Do Your Homework BEFORE Buying a Franchise!

The dream of owning your own business is alive and well for most Americans. The only problem is that many people don’t know where to start on the journey to becoming self-sufficient. There are a million different options, but first and foremost each potential entrepreneur must decide if he or she wants to become a franchisee or start a business independently.

Each route has its benefits; therefore, it’s critical to take the time to consider both options before making a decision. What it initially comes down to is asking yourself the following questions:

1. Do you understand every aspect of the business, or do you thrive in one area?

When starting a business from scratch, entrepreneurs should be well versed in every single element of the enterprise. They need to create systems and procedures and test whether these work for that particular business. This process of ironing out the details deters some from choosing to own an independent business but excites and challenges others.

Conversely someone who buys a franchise knows that someone else has already done the “dirty work” and found the most effective systems for that particular business. A franchisee must simply thrive at correctly running the system while adding their own personal management touch. 

2. Are you an expert at making a name for yourself or would you like to be associated with an already strong brand?

When purchasing a franchise, you are also inheriting the reputation of that brand. For example, if you open your own Dunkin’ Donuts shop, you will encounter customers who already recognize the pink and orange logo. Many people will know whether they like the brand and will expect speedy service providing them doughnuts and steaming hot coffee.

On the other hand, those starting a business from scratch have a chance to create a unique brand identity. But consumer trust and awareness don’t come easily; they need to be earned through time, consistency and excellence.

3. Are you the kind of person who likes to go it alone or do you appreciate a sense of community?

Owning a business — whether it’s a franchise or not — can be risky. Some people prefer to be self-reliant and want to manage potential problems using past experiences and premonitions as guides. An entrepreneur must solve the issues that arise.

Others prefer enlisting the support and help of others to ensure that their business runs smoothly. A franchisee has many built-in allies, including the franchisor and other franchisees within the system.

The most important factor for success is making sure that problems are identified, and steps are taken in the right direction.

Is Owning a Franchise in Your Future?

For many individuals that explore franchising as the next step in their career, as a way to control their own destiny or as a way to create a family business understanding the process can be quite overwhelming. Below are several articles by franchise experts I shared on my blog in 2018. Still relevant today, I believe it will help interested parties diligently navigate the process to help create a playing field that is best for them as opposed to seeing themselves aimlessly tiptoe through a minefield consisting of franchising’s good, bad and ugly.

If you’re thinking of becoming a franchisee, how should you prepare yourself?

Buying a franchise can be a great move for a would-be entrepreneur who doesn’t want to create a new business from scratch. In theory, franchisees acquire a model that already works on every level, from branding to pricing to marketing. A ready clientele eagerly spends on Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s and 7-11. The market has tested the best recipes for glazed crullers, Egg McMuffins and the right combo of energy drinks to stock next to the register. But making a go as a successful franchisee can be a lot more complicated than simply finding an appealing brand and plunking down some cash. For a taste of what can go wrong, see Forbes’ piece about the past problems at sandwich franchise Quiznos, which paid $206 million to settle a suit brought by franchisees who claimed the chain had oversold its markets and excessively marked up supplies. Read more.

How to Buy a Franchise

Contrary to popular belief, the process of buying a franchise isn’t really difficult-but it is a process. I’ve found, (through working one-on-one with thousands of potential franchise owners) that it’s really important to tackle a major life decision like the purchase of a franchise business-or any type of business, in a very methodical way. (Even if you’re not a methodical person!)

But you need to realize that buying a franchise is a big deal. It could potentially be life changing. That’s what you want, isn’t it?

After all, you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you wanted to just go out and find a new job -or keep the one you have.

With that in mind, kick off your shoes and grab your favorite beverage. In this article, Joel Libava, The Franchise King shows exactly how to buy a franchise. Read more.

Owning a Franchise Business is Good for Your Family

Many entrepreneurs choose to become small-business owners with an exit strategy of turning over the business to their children one day — a strategy that takes on more importance in an era where young people are struggling to find gainful employment. Children who begin working in the family business at a young age will typically start an ascension into management after college, with an eye on purchasing some or all of the family business as their parents head into retirement. Often, the parents will retain a percentage of the business as a revenue stream in retirement, adding an extra level of responsibility for the child as a steward of their parents’ nest egg.

