Sunday, 8 January 2012

Success Stories in Franchising: Series II









There are countless success stories in franchise business. The successful people in their franchise businesses are making incredible success in their wealth and well-being with their passion and dedication. In this series, I am going to introduce you the franchise businesses for women and tell you three stories of successful women franchisees.
·         Franchises for Stay-at-Home Moms
·         The Best of Both Worlds: Being a Mother and a Franchisee
·         From Entrepreneur to Franchisor: One Woman's Journey
·         A Unique Relationship: Husbands and Wives Who Own Different Franchise Concepts
You can definitely make another success story by taking one of the many opportunities listed in http://www.franchisant.com.



Franchises for Stay-at-Home Moms

If you're a stay-at-home mom looking to earn income, a home-based franchise may be your ticket to entrepreneurship. 

Home-based businesses offer flexibility and strong earning potential 

Being a stay-at-home mom doesn't mean you can't have a source of income. Many busy moms used to juggling kids, chores, and other obligations are starting businesses in droves, and home-based franchises are one popular route to entrepreneurship. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, college-educated, Gen X moms are leading the home-based business charge. 


Maria Bailey, a Pompano Beach, Florida expert on the mom market and author of Marketing to Moms, tells Entrepreneur, "Our research shows that two out of three stay-at-home moms are generating some kind of income."

Be Your Own Boss with a Safety Net
A franchise can allow you to be your own boss. Nevertheless, you'll have the access to training and support from an established company that you wouldn't get by starting a business on your own. Whatever your goals and lifestyle, you should be able to find a franchise offering a good fit for your skills and talents. Take a look at the following suggestions for franchises for stay-at-home moms.

Services for Kids
The tutoring industry is raking in about $4 billion a year, according to the Wall Street Journal, and is expected to continue booming as parents look for ways to give their children an academic edge. If you already help your kids and their friends with homework, a tutoring business may be a smart choice for a home-based business.

As a SpanishFUN franchisee, you could introduce young children to the basics of Spanish as a second language, as well as work with local childcare centers and preschools. SpanishFUN doesn't require any teaching experience or knowledge of a second language to get started.
Another educational franchise that may appeal to you is Mad Science. This business involves providing a variety of fun and educational science programs to schools, community centers, camps, libraries, and other places that serve children.

Pets Are Big Business
About 63% of U.S. households own pets, and those households will spend an estimated $40.8 billion on their pets in 2007, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. About $2.7 billion of that will go toward pet services such as grooming and boarding, so why not cash in on that need?
Buying a Pets Are Inn franchise will allow you to board pets in your home while their owners are on vacation. This service appeals to people who would prefer to leave their pets in a private residence rather than a kennel. If you enjoy grooming pets, an Aussie Pet Mobile franchise can get you started with taking your services on the road.

Use Your Home Decorating Skills
Not everyone can make a room come together when decorating, so if you're good in this area a home decorating franchise may be a good fit. Dcor & You offers training and support to franchisees, and you don't need previous training in the field of interior decorating. Having good organizational skills, attention to detail, and strong communication skills are assets that will serve you well in a home decorating business.
Another home-based decorating franchise is Budget Blinds. As a franchisee you'll help people choose and install custom window coverings.

Moving to the Beat of Entrepreneurship
The $14.1 billion fitness industry continues to grow, according to Club Solutions Magazine. More and more Americans over the age of 55 are joining fitness programs, causing the fitness industry to change to accommodate their health needs. Owning a Jazzercise franchise can allow you to offer dance fitness classes to people of all ages. As a Jazzercise instructor you can offer classes to people at community centers, schools, and other places in your community.

Finding the right franchise will require researching businesses that match your strengths and interests. Choose a home-based franchise that you'll enjoy building into a successful business. Being a business owner requires a huge commitment, so it's also important to consider your specific family obligations when deciding how much time you'll be able to devote to your home-based franchise.

Explore the various franchise opportunities available to you today!  Click here.


The Best of Both Worlds: Being a Mother and a Franchisee


By Pamela Gold

"I came from an entrepreneurial family. I learned a great deal of work ethic from my family and their businesses. From the beginning, I learned that through great successes and through failures, you try your best. When you fail, it becomes a learning experience and when you succeed, you truly enjoy it. Those were the only values I ever knew and when it came time for me to have a career, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that I would be a business owner as well. I believe that just as I learned from my family, my daughter will learn from me and grow up with the same work ethics and values. I think the fact that I own my own business will be a huge benefit to my daughter as she grows up," explained Michelle Spitzer, owner of the Naples, Florida MaidPro franchise that currently does one million dollars worth of business per year.

