Opportunities Expanding for Professionals

Franchise Gathering Highlights Opportunity Expansion

Franchising premier gathering took place recently in Orlando, Florida where 3,000 franchisors, franchisees and suppliers met to discuss the state of franchising, consider the impact of the collective effort and to see what is new, innovative and pressing on the forefront of this transformative global model for business growth and entrepreneurship. It was clear that professionals, who are increasingly willing to leave organizations and institutions to engage the franchise sector, was a focus for many of those offering franchises as their displays, materials and their messaging is evolving to intercept this coveted segment of the market.

The proverbial “mom & pop” still exists, yet they are being driven down the food chain to lower cost offers with limited complexities and modest potential for significant local expansion. Welcome to the new era of Professionals in Franchising which features over 50 million adults in their mid-thirties to mid-forties who are looking for something they can call their own.

A New Society of Franchising

This era has been coming for some time and is now upon us even as many franchise companies fail to see the tsunami that is engulfing their concepts. Historically, franchises are started by an entrepreneur filling a market need irrespective of educational background, professional affiliation or financial capability. As those innovative concepts develop founders are reticent to bring on professional management to support the growth of their concept.

Consequently, they reach the maturity stage far too quickly, generally with fewer than 100 franchises, and languish there for decades until they lose relevance in the market place or are consumed by a franchise consolidator.

Professionals are not excited by or attracted to small, slow growth and complacent franchisors, except as potential buyers to transform worthy concepts into formidable competitors in the new professional arena of franchising. Likewise, as well educated and financially capable professionals peruse the franchise landscape they are challenging the status quo in search of concepts that are professionally operated, technologically sound and with evidence of staying power in a dynamic and volatile global marketplace.

The Attraction to Franchising By Professionals

The impetus for burgeoning interest by professionals in franchising is the stogie and unyielding culture of corporate America. The world is changing but organizational structures, hierarchies and approaches to the market are falling farther behind. As baby boomers are entrenched in their final, yet senior management positions they are not devoting the time to consume the increasingly available and stimulating research on our rapidly changing global marketplace.

Although media driven periodicals are providing prescriptive notions on “change”, they pale in comparison to the heady and relevant insights by leading change management researchers on the evolving complexion of our society. Social media and the Gen-Y population are just two of the arenas where senior leadership is lagging to integrate organizational change, potentially to their demise, and yet significant resources exist and in fact, are being pressed by the middle management professionals within the firm.

A quick search on “Gen-Y” at the Metlife website provides access to just the tip of the iceberg on the potential for impact from this population segment that is already wielding its presence in music, fashion, on the internet and in the media. From Jersey Shores to YouTube, ignorance of their interests, aptitude and growth potential is creating tremendous opportunity in franchising for professionals to obtain franchise companies, evoke needed change in existing franchise systems or to launch innovative concepts of their own. I recently architected a franchise system for Pro Feed Pet Nutrition Centers, a professional in pet nutrition, one of the brightest segments of the global economy yet summarily overlooked by the industry leaders in pet food. Who would buy a pet nutrition franchise? He is banking on professionals who “get it”…

The Road Ahead

Have you ever been on a trip and only figured out you’ve been headed down the wrong road when you reached the end? Professionals have figured out that corporate America is on that journey and many are just not interested in reaching the end of the road. They are looking for an entry point into a trip that allows them to fully engage their education, experience and local sphere of influence in the coming society where youth and technology set the cadence. Franchising is one of the most exciting, inviting and efficacious platforms for a crop of smart entrepreneurs that are not satisfied with status quo, and are willing to fundamentally embrace the global marketplace with an eye towards changing it, both for virtually unlimited financial gain and to the betterment of society. And that is franchising well…

Franchising is one of the most exciting, inviting and efficacious platforms for a crop of smart entrepreneurs that are not satisfied with status quo

Ben LitalienBen Litalien is the 2011 Karp Research Foundation Award recipient for his ground-breaking research on “Social franchise.”

He is the founder and principal of Franchise Well, a specialized consulting practice supporting franchise companies, prospective franchisees and nonprofit organizations interested in the franchise sector. Ben is a Certified Franchise Executive as designated by the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives and he teaches the Franchise Management Certification Program at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He has an executive MBA from the University of Houston in Texas and is currently pursuing his Doctor of Management degree at the University of Maryland University College. For more information, visit www.franchisewell.com. Ben can be reached at ben@franchisewell.com

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