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The Pros and Cons of Buying a Franchise Straight Out of College

Aug 17, 2007
In today's rapidly changing economy, college graduates realize that embarking on a steady career that will last many years with one company is a reality of the past. More likely than not, college graduates will change jobs multiple times over the course of their professional lives, and job security will be something they only dream of. As a result, more and more young men and women entering the workforce are exploring options outside of the traditional 9-5 job. For the entrepreneurial thinker, buying a franchise will rank high on this list of possibilities. Yet, despite the inarguable success of numerous franchises and countless franchise owners across the country and around the world, is venturing into the franchise business the right choice for a recent college graduate?

Persuasive cases exist on both sides of the issue, and in order for each individual to make the best personal decision on whether to pursue a franchise opportunity, he or she should take time to evaluate several factors involved in franchise business opportunities. The following are several pros and cons of making the college-to-franchise transition.

The Pros

1) No Experience?... No Problem

Because franchises succeed based on a proven system of operation, capitalizing on franchise opportunities requires little to no previous experience. Rather, established franchises provide the tools necessary to make your business profitable, including training manuals, marketing and PR, and full support for your endeavor. Consider, for example, any popular restaurant franchise. The franchise owner does not need to spend time or energy on advertising and marketing, as the parent corporation ensures the development and implementation of marketing strategies. In the same way, the franchise owner does not need to research best business practices to determine how to operate his or her particular store. He or she needs only to follow the tried and true pattern of operation that is already in place.

2) Early Independence with Less Risk

Few things are more gratifying than building a business in which you work for yourself and are able to see and keep the fruits of your labor. With interest in entrepreneurship increasingly on the rise, more and more young professionals are looking for ways to generate an income and create a lifestyle while working for themselves. Because of the systems of success already in place with franchise business opportunities, young entrepreneurs can minimize business start-up risks while maximizing their potential for success.

3) Organizational Support

Today's young business owners are not alone in navigating the at-times-rough waters of entrepreneurship. Organizations such as the Small Business Administration in the United States and the Young Entrepreneurs Association in Canada provide useful information, tools, and resources to help business owners on the path to success.

As positive as the pros are, however, as with any decision, it is equally important to weigh the cons. When determining whether a business franchise is right for you, consider the following.

The Cons

1) Leadership Skills

As a recent college graduate, you may have extensive by-the-book business knowledge and be able to foresee assets and liabilities without a blink of the eye. But many franchise opportunities also require the ability to lead a staff of people. It is important to ask yourself if you know the principles of hiring and firing, and if you are comfortable managing people even if difficult and stressful situations. Some experts recommend that before you step into the role of employer, you might benefit from first spending some time as an employee, particularly in the franchise industry which you are planning to pursue.

2) Financial Capabilities

Even when it pays off in the long run, up-front franchise financing can be a costly endeavor, and it is not uncommon for franchises to take at least a year or longer to break even. In fact, it is uncommon for them not to. Do you have the resources to fund your franchise venture while still being able to provide for your basic needs such as food and shelter? And, are you willing to stick with your franchise even through any early difficult days and see it through to the profitable days ahead?

3) Industry Interest

As with any business endeavor, to become successful in a franchise business opportunity, you must be committed to persevering for the long haul. Have you done enough research to ensure as much as possible that the franchise you have chosen is one that you will be able to enthusiastically devote yourself to for several years to come? Are you letting your passion dictate the franchise you choose, or are franchise opportunities dictating your passion? To be successful, be sure that it is the former and never the latter.

The franchising market is strong and growing larger by the day. From 2004 to 2005 along, there was an 11% increase in the number of franchise units! Given the incredible growth of this industry, it is natural that it will remain a serious consideration for any young college graduates seeking to reap the benefits of free enterprise. And with the many types of business available, franchise opportunities offer numerous industries to fit with individual interests and talents. Honestly considering the above pros and cons will help you in your decision on whether starting a franchise business straight out of college is right for you.
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