With COVID-19, layoffs and incentives to retire early are prompting many to think of the next steps. Why not think big? You can with a franchise investment.
Life after retirement conjures up images of grandpa sitting in his rocking chair on the front porch, but that is far from reality. Today's retirees are active and youthful. They may be ready to say goodbye to the 9-to-5 routine but still want to keep mentally stimulated and have an additional source of income besides retirement funds. We are living longer, after all. So, what's next?
Whether you're heading toward retirement or have been forced to do so early because of COVID-19, you can feel excited about your next steps. Believe it or not, there are countless opportunities to have a working retirement that's both satisfying and lucrative. You can still have time for travel, tennis and anything else you've dreamed of doing in retirement. By investing in an absentee or semi-absentee franchise business, you can reinvent yourself without the frustration of going back on the job market or starting a business from scratch. You can walk into a proven business model with training, support, marketing and branding already in place. There is no guesswork when it comes to franchise ownership, which makes it a much safer and easier way to go.
With a franchise investment, the playing field is leveled. Here is an opportunity to draw from your experience and apply it to your own business. You can change industries and do something totally different. Soft skills, like communication, problem-solving, relationship building are key to success in running a franchise, not necessarily specific industry experience.
A great time to invest
You might think that it's a bad time to invest in a business, but take a closer look. With lending at all-time lows and commercial landlords willing to negotiate, there's a lot to take advantage of right now. One sure-fire way to understand the health of any franchise business is to reach out to current franchise owners and see how they have been faring during COVID-19. Has the franchisor been supportive during this time? Did they create extra initiatives or programs to get through the downturn? Knowing how a franchisor handles the worst of times can give you a good feel for how they operate in any climate.
Businesses you can run with part-time effort
You might think that running a business, even a franchised one, requires more time and energy than you’re willing to give in retirement. But you might not know that many franchisors have designed their business models for absentee or semi-absentee ownership. With them, you can mostly be hands-off when it comes to the actual work. Some require as little as five to 20 hours a week to run. Many people invest in these businesses while they are still employed. Initially, they may need more of your time to ramp up, but once you have employees in place, you can run these businesses part-time.
The sky is the limit when it comes to options, so you can think big with a franchise investment. Ever wanted to be in the beauty business? Well, you can as an absentee owner … no beauty school required. You'd be surprised at the industries that lend themselves to absentee and semi-absentee ownership.
Here is just a sampling.
From niche studios to colossal, large-scale gyms, there is a fitness brand to work with every investment level. With membership-based models, owners reap the benefits of recurring revenue and high ROI. Many of the smaller gyms have low overhead, and require small studio space and few employees to operate. They also tend to create a sense of community with members and have high customer retention. Possibly the best part of owning a fitness franchise is the feel-good aspect. What can be better than knowing you are helping people improve their lives?
The laundry industry is worth $5 billion and offers an essential service. Franchisors are disrupting this fragmented business sector by using the latest in technology, with eco-friendly machines and detergents. Besides the typical coin-op washers and dryers, they are offering drop-off wash and dry-and-fold services, which have become popular at college campuses and in trendy urban neighborhoods. Catering to a younger crowd, these businesses set themselves apart with friendly, bright and safe facilities. They offer nice touches like snacks and entertainment all in a more inviting setting than the traditional, depressing laundromat. Pick-up and delivery services add additional revenue streams.
Everyone eats, and that is why food businesses are ever popular. By going with a franchised brand, you can take advantage of their recipes, menus, branding, systems and marketing. Now, you can better understand how the company will do through rocky times by looking at how they have been faring through COVID-19. Have they stayed ahead of technology and offered services like curbside delivery and apps for ordering? Not only will these services help a food business through a pandemic, but they will offer conveniences that attract customers for the long term.
Franchise owners don't need to have restaurant experience, but strong business acumen is a plus. Franchise owners receive extensive training from the franchisor. These businesses are perfect for absentee ownership, but require more of your time when ramping up. Hiring a reliable team is key. Many of the newer, healthier brands popping up, like crepe cafes and juice bars and are simpler to operate, requiring fewer employees and less need for expensive kitchen equipment or large spaces.
Perhaps the ultimate in passive income, vending is for people who want an investment business but don't want to spend all their time running it. Typically, it takes just a few hours a week to manage a vending business and a lot of the work can be done remotely. Technology rules today’s machines with digital payments and electronic alerts when inventory is getting low. And if you hate the idea of selling junk food, you probably haven't seen a vending machine lately. There are many that offer healthy options, and most times, it can be customized to the customer base.
Business experience and soft skills are key to owning a business consulting franchise. Whatever your background, the franchisor can train you to run the business. While most are designed as owner/operator models, you could earn a nice income with part-time effort. Often called “white collar” franchises, they run the gamut from career coaching to expense reduction. Depending on the brand, you can conduct business from anywhere, which is great for retirees.
If you love helping people, a career as a franchise consultant can be extremely rewarding. Also referred to as franchise brokers, franchise consultants make money helping people identify and invest in franchise businesses. By paying an affiliation fee with a broker network, consultants receive ongoing training and have access to leading franchise brands.
As a franchise consultant, you could conduct business from anywhere if you're connected to Wi-Fi and have a computer. You could still live your retirement dream of traveling the world while running your own business, which, for most is a lot more interesting than sitting in a rocking chair all day!