So, here we are in 2006 and you may still be trying to figure out what to do with the rest of your life. If self-employment has been a long-time dream, you might wonder “How does one get there and minimize risk?” Or if you are tired of the corporate life and want to control your own destiny, you may wonder “Can I break free from the corporate cult?”
The answer to minimizing your risk, controlling your destiny and uncapping your earnings potential could be through a franchise business. Franchising a business format has been around for more than 貓移民 60 years. And this style of business is more than just a booming trend. According to the International Franchise Association, franchised sales account for almost 10% of private sector output and 1 in 7 jobs in the US. These businesses are so hot that top business schools, such as Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, are adding franchise classes to their elective curriculums and those classes have waiting lists.
A common potential issue business owners face, especially those with already lucrative careers, is how will you continue to take care of your obligations while you build your dream? Recent research suggests that you can turn dreams into reality through planning for your business, researching industries, building your business in stages and focusing on the many benefits of self-employment. Many day-job converts soon realize that you can either work hard for someone else or you can work hard for yourself.
I often hear “But, I didn’t spend time building my nice life to turn around and make sandwiches all day”. Want to know a secret? Franchises are no longer all about food. In fact, less than 30% of franchise opportunities are food. That means an incredible range of self-employment opportunities especially in the lucrative business to business professional sector. Amazingly, there is a franchise for almost any type of business in the US economy. The trick is to pick the right one for you.
With literally thousands of franchises, which ones are on the upswing? What trends seem to be the most sustainable? Is one of these right for you? For 2006, here are the latest trends and opportunities for you to review:
PETS: The pet industry is hot and Americans love their pets The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association estimates that pet owners took pride in spending $36 billion on lavish products and services for their pooches, kitty cats and other members of the animal kingdom. With this continued trend of doling out whatever it takes to make our furry friends happy and comfortable, some specific money-makers include doggy day cares, walking and sitting services, pet supply stores, gourmet treats and mobile pet grooming.
KIDS: According to Admissions Consultants in Virginia, the competition for college is fierce for a number of reasons. First, an “echo” of births from Baby Boomers – not expected to peak until 2008- and immigrant families with teenage children coupled with learning institutions not increasing the number of slots for freshman classes is pushing the demand for limited openings. Second, a constant increase since 1970 of college attendance across all economic levels means more kids are vying for limited space at the nation’s top schools
As a result the need for supplemental child education programs is growing to ensure Johnny and Suzy make it to college. Competition amongst students is not only intense but it starts early. Additionally, inadequate or second-rate public education pile on the need. Supplemental education ranges from art classes, science programs, supplemental math and English tutoring programs as well as fitness focused programs. And, don’t forget the myriad of sports and fitness clinics that teach better athletics for well rounded kids. High school students enrolling in a supplemental review class for the SATs is now common place when it used to be just for upper income families. Now, middle class families have increased disposable income and want similar perks for their kids. It is a perfect industry for the stay at home spouse who loves kids and wants a fun and rewarding part-time business.
FOOD: Quick-serve restaurants are more and more popular. The National Restaurant Association estimates sales in 2005 exceeded $134 billion, up nearly 5% from the previous year. People today want fresh and healthy options that fit into their busy lifestyle. The fast food days of the golden arches and the colonel are fading. More importantly, people are also willing to pay more for these quality options. Baby boomers who grew up on fast food are now getting older and realizing that a healthy diet can make a huge impact on their health. The biggest trends involve salads, soups, sandwiches and other healthy options that make people feel good about their meal and snack choices.
eBAY CONSIGNMENT STORES: The eBay phenomenon continues as one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. With close to 170 million eBay users worldwide and growing, an eBay auction company could be your bid for financial success. Almost every household has “stuff” they would love to sell but don’t know how. With your eBay business, you take the pain out of listing on-line and collecting payment in return for 30%-50% of the sale. What a great deal for the franchisee since you are not buying or owning any inventory. And what about the potential buying and selling opportunities for anything from cars to designer handbags to vintage comic books? To ensure success, franchisees are given extensive training on how to value items, “selling strategies” to optimize bids and ways to market the business.
FITNESS, WEIGHT LOSS AND WELLNESS: Many have thought this industry was saturated but new concepts emerge every year as people are willing to try almost anything to look fabulous. Curves is a runaway success and proof that the search for fresh approaches to looking and feeling better are unending. And, why not? Millions of Americans every year start a new program to lose weight, look better, feel better and avoid obesity. Approximately, 33% of Americans made fitness their #1 New Year’s resolution in 2006, up from 26% last year. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sports Club Association, health club memberships increased nearly 5% to over 41 million members in 2005. But, weight management isn’t the only definition of fitness and health. Pampering one’s self, matching outward appearance with inward attitude and attacking stress reduction, stimulate the rapid growth of day and medical spas. As long we are all searching for the fountain of youth, the wellness industry will continue to boom.
SENIOR CARE: 2006 is the year that the first Baby Boomers turn 60. By today’s standards 60 is young. But just as this group had an impact on the labor market and education system, this massive group of Americans will have an impact on resources for the retired and elderly. Most of the “senior population” are opting not to live in a senior care facility and insisting on living in their own house. While living at home provides a better quality of life and is less costly than most alternatives, it provides a dilemma for seniors and their families. The collision of aging and independence means Americans will cope with illness, loss of mobility and the effects of aging, increasing the demand to provide medical and non-medical in-home care. In addition, some seniors may need a helping hand for a few hours a day while others will want a full-time arrangement. With this segment ready to explode, franchisors catering to this market offer full training programs to teach franchisees on how to successfully hire caregivers, manage the business and market it in their local areas.