Gone are the days when women, retired personnel and the unemployed were seen as dejected, today these people are most sought after by the franchisors as their future partners.
"I will be retiring this year at age 60 and intend to fulfill my lifelong dream of owning my own business. I am too old to start from scratch, so I am looking at several franchise opportunities, including fast food, auto parts, and an accounting service.
What should I consider before choosing one?"
"I have taken voluntary retirement from office and want to utilize my past experience in a new venture. With my strong managerial skills
I want to make the best of it in a suitable profession."
"I am married for the past five years, I used to work in a bank
before marriage. My husband is always busy with his job which involves a lot of travelling. Without any doubt, I have to take care of the kids but I do not want to just stay at home.I want to satisfy my professional desires and take up something that Interests me."
IF you believe that the statements, given on the right, are of people who are lacking business acumen, or drive, then you need to rethink. To the new age franchisor these statements automatically become profiles of their prospective franchisees. Every person has his own special qualities to offer to a business which makes him/her the right candidate for the franchisors. Today's franchisors perceive these people as their prospective franchisees as they can add value to the business by their past skills.
For those to whom any of these statements sound familiar then these are the people looking for the best opportunity. One way for them would be to simply open up their own independent business, but even then they would not know from where to begin. The other option, and the simplest one, would be to join a growing franchise.
The primary advantage of buying into a franchise system is that it allows you to enter business quicker with a proven system, while minimising risk and increase in the odds for success.
The desire to have their own business is taking its toll on the Indian mind set. Studies have revealed that a large number of people are considering this newly emerging option of owning their business with much enthusiasm.
It has been proven that franchise operations tend to be more successful than independent start-ups because they have a proven concept, a ready market, an established customer base, and a business model that can be replicated over and over again. Less than 5 per cent of franchisees fail during the first few years as compared to an 80 per cent failure of independent ventures.
Franchising seems to be the best option for these people because, unlike the individual setups where no set model or support is available and you are required to take care of the profit and loss, franchising offers the advantage of the support and guidance which is all the more required to nurture any new business.
It is pertinent to examine the best and worst traits of these people and see what kinds of businesses are available for them.
The woman entrepreneur
Our first set of potential franchisees includes women. Some of the points that make women as the right candidate for being entrepreneur are:
Omprakash Hassanandani, Business Head, Shaadi Point, says, "Women have a natural tendency of multi-tasking and social networking which is apparent in the way they balance home and career. They are good in soft skills and are able to empathize with people."
Laying stress on these traits, Arun K.Khetan, CEO & MD, Zee Network Education Group, says, "Most of our franchised centres are run by women, who are keen to meet their passion to be with kids, wherein the business happens by default."
Though women have a few negative traits like insecurity or the inability to take risk, with a little education they can be made business focused.
Franchising offers a set structure, it not only gives financial independence to women but also offers them flexible schedule where in they can easily spread their entrepreneurial wings. Now-a-days, a number of women are into franchising who have discovered various possibilities and go way beyond just retail and fast food franchising.
Whether it's play-schools, matrimonial services or beauty salons they are all moving ahead with the emergence of women franchisees in the business field.
Factors which a woman considers before taking a franchise are the investment required, support offered by the franchisor, and the break-even period of the franchise.
Matchmaking is another field where your business acumen can work if you have got a wide network of people and some good experience. The consumer services category is very apt for women who simply enjoy interacting with others.
This opportunity seems interesting for women as well as retired people. Shaadi Point, one of the leading matrimonial service providers in India is specifically looking at women franchisees owing to the softer skills innate in them which make them deal better with the clients. Retired people with their years of experience of settling things in place also make them the right candidate for this field. Commenting on this Hassanandani says, "Our franchisee model is people/business friendly and is suitable for women, retired, young or any other person. Matchmaking comes naturally to women. The working hours are also flexible and we find that they are able to balance home and the business."
Let's take a look at those traits of the retired army personnel which makes them tick.
Many who retire see it as an end of their working period, and are not able to visualise life beyond that. But for people like Col. Abinash Kaul, retirement is not about rest; it is about working and adding on new skills. The same theory applies not only in his way of living but in the way he approached life after retirement. He dedicated the primary years of his life in serving the nation, of which he still feels proud, but what was lacking in this fine picture was his interaction with the general public. His desire to spend the rest of his life in understanding civilians and their way of living, led him to start a customer service business.
