By Pete Gilfillan, best-selling author of HIRE YOURSELF: Control Your Own Destiny through Franchise Ownership.
Putting together a solid business plan before you file any applications or sit down with a finance company, a loan officer—even with a family member—will help you make a clear, compelling case for funding. Your business plan should include each of these basic components:
When I was in the fourth grade, I had to sell fertilizer to help support my school’s hockey team. My dad decided that I was going to sell more than any other kid on the team. He rehearsed my sales pitch with me, then dropped me off at an enormous subdivision of maybe 300 homes, and told me to knock on every single door and try to make a sale. After he drove off, I looked down the first street at all those houses and all those closed doors, then I took a deep breath and started knocking.
Financial security. Career stability. On the most basic level it’s what we all work for—the ability to hit the pillow at night knowing we are, and will continue to be, able to provide. It’s easy to think that once you’ve got a corporate job and a substantial paycheck, you’re set. But in this day and age, that’s a myth. The fact is, the kind of career and financial stability provided by corporate employers gets more fickle and fleeting with every passing year. As a franchise consultant who’s worked with countless candidates who got caught unprepared by corporate moves that pushed them down or out, I know from experience that if you want true career and income stability, you might want to start thinking about building it for yourself.
Classic comedian Milton Berle once quipped, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” In a nutshell, that’s what many aspiring entrepreneurs are looking to do. Becoming an entrepreneur through franchising offers many different ways to build that door, depending on whether you want to gradually build a bridge from your corporate job while still working or whether you’re ready to go all-in right away. For example, I recently worked with a candidate who already owns a business in one industry. He wanted to diversify his investments, and told me he could set aside 10 to 15 hours a week to give to a second business. We were able to find a perfect opportunity for him in a fitness franchise—one that allowed him to add his new business to his existing schedule, rather than trade one for the other.