Women Business Owners
According to the Small Business Administration's Office of Women's Business Ownership, women are starting businesses at twice the rate of all new business start-ups and they're staying in business longer. Women-owned businesses contribute over $1.15 trillion in sales and revenue to the U.S. economy. Why these trends are occurring is unclear, but the fact is that women bring to the business world strength, confidence, the ability to juggle many tasks at once, and more.

Women's business associations are popping up everywhere. From the SBA's Office of Women's Business Ownership, which can be found on the web at http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/1/2895 to smaller web sites dedicated to supporting women in business or working mothers, there are plenty of informative or supportive organizations with wonderful web sites. Try searching on your favorite search engine. Keywords such as working mothers and women in business will lead you to many resources. Also, for franchise-related information you can go to the International Franchise Association's web site and check out the information on the Women's Franchise Committee ( http://www.franchise.org/FranchiseeSecondary.aspx?id=22132).

Industry Makes a Difference
Like any business, the industry you choose makes a huge difference in how much work you will have to do and how flexible your schedule will be. There's no doubt that when you're your own boss, you make most of the rules and you make your own schedule. However, owning a convenience store that' opened 24 hours a day, 365 days a week will yield a very different owner experience when compared to owning a children's dance program where a schedule is set and followed. How do you choose the right industry for you? The key is to do your research. Talk to current franchisees in similar life circumstances for example, other busy moms.

"The house cleaning industry is so wonderful because it allows people to have flexible schedules. I earned pocket money by house cleaning when my children were very young. I had 2-year old twins and a 6-year old at the time and I was able to clean on the nights and weekends. Then, I got divorced and became a single mom. I decided to put myself through college at this time. In 2 years, I completed a 4-year elementary teaching degree, while I raised my children, and worked as a house cleaner. I did this only because of the cleaning industry. I was able to work half days or clean one house per day. The industry and the nature of the work makes it a great opportunity for mothers. After I got my degree, I looked into getting a teaching job, and I realized that I could earn much more money on a similar schedule if I worked for a cleaning company. I became the manager of the cleaning company I had worked with for years. The company's owner decided to join forces with MaidPro and became their first franchisee. After a while, I decided to start my own independent cleaning company and in 2000 I transformed my business and became a MaidPro franchisee. This past October I bought my second MaidPro location," explained Monique Boucher, mother of three and owner of two MaidPro franchises located in Chelmsford, Massachusetts and West Palm Beach, Florida.

Monique continued, "My oldest daughter now manages my Massachusetts office while I work at the Florida office. My twins are 17. They will be going to college soon and they will either choose to go to college in Florida or Massachusetts. I feel so incredibly lucky! I have a beautiful house in Massachusetts. Successful businesses in Massachusetts and Florida. I will be buying a house here in Florida soon. And all the while, I have been able to be a hands-on mom. What other industries allow you to do that?"

Choosing To Buy a Franchise
Michelle converted her cleaning business, Michelle's Classy Cleaning, into a MaidPro when she was 3 months pregnant. "I knew I needed the infrastructure and the support tools that MaidPro offered. Owning a business is definitely possible when you're a mom if you choose to buy a franchise. When I was on my own, I made mistakes, but with the franchise, I received the proper infrastructure and software systems to run and track my business from the start. The franchisor has already created proper policies to manage both clients and employees. Plus, I receive ongoing business consultation whenever I need it from MaidPro. These advantages have made all the difference for me in being a mom and a franchisee."

Monique's thoughts echo Michelle's, "I would recommend owning a franchise over owning an independent business for moms because I know from experience that I have needed and often depended upon the support that a franchised business offers. There are over 20 offices that I can vent to and get advice from and these offices are not competitors of mine so I know they will not knowingly steer me in the wrong direction. MaidPro corporate has been second to none, affording us so much individuality. -- Just do plenty of research before you partner with any franchise and make sure the corporate office really understands your family values and needs. You might not have the highest income from all of their locations. If the company thinks this is okay and embraces you as a wonderful role model, you've found a perfect franchise for you. MaidPro has been ideal for me."

Monique continued, "MaidPro understand that for me, family is first and my business is family-focused. They promote family values and I know if I need my phones covered because I have a family emergency, they will do that for me. I can't say enough about Richard and Mark, the owners of MaidPro. If I'm in Florida and my daughter has a problem with the Massachusetts business, she can call them up and Richard will actually go to the office, spend the day with my daughter, and solve any problems she is having. I was two and a half years into a 10-year contract when I decided to buy my second location. It was a no-brainer for me to sign another 10-year contract and that says a lot about the company and the opportunity."

