A trend in business ownership has emerged over the last few years – baby boomers starting new businesses after successful careers in the corporate world. Now, more than ever, people in this age range are transferring valuable acquired skills to their own franchise businesses, with no regrets.
Baby Boomers, individuals born between 1946 and 1964, make up the largest population group in the United States today, nearly 80 million strong. Over time, people in this age group will naturally transition out of the workforce, through layoffs and voluntary retirement.
No matter how these people move on from corporate careers, some simply can’t or don’t want to “retire” in the traditional sense. This is fueling the trend in business ownership among the baby boomer population. For many, starting or purchasing a business fulfills a lifelong dream at a perfect time in life to start fresh.
In fact, since about 2005, there has been a steady increase in business owners from this subset of the population. A study done by AARP has estimated that one-third of the 16.5% of workers age 50 and older eventually go into business for themselves. A large number of these business owners choose to invest in a franchise over riskier start up businesses because the ramp up time can be shorter with a turn-key system such as a franchise.
“The key to business ownership for those nearing retirement age is a quick time to turn a profit,” explains Jania Bailey, president and COO of FranNet, an international franchise consulting firm. “Franchises offer a system that, if followed, can produce a quicker return on investment than a traditional startup. After all, there’s no time to waste when the trial-and-error days of youth are behind you,”
FranNet works locally with clients at no cost to help them find the right franchise to match their goals, interests and financial capabilities. There are over 70 FranNet Consultants located across the US and internationally.
With a franchise, there is also the advantage of training and support to help the business see a return on investment as quickly as possible. That made sense for John Sylvia, a new owner of the consulting franchise, Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. Sylvia worked with Dan Citrenbaum, his local FranNet consultant, to purchase the eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware territory. Sylvia said, “Dan’s low key, consultative approach made the assessment process enjoyable, fact based and as objective as possible”. He recently started his franchise in January, after a corporate restructuring by his former company. Sylvia had acquired extensive transferrable skills during his 30 years in the chemical, manufacturing, consumer products and consulting services industries, and wanted to apply those skills to his own business.
As a former business owner himself, Sylvia knew how to run a business, but liked the idea of a franchise because of the support. “I had experience in business for myself, but by myself, and this time I was interested in doing it differently. With ERA, I have a corporate organization to support me, and other franchisees to talk to, in addition to the advice and direction of an area developer.”
Another advantage of investing in a franchise is the well known franchise marketing and operational system, coupled with the flexibility and independence gained from business ownership. This is a big draw for many baby boomers.
Peter Nowell, a new business owner from Dublin, Ohio, also chose to invest in an ERA franchise because of the flexibility of the business. “My circumstances were unique. I was in a major accident 3 years ago that left me with spinal cord injuries. I was in a wheelchair for a while and I’m still in rehab, considered fully disabled. I couldn’t continue my career in manufacturing management because I needed to be able to walk plant floors and travel. My former employer accommodated me as long he could, but I knew I needed to be looking for something I could do at my own pace.”
Nowell began looking at franchises because he could control his own workload. He worked with his local FranNet consultant, Barney Greenbaum, to help him narrow down his franchise options. He found the structure and business to business consulting of ERA to be a good fit for his physical requirements.
“I met with Barney and this opportunity was so different from anything else I considered, but as I thought more about it, I saw the fit. I didn’t anticipate that good of a fit with ERA. If it hadn’t been for FranNet, I wouldn’t have heard about it.”
Nowell and Sylvia are just two examples of baby boomer former executives, with lots of valuable business skills, who are now using them for their own businesses. Franchising gives people such as them the opportunity to quickly and efficiently open a new business, minimizing the risk of a start up. Franchises offer training, support, and most importantly, a system of operations that are best described as “turn-key”.
Their new franchises let them invest in themselves, with no regrets.