Even if they don’t stay in the family business, studies show that parental entrepreneurship increases the probability of children’s entrepreneurship by about 60%. Children of entrepreneurial parents have already experienced many of the ebbs and flows of small-business ownership, which helps to mitigate their fears and raise their risk tolerance. Read more

Learning About Franchising

During research for Franchise Bible, 8th Edition, author, Rick Grossman found that the franchise industry had changed in many ways over the years. Technology has had the biggest impact by modifying buying behaviors. Not too many years ago, franchise buyers would find an opportunity in Entrepreneur magazine or by attending a franchise expo in-person. They would then go through the franchisor’s respective step-by-step process to qualify, purchase and launch their franchises. But today, buyers can find a plethora of information online about nearly any franchise they want to learn about. This has leveled the playing field for new innovative companies to compete favorably with the “big boys” in the marketplace. Read more

No alt text provided for this image

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

The Ability to Sell is a Cornerstone to Entrepreneurial Success

Regardless of the industry and industry segment, successful entrepreneurship begins with the entrepreneur’s ability to sell. He or she must be able to sell to investors, clients, suppliers, and employees from day one. Of course, it’s essential to have developed a great idea, product or service, and business model, but without perfecting the ability to articulate the vision, communicate it well, and close the deal, the company or concept goes nowhere.

Unfortunately, not enough emphasis and time is dedicated to the importance of sales in an entrepreneurial venture. Sales is a cornerstone to entrepreneurial success. However, many just wing it with the mindset of, the product or service will sell itself or build it and they will come. The bottom line is, nothing sells itself and unless there is awareness of what is being built, no one will know!

This week at Acceler8Success Cafe, taking nothing for granted I will focus on basic sales skills. From prospecting to closing, I’ll work through various steps in a sales process. For now, I will keep it simple because quite simply, understanding and implementing sales fundamentals will go a long way toward entrepreneurial success, and quite frankly, success in achieving almost any goal.

One more thing, and this is vitally important to your “sales” success, key to a successful entrepreneurial venture is the founder, the entrepreneur being the number one salesperson, the number one promoter. No one will ever do it as good as you!

Sales Prospecting: Motivation & Overcoming Rejection

Style points don’t count. Ability is not enough. In sales, winning comes only with the right attitude! And winning at prospecting or cold calling, whatever you may call it in your business, is all about attitude!

When you’re responsible for developing new business, one of the keys to success is your attitude toward prospecting.

If you don’t have the desire to prospect, or are afraid of it, you won’t do it often enough. As a result, your prospecting skills become weaker. This in turn causes your motivation to diminish and prospecting then becomes a monumental task.

When we evaluate the reasons why a salesperson has failed or plateaus at an unacceptable level, we are constantly reminded of the following: they are not motivated to prospect or, have a fear of rejection. Neither their lack of motivation nor the fear of rejection is the main culprit; both are to blame. It is a catch-22. Either the lack of motivation causes the fear of rejection, or the fear of rejection demotivates them. Either way, the person never becomes the effective prospector they could be or should be.

What I’m offering here, are some ideas on how to get motivated and stay motivated when prospecting or cold calling. I have also included suggestions that will help you overcome the fear of rejection. When you internalize these concepts and techniques, you will become the most effective prospector you can be and will achieve the level of success you deserve.

Believe in it: it works.

Prospecting over the phone or cold calling “door-to-door” or on LinkedIn is a very effective way to find qualified leads for your business. Since the beginning of time, farmers, livestock ranchers and a variety of other vendors have been bringing their products to market on horse and buggy. Today, millions of companies spend millions of dollars and have millions of “salespeople” doing it.

Prepare yourself properly.

Prospecting is like a contact sport. You are either prepared and have an advantage over the other person, or you are unprepared and don’t. Top salespeople have regular phrases, statements and/or scripts they use to generate interest on the part of the prospect. They are also prepared with a list of common objections and responses to handle any resistance the prospect or gatekeeper throws at them. This preparation comes from practicing with a peer or sales manager and/or from making a lot of calls to prospects. The key question is, “Are you fully prepared?”

Discipline yourself.

Every time you feel like quitting and/or find yourself procrastinating, you are being bit by the “Fear of Rejection” bug. The only way to beat this bug is to maintain the discipline to keep going. Discipline in business is about forcing yourself to do something that you don’t want to do. When you are staring at that name on your list or standing outside the prospect’s door – Just do it! No one has more power to discipline you than you.

Convert that feeling.

Try to understand why you get sick to your stomach when you have to prospect. Or why you hate the phone and have a fear of rejection. Ask yourself why you feel this way and then listen for the answer. When you are in a quiet place and are truly interested in finding the reason, it will come out. Don’t let that feeling control you. You have to learn how to control it. Once you have control, you can convert the negative feelings into positive energy. The good news is, the worse you feel now, the stronger you’ll be when you convert it and the more chance you have of being a prospecting dynamo!

Don’t take it personally.