Challenges
As with most everything in life, being a mom and owning a business has many challenges. Everyone's experience is different. For Michelle, organization has played a key role in her success; "Organizing my time is definitely the biggest challenge. You need to be very organized and you need to put systems in place so that if you need to be home for your child, the business will run smoothly without you."

Michelle continued, "You also need to have flexibility. Flexibility is the main requirement of being a mother and a franchisee. You can't neglect your child or your business and you need to be responsible as both a mom and a business owner."

For Monique, family values and keeping her family first can be challenging but is never impossible; "My biggest challenge has been to maintain my core values. Often, corporate offices depend on royalties and expect a lot from their franchisees, but as a mom, I've had to stick to leaving the office by 3:30. You might not always be willing to meet the expectations that a corporate office has, so as a mom you have to stick to your values. I am so grateful that MaidPro truly shares and encourages my family values. In fact, not only do they encourage me to run my business as a working mother, with mothers' hours, they use me as a role model to show other franchisees and prospective franchisees what they can accomplish as both a mother and a franchisee. That is why I chose MaidPro and I am very fortunate to have the support of such a wonderful company." 

Captain Of Your Own Ship
When you're the owner of a business, you have the ability to not only influence your own life, but the lives of many people. For Monique, having a mother-friendly business was key, "I offer my employees mothers' hours only. In fact, the entire business runs on mothers' hours because I've always wanted and needed time to raise my children. For me it's worked out really well. We do not clean on nights or weekends and I will only hire cleaners on a part-time basis. I wanted to be the mom that was home when her children got home and volunteered to help out. My employees tend to stay for 3, 4, 5 years or more because they can't find a job that not only encourages them to work part-time, but only allows them to work part-time. They work 20-25 hours per week and at each of my locations I have 15-20 cleaners. We all leave the office by 3:30 and our children have plenty of time with us."

Passing Down Lessons...
Having a mom that's not only there for her children, but who also owns and runs a successful business teaches children a lot about life and plants the seeds for strong family values and work ethics. "My children have learned from me and my business that family always comes first. It's a family business and a family investment. I've taught them that they must get dirty when it's necessary and nothing will ever be handed to them on silver platters. My older daughter started housecleaning at age 13. Years later, she is managing but it took many steps for her to get there," explained Monique.

Are You Ready to Control Your Future?
If you're ready for both the challenges and the exciting rewards of owning your own business, being your own boss, and having control of your future, all while raising your children, go ahead and explore the many franchise opportunities available to you. Do plenty of research. Speak to other mothers who own the franchise. And when you're ready, join the millions of other women business owners who are living their dreams.

Michelle concludes, "I'd absolutely recommend owning a franchise to other moms. MaidPro has a proven track record, and the proven tools and support to make me successful. You truly limit your risk when you're a franchisee. As a mother, you don't want to take risks because it's not just you, but you now have a family that depends on you as well."

Explore the various franchise opportunities available to you today!  Click here.


From Entrepreneur to Franchisor: One Woman's Journey


By Pamela Gold

Have you ever wondered how and why a business developed into a franchise? Every company is different but we recently chatted with Georgia Jones, Founder of Computer Moms, the highly successful computer mentoring service that helps everyone from the small business to the stay at home mom learn everything from how to turn on a computer to mastering advanced skills. Georgia's story is both a joy and an inspiration.

How It All Began
In the early 1990's Georgia Jones was a stay at home in Austin, Texas. Her son was adopted in 1986. Prior to motherhood, Georgia Jones had worked for a U.S. Senator from Texas. In the 1970's, she attended a six week computer school sponsored by the U.S. Senate to help facilitate the computerization of the Senate. After successfully helping her staff, she began writing guides for other staffs that took the mystery of technology out of using computers, and made it a simple step-by-step process to learn and use them.
Around the time her son was starting school, people had begun to buy multimedia computers. In the early 1990's, technology was truly beginning to boom. Something very obvious occurred to Georgia: I realized that kids were fearless when it came to technology and computers and adults were absolutely terrified. My son played edu-tainment games on the computer all the time. Many children did, but their parents didn't even know how to turn the computers on. I saw a need and started to write guides to help my son's friends' parents. I eventually wrote ten guides. Everyone started calling me the Computer Mom. At that time, I started putting classified ads in the local papers offering my services. For some reason at that point, no one else had thought to teach computers in the same way that piano was taught. That's what I did. Instead of lecturing people for an entire day and giving them a crash course on learning to use a computer, I gave them a two-hour lesson and then gave them lots of homework to do. People cannot learn the computer without homework to keep it fresh and truly in their minds.

