Franchising can offer the freedom, flexibility, and family time Americans crave.
Throughout my nearly 30 years in franchising, I’ve had the pleasure of talking with countless franchise owners about their goals for their business — and themselves. While they come from all walks of life, many have been parents that left demanding careers in corporate America in search of a better quality of life for themselves and their families.
In many ways, the rising costs associated with housing, childcare, education, health insurance, and other essentials have pitted work against family. Even when people are not on the job, the ability to disconnect seems impossible. And the growth of teleworking has blurred the lines between work and home. Despite proof that work-life balance leads to higher employee morale, better job satisfaction, and more productivity, it seems as our society is moving in the opposite direction.
In recent years, I’ve noticed work-life balance as an ever-present topic in our society, and there is a heated debate over whether it is attainable. Particularly, work-life balance becomes increasingly challenging when working professionals become a parent and are determining if they have to make sacrifices in their careers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, two-fifths of American families have children under 18 (approximately 33.6 million families), and, among married-couple families with children, 63% have both parents employed.
A growing number of parents and caregivers are looking for more flexible career paths. Entrepreneurship, particularly franchising — where you are in business for yourself, but not by yourself — is a solution to many. It’s given them the freedom, flexibility, and the family time they crave. What’s more, franchising provides people the opportunity to mold their new career as an entrepreneur into whatever they want it to be. There are thousands of franchise opportunities with some of America’s most beloved brands across a variety of industries, from retail and restaurants to education, service, travel, and more. These opportunities come in many forms, including traditional brick-and-mortar business, mobile franchises, and home-based franchises.
In running their business, franchise owners have the opportunity to pursue a full-time career or choose to be an active investor and have a partner lead the day-to-day operations with a strong managerial team in place. Through my experience as CEO of Primrose Schools, I’ve seen successful franchisees who have scaled their business while raising young children, as well as those who have decided to grow only after their young children got older or left the house all together. I value that franchising allows franchisees the opportunity to make business decisions that enable them to have the work-life balance they desire.
When researching franchise opportunities, consider these things:
Unfortunately, many people feel stuck in jobs they don’t personally care about. But entrepreneurship allows you to follow your passion and do something that is emotionally and financially rewarding. Learn what’s available by reviewing awards and rankings, like the Entrepreneur Franchise 500, an annual ranking of the franchises with the greatest brand strength.
The support you need
Investing in a franchise enables you to tap into the network of resources and tools that an established model provides. When you’re researching potential franchises, be sure to find out how involved the franchisor is and what type of support they provide throughout every phase of your franchising journey. Find a franchisor that has designed a franchise program to make the most of the effort owners put into their business.
The cost of entry
Investment costs for franchises run the gamut, from a few thousand dollars to several million. Consider your budget and the minimum net worth and liquidity required in order to narrow down your options. Forbes’ ranking of America’s Best and Worst Franchises breaks down its ranking by initial investment. From there, you can review each brand’s franchising website to find additional details pertaining to whether or not it’s a good fit for you.
As a mother and grandmother, I am a passionate advocate for franchising because of the opportunities the industry provides for parents and non-parents searching for their ideal level of work-life balance. We know through recent studies that as parents evaluate how best to manage their careers with the responsibility of parenting, they often struggle with feelings of guilt. Parents should not feel guilty daily for the decisions they make in order to care for their families. While corporate America is aware of these challenges, and many companies are making progress, it’s not there yet. In the meantime, there is a viable option for better quality of life awaiting through franchising.
Jo Kirchner is CEO of Primrose Schools, the leader in providing premier early education and care to children and families in the United States.