Most, if not all, of the prospects you are going to call are bombarded with salespeople each week. And they reject most, if not all of them. They are not rejecting you; they have rejected every other salesperson that has called them this week. So, when you call, it is not you they are rejecting, they are rejecting another salesperson. Don’t feel so singled out. You are among an elite group of people whose goal it is to find people who are not so willing to or who are unable to reject salespeople. And that’s easy when you have a good call list and are well prepared.

Partner with a buddy.

Many people that exercise would rather do it with a friend because this helps keep them motivated. Both people enjoy the workout more, plus they keep each other in line. We recommend you find another person in your organization or network that has the same or better work ethic as you and agree to keep you motivated and positive during prospecting sessions. When you make commitments to each other of when, how long, and who you are going to prospect, you subconsciously put incredible pressure on yourself to hold up your end of the bargain. This is very healthy pressure to have.

Make the time to prospect.

This is part of the discipline theory we spoke of before. Most every person responsible for sales I’ve met says they are busy, and some say they are too busy to prospect. This is nothing more than an excuse and an infection by the “Fear of Rejection” bug. Top salespeople make a habit of allocating a certain percentage of their week to prospecting. Regardless of their workload, they put a priority on prospecting and do it regularly. It is your responsibility to make time to prospect and create this habit.

Organize your list of leads.

It is a complete waste of time to make phone calls to companies and people who are not qualified to buy whatever you may be selling. Top salespeople have at least 100 qualified leads on their call list at all times. A qualified lead is defined as a prospect you know can use and pay for the products or services you offer or is currently using similar products or services offered by your competition.

A business card is not a prospect.

We are amazed at how little value salespeople put on prospects. They get a business card from somewhere, write some notes on the back and use this as their main prospecting system. A stack of these things with a rubber band wrapped around them is an inefficient method of prospecting. I highly recommend becoming digitally organized on your iPhone or tablet and keep as much information as possible on each prospect. In addition to the name, title, phone number with direct extension, and address of the person who has the authority to buy your product or service, you can collect additional information and use it to your advantage.

Call Decision-Makers only.

Strong lead lists will have the name of the Decision-Maker for each lead. A Decision-Maker is generally defined as the person who makes the decisions in relation to your products or services. Generally, there are two things I look for when categorizing someone as the final Decision-Maker: 1) the ultimate authority in their organization to over-rule everyone’s decisions regarding products or services, 2) the ability to allocate money, set budgets, issue POs, sign checks, give a credit card or enter into agreements. They have the money, and they can spend it!

All at once or not?

Salespeople regularly ask me if it is better to cold call for eight straight hours (one full day) or to break it up into two four-hour sessions. Frankly, I have met successful salespeople that do it both ways. One salesperson may prefer to allocate a full day to nothing but prospecting while another may prefer to break it up into two mornings on two different days. I don’t think it makes a difference. I believe we all have to find the method that is comfortable for us. Provided you discipline yourself to concentrate on prospecting during this time period and not on other busy work.

Break up the day/session.

The fact of the matter is that even great prospectors are going to be rejected. Prospecting is a numbers game based on percentages. Having said that, I believe it is sometimes difficult for people to take a lot of rejection for a long period of time. So, I recommend breaking up your session in a fashion similar to this. Make a particular number of calls to brand new prospects and then, make some calls to prospects you have previously called on, then call some people for referrals, then take a short break.

What I have just described is one cycle. The length of each cycle will depend on your commitment to prospecting, your work ethic and level of tenacity. In order to effectively prospect, you are going to have to repeat these cycles as often as you can in order to get results. Only you can determine the length of each cycle and how many cycles per day you are comfortable with.

Use a headset.

Not for motivation, for discipline and efficiency. When you are “literally” connected to the phone via a headset, it is much harder for you to walk away from your desk. So many people put the phone down and have trouble picking it back up. They don’t even realize it, but as soon as they put it down, the resistance to picking it back up is even greater. If you don’t have a headset, make it a rule that you will never put the receiver down until you dial at least “x” number of calls. Just hang up each call with your finger instead of putting the phone down. Once it’s down it’s even harder to pick back up again!

Hold all calls.

Not for motivation, for discipline and efficiency. A telephone prospecting session is just that – outgoing calls only. Have your admin or assistant hold all your calls or direct them to your voice mail. Telephone efficiency is all about rhythm. Once that rhythm is broken it’s hard to get it started again. When you start to field incoming calls, you might get sidetracked by a friend or even worse a customer or client who needs something now. Boom: rhythm broken.

It’s a numbers game.