The Vision of a Client
What came about from those classified ads that Georgia had put in the paper? Georgia had many happy students, including Ed Jones, a retired executive who had worked for a computer company yet had no idea how to use one. After learning from Georgia, he asked her where he could find Computer Moms in other cities. I told him I was the only Computer Mom, stated Georgia. Ed couldn't believe it. Before I knew it, Ed and my husband, Milton Jones, were talking about franchising. My husband had been in the computer business since the 1960's, so he was very familiar with the industry.

What It Takes
I thought I had the perfect part-time job! I had time for my son and time to have my business and it suited me well, but I decided to go along with Ed and Milton's vision.

Georgia continued, If it wasn't for Ed and Milton, Computer Moms would not be what it is today. From the start, they saw it going national and eventually international.

The right timing and people can make a business. For Georgia, they entered into franchising in 1996 when the dot-com revolution was just taking off. There were many angel investors who happily helped companies such as Computer Moms succeed. The next integral step that Georgia, Milton, and Ed took was to build their ideal Board of Directors. They started with Mike Maples, a Microsoft executive who thought the missing ingredient in the technology field was training. He happily jumped on board. Virginia Rogers, a successful franchisor herself, joined the Board next. Finally, Jack Morgan, Schlotsky's Deli CFO, joined the Board. Georgia recalls, We had our dream team! We then hired a Franchise Consultant to help us with the UFOC. At this point, we were still working from around my kitchen table. We were then accepted into the Austin Technology Incubator, which was very significant for us. We were a service-based franchise named Computer Moms, not one of the many high tech companies in the Austin, Texas area that also wanted to be in the program, but they loved the concept and in 2000 we graduated and we were incubated out of the program.

Finding the Perfect Formula for Success
When Computer Moms first became a franchise, most of their franchisees were looking for part-time, professional opportunities. It was mostly women that signed on with Computer Moms. From this original concept, Georgia and her ambitious team sold about 50 franchises. It was a low cost, part-time opportunity and it sold well. Yet, at the same time, they had hit a wall and didn't know where to go. We found people who investigated the concept and liked it, but wanted a bigger business with more potential, remembers Georgia. I distinctly remember meeting and attracting Linda Burzynski to be our President and CEO. She worked at Molly Maid prior to becoming the President of Computer Moms. They say the sign of a good leader is knowing when you need help and when you've hit your ceiling. We had hit a wall and it was time for someone with more experience and knowledge to take over and bring us to a new level. Linda has done this for us. She took the franchise model and made it into a full-time business where our owners work on the business, not in the business. We now have franchises in 13 states!

I'm really proud that Computer Moms became the business that it is and that other people can carry on the concept I created. It took a lot of effort, money, and many talented people to get here, but I feel like the luckiest person in the world - All of these people and efforts to make this business and I get to sit here and tell the story, exclaims Georgia.

On Franchising
The franchise community is a strong and supportive network of franchisors and franchisees. Georgia explains, The franchising community is so open and willing to share. I can't think of a community that is so supportive. I can call up four or five franchisors and ask for their help. It's fantastic! She continues, Linda has been a mentor for me, and I have also learned so much from conferences and people at the International Franchise Association.
When asked what Computer Moms has gained by becoming a franchise, Georgia said, Anyone can start their own little business, but you are never going to brand your services or have a real presence on your own. Without a brand, it is very difficult to grow an influential business. Through time and experience, we have created an acronym for the M.O.M.s in our name, Mentors On the Move. Today, everywhere we go, people want to know what Computer Moms is. We have a strong presence in the community and I am so proud of that.

Explore the various franchise opportunities available to you today!  Click here.



A Unique Relationship:
Husbands and Wives Who Own Different Franchise Concepts


By Pamela Gold

The special relationship between a husband and a wife becomes even more unique when spouses decide to open up a business together. Today, some entrepreneurial couples choose a slightly varied approach: They buy very different franchise concepts and run them independently. This set-up allows for separate careers, the security of being in different industries, and the support and experience of a fellow franchisee right at home.

A Perfect Example

In August 1999, Fannie Hu opened her PostNet franchise in Bakersfield, California. Two years later, her husband Bruce opened his The Maids franchise in Bakersfield. Rewind a few years, and Fannie was a stay-at-home mom and Bruce worked for a semi-conductor company. Their lives were very different then. Why did Fannie and Bruce both decide they wanted to buy franchise concepts? Fannie said, "Franchisees receive such great support with regards to marketing, training, promotions, and so much more! There's much more possibility for success than if we had started a business ourselves. The support is so beneficial. Plus, PostNet is a leading brand. They have the experience and the reputation that is very helpful. They give me information and help on the phone when I need it and I really appreciate that."