Starting a new business on your own requires typical business expertise and a lot of investment, and even after that there is no guarantee of success. Is there an easier option that involves low investment? When Col Kaul was searching for such an option the concept of franchising came to his rescue. He researched and decided to take up a franchise of Archies. In doing so he was able to interact with youngsters and people from all walks of life and at the same time own a new business.
After spending one year in his new business venture, more than counting the money he earned, Col Kaul says, "What I have got might not be satisfying in monetary terms but in terms offering a new lease of life this business has surely paid well."
He goes on to say, "I still have to learn a lot. I would like to tell others also to take up a franchise, but, do it with a good amount of research in order to make an informed choice." Sharing his years of experience Col Kaul says, "People of my age are in no position to take risks, so they look for options which involve minimal investment. It is important to take the right decision and be sure what you want out of it."
After retirement, the years of experience can be very well utilised. Franchising easily offers the support and the direction to make the most of a person's experience and understanding.
Franchising is a concept that allows even a middle-class person to become a business owner. Franchising is considered relatively less risky than owning a business individually. The qualities of empathy and personal touch in the retired people who have years of experience with them makes them better prospects.
Sectors like gift and books retailing can be of good interest to those who are retired. Companies like Archies, Hallmark, Ferns 'N' Petals are some of the leading ones in this sector. Investment required in these categories is between Rs 5 to 10 lakh.
In a developing country like ours, the number of unemployed persons is quite high, and more join in every day.
Owing to their ability to learn new things quickly they can very well enter a new sector and learn the tricks of the trade. Sectors like travel attract a lot of young and dynamic people owing to its high returns. These include companies like Raj Travels, Kuoni, Thomas Cook, Travelport, and Prime Travels. These companies are always on the lookout for expansion in various parts of the country, and, therefore, it is easy to open a franchise at your own place. Another advantage is that this sector involves low costs, so it is possible to get started with a low investment and later expand the business with a few more franchise outlets.
Low investment capacity
Sectors like customer care service can be another suitable field for the unemployed, like water storage tank cleaning service. Not only is the initial investment low but, today, when space is one criteria for franchisee selection, the sector requires almost no retail space in an upmarket area. One company making its way upward with low investment is Tanclean. Another major advantage of this opportunity is its low risk, as a result it is easy to reach break even.
While selecting a franchise it is important that an investor keeps the following points in mind about himself.
The reason why franchisors are considering the retired, women and the unemployed is nothing surprising. Franchisors see them as a bank of entrepreneurs. The background of these people may be different, but they all have one focus, and that is, to fulfil their dream to become an entrepreneur. With the help of training and support these people can turn out to be the best of franchisees. But there is no shortcut to this; before you kick off your own business, be ready for hard work; and the world will marvel your ability.
The role of DGR
The Directorate General Resettlement (DGR), an Inter Service Organization functioning directly under the Ministry of Defence is working for the welfare and resettlement of ex-servicemen and their dependants. Approximately 60,000 service personnel are retired/released every year at comparatively younger age and with their years of experience and energy to commit to work they tend to look at a second option. DGR continues its efforts to explore new opportunities for ex-servicemen. Franchising is one such opportunity wherein the ex-servicemen can find refuge. The kinds of traits retired people have make them the right candidate for being an entrepreneur.
DGR keeps an eye on all the options available for the retired, as retired people have limited finances. According to Col Devendra Mankoti, Joint Director Self Employment, DGR, "Our organization not only looks at the various options available for the resettlement of the retired but also helps them in getting these services at a concession. For example, when they plan to take up a franchise we help them in getting a reduction in fees and royalty. So we always suggest various kinds of franchise models that can help the retired personnel in taking up a new business."
Making her way ahead
Triveni Kaul proudly runs the Kwality Wall's and Café Express outlet. After spending enough time in the education field she decided to start a business of her own. In her new role as an entrepreneur she is happy to deal with various kinds of people as it brings more business. Though she has dealt with people belonging to a certain strata all through her life, she now interacts with people from all walks of life. Though she serves her customers with a smile, still, she alerts aspiring entrepreneurs to be ready to cope up with all situations that may crop up while running a successful business