For years, the role of franchisee has typically been filled by more experienced business people. For example, established professionals looking to add a new income source as they prepare for retirement or those seeking a way out of the corporate 9-5 flock toward franchise opportunities as a second act in their careers. While the majority of franchisees still come from this more seasoned group of entrepreneurs, a younger generation is steadily turning toward the opportunities provided by franchised businesses for the tremendous opportunities it presents to shape a career built on their own terms. And, in typical Millennial fashion, they’re doing it for reasons that are entirely their own.
This younger generation enters the workforce eager to be their own boss. They’ve seen people finding great success as at a young age in fields such as technology and they’re eager to replicate that success in other industries. Coming into this situation with only a few years in the workforce or directly out of college means they don’t typically have the savings or collateral a more experienced entrepreneur has, so they have to find creative way to start their business with less resources at their disposal. Franchising provides a better opportunity for them for a few reasons. Because they’ll need to get their seed money in the form of a small business loan or by borrowing from their parents, franchising presents a less risky investment than a traditional business started from scratch. An established franchise’s proven system means young business owners are more likely to succeed, which eases concerns from potential investors about their limited experience.
Those proven systems featured by established franchises are also a powerful incentive for potential young franchisees themselves. Many enter the workforce with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and great business acumen, but lacking some of the experience necessary to don all the hats a business owner must wear. The road map provided by a franchised systems puts them on the road to success and fills in some of those gaps in their experience. Easy-to-follow processes for everyday tasks like inventory management, accounting and payroll mean a franchisee doesn’t need to spend years in a management role before they learn how to keep things running smoothly. If they do run into challenges and need advice, they can turn to the franchiser team for guidance and support – a franchised system is only as successful as its individual locations, so everyone in invested in their success. Young franchisees also benefit from access to best practices developed across a wide network of business owners overcoming challenges and succeeding with the same concept.
An added benefit for many franchise owners is the opportunity to get involved in local charities that are important to their customers and employees. It allows them to make a positive impact in their community and, in turn, helps their business establish itself as a valuable member of that community. Many Millennials insist on incorporating charitable activities into their jobs, and the ability to run a business and lead those philanthropic initiatives can be a huge incentive for them to join a franchised system. Many of the concepts that have had the most success attracting young owners have charitable aspects baked right into the business model and allow individual franchisees to choose a local cause or several local causes that mean the most to their community. This ability to leverage their position as a business owner to make a positive impact attracts bright and highly motivated Millennials to buy into their concept.
The franchise business model is a great fit for entrepreneurs of all ages, but Millennials are becoming a bigger and bigger part of franchised systems in many industries. This trend is sure to continue and perhaps grow at a larger rate as members of Generation Z reach adulthood and explore the best fits for their careers. This diversity in experience, skills and perspective can be a real benefit to franchisers and the benefits of joining a strong franchise provides a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs.
Harriet Mills is CEO and Founder of Wine & Design.