The loan review focuses more on specific aspects of that franchisee’s plan rather than the whole business organization.
The Franchise Registry keeps the searchable database of SBA-approved franchises in partnership with the SBA.
Just because a franchise opportunity is on that registry, doesn’t mean a would-be franchisee gets automatic approval; nor does it mean that the franchise is endorsed over another not on the list. A franchisor may have simply opted out of the registry.
During the SBA loan process, lenders will want to see information including:
• Business profile: Don’t assume a lender will know what the industry or business is like. This is where the history of the business, the service or product offered, future plans, customers, competitors and other information is given.
• Management experience: The info should include the resumes of each owner and key manager, according to the SBA.
• Loan repayment: This should tell how the loan will be repaid.
• Financial statements: Both personal and business statements as well as the past three years of income tax returns, among other items need to be submitted.
• Proposed business and projections: These should include plans for future operations at least a year out.
Wells Fargo’s vice president of SBA lending, Thomas Burke, told the Philadelphia Business Journal that someone looking for an SBA-backed loan should enlist the help of an accountant or business consultant to advise on how best to navigate the SBA loan process and be prepared with the paperwork.
The SBA-backed loans do offer an avenue for funding that may not be available elsewhere, so with preparation and research, the loan process can be smoother.
Lee Thomas, Franchise Paths to Success
“Placing people in the RIGHT franchise for their SUCCESS”
888 701 6413,