Many aspiring entrepreneurs hesitate to pursue their professional dreams due to the seemingly daunting risks of failure associated with starting a business from the ground up. Opening a franchise is an avenue that allows you to reap the benefits of owning your own small business without all of the costly trade-offs.
The flexibility and freedom associated with franchise ownership is made even more attractive when placed in a non-traditional setting, such as a hotel, university, military base or convention center, said Chris Adkins, Vice President of Franchise Sales with The UPS Store, a leading U.S. franchisor.
“Such unexpected environments often offer a bevy of benefits including a lower cost to startup, reduced franchise fees and more,” said Adkins.
According to the 2014 IFA Franchise Business Economic Outlook, there were 757,453 franchised units in the United States in 2013, and this number continues to grow. Needless to say, there are many choices out there and it’s important to research which opportunities are right for you.
Franchising is unlike starting a business from the ground up. It gives you all the benefits of owning your own business, but with the added support of a recognized brand and an established method of doing business. When evaluating your options, look for a franchisor that provides support in a broad range of areas, such as:
Site selection and lease negotiation, as well as designing your store and getting it up and running. Look for a franchisor who can give solid guidance on potential locations for your store, including unexpected – but high-traffic and potentially very lucrative – sites such as school campuses, shopping malls, military bases, hotels and convention centers.
Advertising and marketing campaigns that build brand awareness and regional efforts that will complement your local store marketing to build excitement in your neighborhood.
Public relations support that helps produce publicity and visibility for the franchise network nationwide, as well as tools to help garner local media coverage for your store.
Comprehensive training to help you develop the business knowledge and day-to-day operational skills to own and operate your store.
Financing assistance to help manage a portion of the start-up business expenses.
Product development that brings new products and services to help you better serve your customers.
Networking opportunities to connect with other franchisees, allowing you to stay informed of industry trends, discover new tools and resources, and develop lasting relationships with your fellow franchisees.
Multi-unit opportunities, if future growth is part of your business plan. Approximately 34 percent of The UPS Store franchisee network owns more than one center. For select qualified franchisees, the company offers reduced franchise fees and the opportunity to open in non-traditional locations.
Operating a franchise doesn’t mean you have to have a store front property. Did you know you can open your franchise on a military base, college campus or mall kiosk? To learn more about franchising, visit the International Franchise Association. For opportunities available with The UPS Store, visit www.theupsstorefranchise.com.
Is Franchising for You?
If you’re considering purchasing a franchise, not only is it important to understand the options available to you and the financial and logistical considerations involved, it’s also critical to determine if you have the right mindset to become a franchise owner.
Like all small business operators, franchise owners must possess characteristics like passion and dedication, and both types of entrepreneurs enjoy the freedom of setting their own hours and controlling their own financial destiny. But there are some notable distinctions that define a successful franchisee.
A business owner who is willing to work hard, leverage proven systems and utilize the tools and support structure created by the franchisor is an ideal candidate for franchising.
Conversely, most effective franchise owners are not strongly motivated by autonomy. That is, they recognize the value of buying a tested, proven model and haven’t entered the business with a goal of implementing significant changes.
It’s All About Location
For The UPS Store franchisee David Anderson, non-traditional locations on university campuses are the perfect business model. In fact, after opening his first non-traditional location at Arizona State University, he is now channeling all his efforts into opening more locations on university campuses, versus traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores.
“What appeals to me about opening a franchise on a university campus is it’s a business-to-business relationship,” said Anderson. “I deal directly with the university to provide products and services the students and faculty need and I’m able to offer a trusted, recognizable brand on campus.”
With more than 70,000 students and 13,000 on-campus residents, ASU is the largest public university in the U.S. The mail and package handling here is similar to managing postal, parcel and shipping services for a small city. While it’s highly technical and involves serious logistics, Anderson is up for the challenge.
“It’s always fun and exciting,” said Anderson. “We are creating programs and services that help university life. It’s a great environment to work in.”
When asked about the benefits, Anderson listed the top three advantages to opening a franchise on a university campus:
1. It offers a closed marketplace – students and faculty can get services they need without leaving campus.
2. It is generally less expensive to market your business on campus versus off campus through student newspaper, radio and TV stations.
3. There is a new batch of customers delivered to your front door every single year with the influx of new student arrivals.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
The UPS Store