Top 4 Reasons to “Own Your Own”

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the franchising concept. Why? Because the franchising model provides the best of both worlds for franchisee and franchisor.

The franchisee gets resources, support and structure with individual owner freedom. The franchisor also benefits: the company is able to grow stronger and better due to the local knowledge and community engagement of local store owners. After all, franchisees are small business owners who know their communities better than any corporate headquarters ever could!

So, whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur who dreams of owning your own small business, a young college graduate, a “corporate refugee” looking for change or a retiree looking for a great “second act,” franchising offers a great opportunity.

Here are my top four reasons to consider pursuing your small business dreams with a franchise – all based on my experience with growing one Edible Arrangements® store into 1,200 in just 15 years.

1 Franchisees are part of the group of small businesses that truly turn the wheels of our economy.

Between 1999 and 2008, not one single Edible Arrangements® store closed. Why? Because the stores are owned by franchisees. When times get tough, franchise owners get innovative. They reinvent how they do things, they reorganize. They pay themselves less for a while if it’s necessary. They are invested and care, and they are not going down easily! They come through hard economic times stronger as a result of their dedication.

On the other hand, company-owned stores are at the whim of the corporate office. If profits are down – sometimes even slightly – company-owned stores will be shut down to improve the bottom line, rather than toughing it out.

Between 2007 and 2009, at the peak of the financial crisis, the employment rate among all U.S. businesses dropped 4.2 percent. For U.S. franchise businesses, that number was significantly less, only 2.4 percent.

As small business owners, franchisees are vested and rooted in their communities. If a potential employee does not look great on paper, franchisees have the benefit of knowledge—they know more about that and are willing to give them a chance. In my experience, franchisees are much more willing to work with adequate employees in whom they see potential and turn them into great employees!

2 Franchises allow owners to bring together passion and commitment while providing the leeway to best serve local customers.

Edible Arrangements® provides all advertising, marketing, technology and employee training materials needed to ensure a uniform presence of our brand around the world. With these organizational tools in hand, Edible Arrangements’® franchisees are encouraged to do creative local promotions and advertising and, in particular, to engage in their local communities as they see fit.

After all, as local store owners, they live there and know best what needs and opportunities exist to make a splash locally. And they do! Our franchisees are passionate, dedicated and know which small touches will best serve their local communities.

3 Franchises are the “next frontier” in innovation!

Most people are very familiar with food and convenience store franchises. These great businesses are in all of our neighborhoods. However, if you want to do something innovative and fresh, franchising is still an option for you!

As quickly as a product or service becomes popular, some savvy businessperson will create a company around that product or service and often see its potential as a franchise. This gives you the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the next emerging trend, whether it’s a “green” business that recycles vegetable oil such as Recóleo, mobile video game birthday parties such as Mobile Gaming Revolution or even a Beef Jerky Outlet, there are plenty of creative options out there. There is no limit to the opportunities available.

4 Franchise growth is outpacing other industry growth!

Since the recession, franchise business growth has exceeded that of other businesses. The franchising industry is also adding jobs to the economy at a faster pace than other businesses: franchise job growth was a 3.1 percent for the most recent year; compared to 2.1 percent for all businesses. According to IHS Global Insight’s research, the number of franchise establishments in the United States is expected to increase by 1.7 percent by the end of the year.

I don’t know for sure, but I bet this growth has something to do with the power of the franchising model: the passion, commitment and local knowledge of the small business owner, the franchisee.

Tariq Farid is the Founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements. The company began in 1999 with one small store in East Haven, Connecticut. Through franchising, the company has grown to 1,200 stores in 14 countries and territories in just 15 years. Farid is a champion of the franchising model as a great way to grow a large business, but also firmly believes becoming a franchisee is pathway for successful small business ownership.

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