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Corporate refugees consider franchising

Part 1 of a 3-part series: The new breed of corporate refugees and why they are turning to franchising
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You probably know one (or several). Maybe you even are one. I’m talking about a new breed of professional – the corporate refugee.

There are many highly qualified individuals who are concerned about their job security because of downsizing or displacement. They may also be experiencing real concerns about being transferred or otherwise separated from a long-time corporate career. These people are often referred to as “corporate refugees”.

In this three-part series, I’ll take a look at what motivates this group of professionals, why they make ideal franchisees and why franchising is working for them.

Of course, the number of corporate refugees increases significantly during recessionary periods. However, there are always many corporate refugees that are considering their options in the business world. Some become corporate refugees by choice; others by receiving a pink slip. As corporate employees age, their risk of being replaced by a younger, less expensive employee increases exponentially. The typical age can vary, but most corporate refugees are in their 40s or early 50s.

Facing four options

Corporate refugees generally have four options available to them. They can:

·       attempt to find alternative employment,

·       launch their own independent business,

·       purchase an existing independent business, or

·       invest in a franchised business.

The urgency to find a suitable business opportunity will vary depending on whether their employment has been terminated or if they are still employed but motivated to leave the corporate world and control their own destiny.

Finding an alternative position may prove to be difficult unless they are willing to relocate or consider a lesser position (together with reduced income).    

Those with an entrepreneurial streak, want to make their own decisions, and enjoy a flexible schedule may be tempted to launch their own business. But starting a business is probably the riskiest decision as it involves a lot of research to prepare a good business plan and marketing strategy, and raising capital for a start-up can be very challenging. Of course, some people may decide to leverage their industry experience and professional network and start a low-capital-cost consulting business. Their ability to succeed as a consultant will be heavily dependent on their ability to find clients, rather than their ability to advise clients.

Purchasing an existing business means that it should have established methods of conducting business and employees and customers.  There should be less start-up headaches and if the business is profitable it can eliminate the concern about the level of income during the first few years of operation.

By starting your own business, or purchasing an existing business, you may remove any concerns about job security (as you aren’t likely to fire yourself) but there is the larger risk of business failure.

On the other hand, a franchised business is often a better fit for a corporate refugee, as becoming an independent small business owner means they don’t have the framework, systems, corporate culture and peer support they enjoyed in corporate life. They can benefit from a proven operating system, reduced risk, easier access to financing, purchasing power, pre-opening support, ongoing support and brand recognition.

In short, they are in business for themselves, but not by themselves.  

Part two: Why corporate refugees make ideal franchisees, and why they love mobile and service franchises