Bruce agreed, "I get such great support from The Maids as well. When I have technical questions, I just call their 800 number and they help me out. Also, with The Maids, there are franchisees located in all major cities in California so I can discuss any problems I have with other franchisees. Experienced franchisees can give great advice in terms of employees, day-to-day operations, etc."

How it Happened

"We knew a couple who lived in Bakersfield. We liked it there and moved to the city but had a problem finding work. We looked into buying different businesses and our friends actually first discovered PostNet for us. I have a computer science background and I thought this was the perfect business for me!  I really enjoy my work," stated Fannie.
Bruce commented, " When I decided to open a business two years later, I wanted a business in another industry because I enjoy different work than Fannie does. Bakersfield has been rapidly growing. In the three years that we've lived here, it has really grown and the janitorial business has such great potential here. Construction is huge and we've received so much business because of all the new homes. My business has done so well here."

How They Compliment Each Other

There are many advantages to owning a different business from your spouse and as Fannie and Bruce exemplify, even very different businesses can compliment each other when a couple can identify their strengths and learn to help each other out. Bruce explained, "We both have educations. Fannie has a computer science degree and I have an accounting degree. So, our strengths are very, very different. We definitely help each other because of our expertise in these two important areas."

Bruce continued, "We've also found that when we advertise, whether it be direct mail flyers or in-store brochures, we can help each other out. We always do direct mail pieces together and this cuts the cost of advertising in half."

Fannie added, "We have so much traffic in PostNet, so we promote The Maids in the store by offering advertisements for The Maids services."

Sometimes It Can Be Difficult

Often, couples turn to each other for help when they need advice or even extra help. When both couples are running businesses, time can be a factor. Fannie stated, "Sometimes I am short-handed at PostNet and Bruce will be busy with The Maids, so it is hard for him to help me out by going to the post office or helping with work that might need to get done at the store. Because we each run a different business, it becomes difficult when one of us needs the other's help and we just don't have the time to offer."

Schedules - Making It Work

It's important for couples, especially those with children, to make their schedules work for them and their families. "We typically work similar hours. I work in The Maids office and Fannie works in the PostNet store, but she also helps with my training and I help by delivering her store's mail to the post office. Our employees also help us out and typically, our schedules are pretty similar," explains Bruce.

The Benefits of Franchising

When both a husband and a wife decide to buy businesses, the risk of starting their own business is doubled. Why should couples consider buying franchises, instead of starting their own businesses? The reasons are varied, but the obvious benefits begin with the lowered risk, already successful and proven business system, and the support: "I think it is time-saving to buy a franchise when it comes to starting up. There's lots of support. For example, I didn't know what the most effective way would be to market The Maids, but corporate teaches you and gives you marketing materials and ultimately this saves franchisees so much time and money. When you buy a franchise, you are also buying their experience and knowledge and with The Maids, I received 20 years worth of experience which means so much," stated Bruce.

"To receive all of the benefits of owning a franchise, you have to be aggressive. Go out there and call other franchisees and call corporate whenever you have a question. They will be there for you and answer your questions. That's what they're there for! You have to be active in the franchise community. Use the resources they offer you and you will get the most value out of buying a franchise," explained Fannie.

Ultimately, the Benefits Are Phenomenal

For couples that enjoy good communication, a strong relationship, and their independence, owning different franchise concepts can be the perfect business decision.  Fannie stated, "Managing two different businesses is so great because we're able to help each other. Having different concepts reduces pressure, disagreements, and keeps us satisfied with our personal careers."

Bruce said, "I strongly recommend owning a different business from your spouse. It's good for family-oriented people because I think it makes us feel more secure to have separate businesses."

When deciding on franchise concepts to buy, think of your potential markets and your interests. As the Hu's have demonstrated, various business concepts can be owned by a husband and a wife - there will be areas in which you will each be able to help each other, compliment each other, and still have independent and successful careers.

Explore the various franchise opportunities available to you today!  Click here.

7 comments:

  1. These inspiring real life stories have proven that being a full time mom is not a hindrance to generating considerable income, which can contribute in rearing her children and in answering for the needs of her family. There are businesses opportunities where a mom can develop her entrepreneurial skills while providing financial aid to her family. One needs only to seek them out.

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