Even professional baseball players are only successful at getting on base 30% of the time. And they rate in terms of skills in the top 1% of all the millions of kids who start out playing baseball. So let me get this straight. They are the best of the best, get paid millions of dollars and yet actually fail on a consistent basis 7 out of 10 times! Why don’t they get the fear of failure? Because they understand it’s a numbers game. In sales efforts, a 20 to 30% success rate is good. When you can secure 2 – 3 appointments from every 10 prospects or leads you are doing a good job. Keep in mind that every customer “no” gets you one step closer to that elusive “yes.” Just keep stepping up to the plate.

Build on little successes.

Regardless of your experience level, you may occasionally hit slumps just as professional athletes do. To overcome this they don’t quit, they focus their attention, practice regularly and keep at it. Little by little they start to succeed and get their confidence back. You can do the same by working a strong referral list or by calling on some previous contacts. By doing so, you will get your rhythm back. As soon as you start to succeed throw in a couple of cold prospects and watch your confidence take over. Even if you are not in a slump, during a call session you may want to call on some older contacts to keep your motivation and confidence level up.

Increase your tolerance level.

You don’t start your running career with the 100-mile marathon. You start by first running the 5-mile marathon. Then you build your level of tolerance and stamina. Same with prospecting. If you are suffering from a lack of motivation or the fear of rejection, start small and build your way up. Start with 10 calls the first week, 15 calls the second week, 20 calls the third week, 25 calls the fourth week, and so on.

Set goals.

Recently, I was speaking with a veteran salesperson of about 16 years. For the past 8 years, he had a strong account base and did not have to make cold calls. He just took a new job with a company that does most of its business by telephone prospecting. He said he was scared at first (he took a cut in pay in hopes of the bigger payoff) but had faith in the company and went at it. He told me the main reason he has been more successful on the phone than most of the other new reps is because he sets goals for himself every week. He has goals for the number of times he dials the phone, the number of contacts he makes and the number of appointments he sets. Basically, he said he works as many hours as it takes to hit his goals. Now that’s commitment and desire!

Think Different Because the American Entrepreneurial Spirit is Alive!

As we know, restaurants are having a difficult time due to rising costs due to inflation, supply chain issues, and labor challenges (I’m not so sure about actual worker shortages). Feeling the inflation pinch, as well, customers are being more diligent as to where and when they may decide to enjoy a meal at or from a restaurant.

Although, some restaurants are realizing sales increases over pre-pandemic levels. Why and how are they thriving while others are barely surviving? But the real question in my mind has to do with change – not a shift, not a pivot, but actual change.

As such, this is my question of the week: Is it necessary to change how to conduct business, adapting to the circumstances of the times instead of adjusting, revising which may be more akin to putting square pegs in round holes? Are we crazy to think different (as entrepreneurs, restaurateurs & small business owners), or should we just go with the flow?

Speaking of square pegs and round holes, I just love the words of Steve Jobs shortly after he returned to Apple, the company he founded and launched the Think Different campaign. He started things off with these words:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes … the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. … You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. … They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

I especially find his words fitting this week as we celebrate America’s small businesses & entrepreneurs and their enormous contributions to American life and prosperity. After all, we may not be able to imagine life without the contributions of one, Steve Jobs.

Celebrating National Small Business Week

The pandemic brought to light an important fact: the American entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. It underscores the resiliency of our nation and our communities in the face of our largest economic challenge to date. Small businesses are not only the engines of our economic progress, but they are also the heart and soul of our communities. 

This year, during National Small Business Week from May 2-5, America will be celebrating our Main Street small businesses, our mom-and-pop stores, restaurants, shops, and small manufacturers who stayed the course during this difficult time for our great nation. 

Small Business Trends reported, “This year’s celebrations will include a four-day virtual summit in partnership with SCORE to acknowledge small businesses from across the country for their resilience, ingenuity, and creativity. In addition, events will be organized to recognize SBA partners for their support of entrepreneurial development, disaster recovery, government contracting, financial development, and others.”

How can your business get involved?

Constant Contact posted on their blog, “Whether you own a small business, work for one, or just love supporting them, there are plenty of ways you can show your support and take part in this tradition.”

They went on to share five ways you can take part in Small Business Week this year. You can find that HERE.

So, back to my Question of the Week: Is it necessary to change how to conduct business, adapting to the circumstances of the times instead of adjusting, revising which may be more akin to putting square pegs in round holes? Are we crazy to think different (as entrepreneurs, restaurateurs & small business owners), or should we just go with the flow?

Maybe we need a wrist band to remind us? What Would Jobs Do?

