Here we are again, another fall with football, changing leaves, family focused holidays and planning for the future. Seems interesting that this is one of the busiest times of the year for franchise companies and their candidates, but it does actually make a little sense if you look closely.
We have times of introspection during the year, the first tends to be Spring when Winter is ending and we are all coming out of hibernation excited for the year to come. Fall offers the same opportunity as we start planning for the future.
In our Grandparents’ time this might be when we would be putting up food and storing supplies to get through the harsh Winter months, but today we have grocery stores, on-demand TV and comfortable heated houses with gas fireplaces that only require flipping a switch not going out to chop wood. So planning for our financial future seems to be what has taken over for the old habits of just surviving Winter.
In this day and age we tend to see people spending these cooler months tuning up their 401K and stock investment strategies, lining up new health or life insurance, searching for a new job. On the employer side of the fence companies are looking to see how they can finish the year on a positive note and keep their stock prices in line with expectations.
Interestingly the two most common times for corporate down-sizings have seemed to be August and December, as companies work to show improved financials.
In our franchise consulting practice we see candidates who are not comfortable with the security of their paycheck, not happy with their jobs, tired of being road warriors and want to make a change going into the New Year. They come in late Summer through Fall looking to enter the New Year with a sense of pride and happiness.
As it turns out this is a very productive time to do a franchise investigation. The candidates using the bandwidth of the franchisors tend to be a little more serious now, meaning the franchisors have more time to spend with candidates committed to change. Getting more time with the franchisor helps you better understand their brand, training, support system and operations so that you can construct your plan for how you could use that system to pursue your own success just as their current franchisees have.
So, what are your benefits to taking advantage of the end of the year to discover, investigate and move forward with your next step?
Working from that point of introspection and having these quiet periods before, during and after the holidays, you may find that these coming weeks offer you the opportunity to not only look at the concept but to dive into your goals, dreams and needs for the future. This is a great time to do a personal inventory of your skills and strengths (that model I have described in previous articles, contact me if you need help building one).
With a clear picture of what you want your future to look like and most importantly why you want it to look that way, you can add in your model and start to understand what kind of opportunities may make sense for you and your family. These may look very different than the hot sizzling concept of the moment, and more like something that you can see yourself actually doing every day.
You may also find that this is a good time to work the funding plan for establishing your business into the financial planning we all do at this time of the year. Starting a business is simply part of the portfolio building many people do. You have toiled away in corporate America for years, gone to school and spent time learning from others just so you can say you are one of the best at what you do. At some point it is time to take the training wheels off and stop building someone else’s dream and portfolio with that skill set so that you can build your own.
With that in mind, is investing in yourself with that great skill set any worse than investing in a company you don’t work for and trusting a CEO you have never met? Maybe it is time to put that 401K to work for you instead of for the benefit of your fund manager. Maybe this is the year that your financial planning ought to include investing in a business asset you can own, control and grow!
Speaking of financial planning and benefits, as you invest in a business before the end of the year those checks you are writing may be for business expenses. Ask your accountant if those expenses create tax deductions, you may be pleasantly surprised about the rather near term benefits of investing in a business before the end of the year!
New Year, New Outlook on Life. We have time left to make 2014 the stepping stone to your goals and dreams. Before we hunker down for Winter, shovel snow, go skiing, watch weather reports to figure out how much clothing to pile on and look forward to Groundhog Day to see if Spring is on the way why don’t we take a little of this introspective planning period to see what your future could look like if you were a business owner?
Would you like to spend Spring building your business in your community instead or sitting in traffic, airports or mind numbing meetings? Have your kids begun to forget your name and you want to be at every game and recital going forward? Do you want to walk away from the stress of wondering if you will get caught up in cost cutting or downsizing as someone in your company tries to make the numbers look good for the stock market?
If your goal for creating meaningful change in your career for the New Year, then the bedrock of that plan has to be built now. The steps are easy and time tested, we have done this for the last 13 Fall seasons. While this may be your first time you are not alone.
Mr. Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised, of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both startup and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution.
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