Vision to Reality: A Deliberate Journey

As many people who know me are aware, most everything I do comes about with a great deal of consideration and research, but not to the point of creating paralysis by analysis. Deliberate, yes, of course. My thoughts behind Acceler8Success were certainly no different. 

No alt text provided for this image

Take a look at our logo. What do you see in the middle? 

Is it an 8? Yes, but it’s more than that as it represents balance. One part of the number shows a defined path with a hard barrier at each end of the path. The other path is open-ended. This represents balance and that there are options to achieve goals – to explore possibilities, opportunities. 

My research was extensive as to what I was trying to achieve. Actually, the number 8 was chosen before determining how to incorporate it into a brand name and logo. Research showed that number 8 seemed to align with my passion for entrepreneurship.

The significance of the number 8 should not be overlooked. Professionalism, material freedom, affluence, and self-confidence are all related to the 8-numerology number. But that’s not all; many numerologists believe that the number 8 is associated with compassion, freedom, and self-reliance.

Interestingly, all are key factors in being a successful entrepreneur! 

Spiritually, the number 8 is a potent number. It’s a spiritual number that symbolizes mental stability and a positive outlook.

An article about the number 8 refers to finding a balance in life and relying on intuition to make the best decisions, to have a positive outlook and belief in one’s own self, and despite the difficulties that may be encountered along the way, to maintain self-assurance.

Numerology of Popular Brands

Further, it goes on that to embark on a new journey, it’s necessary to be confident in actions and to maintain a positive outlook on life and begin new adventures by stepping outside of a personal comfort zone with the courage to face fear.

I’m certainly not a person to rely on horoscopes or act upon superstitions, but if something stops me in my tracks and simultaneously intrigues me AND spurs creative thinking (my mind running wild with possibilities), then I’m on it.

Please take a few minutes to read more about the meaning of the number 8 HERE.

No alt text provided for this image

Upon reading the article linked above you’ll quickly realize the expansiveness of my purpose, my objective. Remember, this all started in 2014 with a year or so ramp up to introducing the theory behind the brand as a mindset of how to do business. The deliberate approach led to the creation of the Acceler8Success mantra that is often seen alongside a black panther whose approach in getting to its goal is nothing less than deliberate.

Recently, we were right at a tipping point. Sometimes, things happen for a reason despite the pain it may cause or challenges that may be faced. If things had gone smoothly with a particular project’s funding several months ago, we probably would not have shifted as strongly to a project that I strongly believe has far greater possibilities than we would have with that other project. 

With this new endeavor, which I look forward to announcing in the near future, it’s become more of an exponential opportunity with multiple revenue streams and profit centers, and one that will benefit a number of our clients. Whereas the other was somewhat more of a square peg in a round hole that may have actually prevented us from exploring this new concept.

Mind you, I still want to capitalize on opportunities with the other project, and we will but I’m super-excited by having been ‘forced’ to explore other opportunities. Garth Brooks says it best in one of his popular songs, Unanswered Prayers:

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs. That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

Perseverance. Commitment. Dedication. Focus. Combined, they will keep us on the road to success. Personally, I expect it to be so in a big way as all that’s been experienced is somehow all being tied together – nothing having been done over the past year or so that hasn’t contributed to what we have right in front of us, seemingly just inches away. 

No alt text provided for this image

There is so much in alignment, in balance at Acceler8Success Group, a ‘Ying & yang’ of sorts.

You see, it’s certainly not a coincidence that the symbol for Ying & yang very much resembles the Acceler8Success logo. 

At Acceler8Success Group, we are laser-focused on connecting the right people, brands & opportunities. We believe it’s all about a right-fit mindset that is going a long way toward turning a vision to reality. It’s what we do for us, and for others!

What role will entrepreneurs play in the economy over the next 5-10 years?

What role will entrepreneurs play in the economy over the next 5-10 years? This is our Question of the Week. As such, I’d really appreciate your feedback. So please, share your comments, insight and perspective in the comments section below. But first, let’s see if I can spur some thought.

Elon Musk is Buying Twitter for $44 Billion

While the free speech issues surrounding Twitter may not have much to do with your business directly, today’s development should definitely be of interest to small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Why?

Consider these points:

  • Elon Musk is only 50 years old and he’s worth $265 billion. Obviously, he knows a bit about running a business (SpaceX, Tesla). Small business owners should watch and learn as he makes changes to Twitter.
  • Changes Musk makes to Twitter are likely to have an impact to business owners and brands that use or don’t use the site.
  • Musk’s purchase of Twitter could have a ripple effect on other social media platforms.

Read more at SmallBizTrends.com

Investopedia addresses how entrepreneurship affects the economy as promoting economic growth, even if positive effects are sometimes overhyped. It goes on to list four key points for consideration:

  • Entrepreneurship refers to the “pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled.”
  • Entrepreneurship has become increasingly socially conscious, taking stock of the impact of entrepreneurial activity on societal issues and tending to view the possibility of addressing those issues as an important function of entrepreneurship.
  • The impact of entrepreneurs on economic growth is overall positive, though it may be more mixed than its proponents realize with evidence pointing towards widely different results within different sectors of the economy.
  • The evidence of how effective socially conscious innovations have been at solving the issues they tackle historically has been mixed.

In an eye-opening article, The Future of Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century, the author, Dr. Srikanth Gaddam points at some of the trends and changes we have seen throughout the business world over the past few years, and what those changes could mean for potential entrepreneurs looking to start their own business ventures in 2020 (and beyond), as well as how those changes could affect the future of entrepreneurship going forward. He lists them as:

The Rise of the Social Enterprise – there has been a sharp increase in the social awareness of consumers and the desire to contribute to businesses who use a percentage of their profits to help a range of deserving causes, and this change in habits has paved the way for a new kind of business venture. These businesses are known as social enterprises and are driven by purpose rather than profit, with a goal of improving the lives of others – and they’re most certainly becoming more and more common in today’s vast business landscape. 

The Impotrance of Digital Trends – aspiring entrepreneurs should certainly keep a keen eye on is the changing trends appearing within their potential consumer base. These trends can then be used to better market products or businesses towards the target demographic, leading to an all-important increase in sales and overall growth of the brand – or they could even be the thing that directs target audience toward the business [idea] in the first place.

Growth of Platforms – there has been a sharp increase in the establishing of businesses that operate using the platform model. A platform is a business model in which the company relies on building a large and prominent user base in order to grow, achieve prominence and maintain long-term success.

Dr. Srikanth Gaddam wraps up his article with, “Overall, there has never been a better time to set up your own business, as long as you can keep up with the trends and stand out among the rest. You could be the entrepreneur behind the next global cultural phenomenon.”

In 2017, a similar question was asked on Quora – What will the future of entrepreneurship look like 10 years from now? What is your advice for young entrepreneurs?

A response from a founder, brand consultant & teacher:

“The future of Entrepreneurship in 10 years looks very promising. Technology and the information age that we are currently in is paving the way and enabling people to become Founders and CEOs at a higher rate and a younger age than our parents did-I’m speaking about the Millennials. Anyone born after 1982. Starting a business and failing was catastrophic for them, and it would be for some today, but it is easier to rebound from a failed venture today. Don’t ever be afraid to fail, it’s called learning. And you can’t prosper without it. Just don’t make the same mistakes three times. My advice as a Brand Consultant that consults Entrepreneurs every day, don’t put your eggs all in one basket. Don’t start a business and not love what you do and be willing to put the blood, sweat and tears into it.”

I hope the information shared above has helped to spur some thoughts in your own mind about entrepreneurship and especially its role as we face economic uncertainty, a changing business landscape, social issues of the day and so much more.

So, back to our Question of the Week – What role will entrepreneurs play in the economy over the next 5-10 years?

3 Steps Ahead of Business Ownership

Many people have a dream of owning a business. It’s an American Dream!

However, whether doing so as an independent business or as a franchise there are important initial steps to take to ensure their dream-turned-reality starts off on the right foot.

Improve Financial Health

Review and analyze personal finances. As a first step, it’s essential to understand income coming in and expenses going out each and every month of the year. Think ahead to bills that come due quarterly or annually.

Plan a firm budget. The goal is to ensure living expenses are met for a minimum of one year after starting a business. If a vacation is planned during this period, it must be included in the budget. Pay off all short-term debt to the extent it’s possible and practical to do so.

If savings or income from investments are not allocated for living expenses, it’ll be necessary for personal income to continue through year one. Lenders will require a solid plan that is not dependent upon first year income from the new business. This may require a spouse or life partner continuing their employment while the business gets on firm footing.

Review credit reports for accuracy. Challenge all errors and keep records of the same. Organize all financial records including bank statements, investment account records and insurance policies – auto, health & life.

Consider working through the above with an independent financial coach who can provide valuable professional insight and perspective. From a confidential, non-judgmental position they can help resolve some issues requiring attention that may have initially appeared to have been barriers to business ownership.

How to Create a Business Plan

Network as Much as Possible

Meet with members of the local business professional services community – bankers, attorneys, financial planners, accountants, realtors. Share plans to start a business within the community. Develop a network of these professionals and keep them apprised of progress.

Attend and actively participate in networking events well in advance of commencing business operations. Networking provides great benefits from a very early stage including introduction of the business to the community, support from fellow business owners and assurance of a busy grand opening.

From visiting with business professional to attending local chamber meetings to participating in community functions, personal involvement starts to establish a long-term commitment to the community. Owning and operating a business is about establishing and building relationships. Do so as early as possible.

How to Start a Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

Be Honest with Yourself

Although working through due diligence is essential it’s important not to over-analyze to the point of procrastination… or even, paralysis. Taking the necessary steps outlined above should set a foundation of being well-informed and yes, a foundation of comfort and confidence, as well.

I am an entrepreneur. Go ahead. Say it!

Why is there reluctance to say, I am an entrepreneur? I’ve been asked that question many times. Heck, I’ve asked that question of myself on more than one occasion. It seems, at times we’re prouder to call ourselves, Founder or CEO or to say, I’m a business owner. Why is that?

Are those titles more respectful than, entrepreneur? Yet, we hear of late, we’re in an entrepreneurial economy. So, is that a bad thing or a good thing, and especially if we have a hard time fully admitting to entrepreneurship? Or should we just be entrepreneurial in how we approach our work, whatever that truly means?

Are we claiming to be in an entrepreneurial economy to justify the disappearance of the lifelong career at one company and this is just a way to say we need to create and prove ourselves over and over again, and forget the gold watch?

Back to the reference of being an entrepreneur… Is there a stigma of being a dreamer, always looking for something better, bigger, faster as opposed to what some believe is mundane, repetitive work with the security of a paycheck? Often, I hear it’s mostly due to yesterday’s immigrant mindset of being thankful to just have a job, yet it’s that same immigrant mindset that is the epitome of entrepreneurship.

 “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

We are living our fears.

Actually, I believe it’s because of fear — fear of failure, fear of what other people think, fear of the unknown, fear of the what if, fear of starting over, fear of change… But it’s when those fears are hit head-on and the adrenaline rush of success far outweighs those fears because you know, deep in your heart that you have a deeply ingrained talent that can and will make a difference.

Does that mean failures aren’t possible? Hell no, but it’s working through those failures, those blips, those aberrations that provide experience and resiliency to improve and innovate to make the next step, the next task, the next venture successful. That is entrepreneurship. And it’s when I don’t consider what I do as entrepreneurship, is when failure mostly occurs. Conversely, it’s when I focus on what I do as an entrepreneur, complete with that thinking outside the box and failure is not an option perspective, and when focused more on results as opposed to opinion of others, THAT is when success mostly occurs.

Yes, I’m an entrepreneur. My focus will stay as such as it is not only good for me, but also for my family and for those that rely on me to help them achieve their wishes, hopes and dreams! Why? Because I believe in possibilities, as without them, there are none.

Nurture Your Business for Optimum Growth

Think of your entrepreneurial journey much like growing a tree. First, you decide what type of tree you’d like to grow. Next, you learn how best to grow it. You then cultivate the soil to provide a firm foundation, but with necessary room to grow. The seeds go into the soil and it’s time to begin growing. Over a relative time, care is provided along with water, fertilizer and other nutrients so the tree not only grows but grows strong.

“Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking.” – Anita Roddick

For a while it’s frustrating as you stare at the dirt wondering when the first signs of growth will penetrate through the surface — a breakthrough of sorts. Then, one day it appears through the surface of the soil and as fragile as it is you wonder how it had the strength to push through. You then care for the tree a bit more, nurturing it along as it grows and grows, branches sprouting out along the way.

At times, it may look a bit unhealthy, so you move it into more direct or less sunlight, maybe increase watering or add some new fertilizer to the soil around it. You may even relocate the tree to a bigger space, a deeper hole to firm up the foundation so it can grow stronger. And then, you see it blossom as it takes a new form with bright flowers, attracting visiting insects from far and wide. It’s beautiful, but you’re cautious as there are predators that may want to feed off your tree, destroying it along the way. So, you protect it with insecticide or even a cage around it to prevent it from being eaten altogether.

Once mature, your tree will only require periodic maintenance. Sometimes it’ll need to be trimmed and pruned to spur new growth, again making it stronger and stronger and more beautiful than ever. You then think, maybe I should plant another one, and then another? Possibly you can grow them to a certain point and then sell them. After all, you know the process. You’ve gone through the learning curve. You most likely still have some or many of the resources you used to grow the first one. There may even be something new that will help it grow faster.

You see, growing a tree is a process. It takes time. It takes perseverance. It takes care and thought at every step. And yes, it takes you staying involved and committed to, not only the process but to the desired results. If you quit or neglect your responsibilities, your dream and business will die, just as the tree would die.

10 Ways to Grow Your Small Business

5 Considerations for Millennials & Generation Z Open to Franchising and Business Ownership

Franchising is not often considered by the approximately 139 million Millennials and Generation Z population (as of 2020). But, with so many qualified people looking to start or extend their careers, and on their own terms, every job option merits consideration.

First things first. Let’s understand who makes up this segment of the U.S. population that will make up the majority of the workforce for the next 30-40 years:

Millennials were the largest generation group in the U.S. in 2019, with an estimated population of 72.1 million. Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials recently surpassed Baby Boomers as the biggest group, and they will continue to be a major part of the population for many years.

Generation Z is the most recent to have been named, and many group members will not be able to remember a time before smartphones and social media. However, the group already makes up around 20.35 percent of the U.S. population, and they are said to be the most racially and ethnically diverse of all the generation groups. 

The number of Baby Boomers, whose generation was defined by the boom in births following the Second World War, has fallen by nearly six million since 2010. However, they remain the second-largest generation group, and aging Boomers are contributing to steady increases in the median age of the population. Meanwhile, the Millennial and Gen Z generations continue to grow, and a big reason for this is the increasing number of young immigrants and refugees arriving in the United States.

Thanks to Adecco’s ‘Way to Work’ survey, which surveyed 1,001 Americans who are mostly currently in college or recently graduated and in their late teens to mid-20s, the primary differences between the two generations and how these differences might play out in the workplace have been identified. Three key takeaways, or differences between Millennials and Gen Z regarding work include:

  • Members of Gen Z are more concerned about the cost of education (21% of respondents), compared to Millennials (13% of respondents).
  • Millennials value stability (34%), while Gen Z puts more of an emphasis on finding their dream job (32%).
  • More Gen Zers follow their parents’ influence (42%), compared to their Millennial counterparts (36%).

So, what about business ownership and franchising, once the American Dream of Baby Boomers?

Here are five important considerations for Millennials and Gen Z open to this path of entrepreneurship:

Affordability. Most people between the ages of 18 and 35 cannot afford $800,000 for a brick-and-mortar business but a home-based business might cost between $40,000 and $60,000. There are a vast variety of franchises. Millennials and Gen Z can find one that fits their budget as well as their ideal income, lifestyle, wealth and equity.

Digital Minds. Both groups are digital natives who can capitalize on the Internet to grow their business. Every type of franchise can benefit from someone proficient in the cyber realm, whether that be growing an at-home business in pajamas, creating a digital work force or driving business with a creative social media campaign.  

Control. Some franchises have a web presence that is systemized from the top. If that’s the case, Millennial and Gen Z candidates need to decide if controlling the social presence is important to them or not, then choose a franchise accordingly.

Do Good. Many young people are as concerned their life work be meaningful and socially responsible as they are with money. A franchise allows Millennial and Gen Z candidates the opportunity to “do good” while being their own boss. Franchises exist for dog sitting, tutoring and healthy food, among countless options available for those looking align livelihood with their social mission. 

Difficulties. Both generations like their own voice on social media, their own marketing plan and are generally excited to execute their next big idea. Franchisors offer a replicable model so customers know what to expect. A Millennial or Gen Z candidates who decide to become a franchisee must be sure they completely support the system they choose.

21 Tips for Young and Aspiring Entrepreneurs

As the future of works rests on the shoulders of Millennials and Generation Z, changes to the work force will continue and most likely, not return to any semblance of what was common pre-pandemic. I guess the most important questions (concerns) for me are, Will Millennials and Gen Zers pull professional culture in opposite directions, or do both generations have common ambitions? After all, the workplace structure cannot be a work in progress forever.

We Must.

The past 2 years have seen many scrambling to fight off challenge after challenge. Accordingly, actions have been mostly reactive. To many, it’s been a shear, exhausting act of survival.

Well, it’s time to make the complete shift back to being proactive.

If it’s a pivot to move forward in what may be a new normal, we must accept it. If it’s a drastic change that is required, we must act on it. If it’s a new direction that is inevitable, we must move toward it.

We must get back to playing to win as opposed to playing not to lose.

Even in the face of failure, we must dust off dreams that have been cast aside. We must pursue them once again. We must do so with purpose and conviction.

We must overcome negativity with a positive mindset. We must explore possibilities. We must capitalize on opportunities.

Life as we once knew it has changed. We must realize it for what it is. We must deal with it. We must adapt. We must take action.

We must act swiftly. We must act decisively. We must do so with aggressive plans to not only survive, but to thrive. We must accelerate success.

We must make it happen. We must make it count. Yes, we must!