Fabulous and 50: Starting a franchise later in life

13/07/2018 17:00 | Start a business

Franchising later in life

The old saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks is increasingly proven wrong by the rise in people over the age of 50 running successful franchises. Rather than planning for retirement, many budding entrepreneurs realise that they still have a lot to offer and are excited by what the next stage of their life will entail.

With the children having left home, the over 50s have much more time and energy to dedicate to starting a franchise than their younger counterparts. The franchise business model is also ideal for many that have spent their whole careers working for others who now want the flexibility and freedom that comes with being a franchisee.

In fact, the according to the British Franchise Association, the average age of a franchisee is 49. This may be because people of this age have acquired a considerable amount of experience and skills that are needed to be a business owner. It also helps that they often have access to a nice savings pot which can help fund their new venture.

If you're over 50 and think you have what it takes to be a franchisee, you may want to consider the following questions to understand if the franchise business model is right for you.

Are you able to follow the rules?

You may have amassed a wealth of skills and experience over your lifetime, but it's likely that you're also used to doing things your way. It's crucial that you understand that successful franchises are achieved through consistency of the brand, products and service.

This means that you must adhere to the rules set out by the franchisor. They will have developed a franchise system over many years which has been tried and tested with a proven track record of success. It will be your responsibility as a franchisee to follow the system, therefore, providing customers with the uniformity and quality that they have come to expect of the brand, regardless of the location.

Are you able to multi-task?

As a franchisee, youll be expected to wear many hats. Instead of delegating tasks which you may have done throughout your career, you need to be prepared to take responsibility for a wide range of duties. One minute you could be dealing with a supplier issue, the next you could be mopping the floor.

Are you prepared to put your savings at risk?

Despite starting a franchise being a much less risky way to become the boss than starting an independent business from scratch; its still not entirely risk-free. If youve saved up a nice pot of money to fund your retirement, you should consider whether youre willing to accept the possibility that you could lose it all if things dont go to plan.

Are you willing to put the hard work in?

You may have been working hard in several different jobs for over 30 years, and now you fancy being the boss. You should be under no illusions though that successful franchises can require long hours, late nights and lost weekends. There are many benefits to the franchise business model, but none of these replaces the need for hard work.

Give some thought to whether the effort needed to become a profitable franchisee is worth the impact that it will have on your lifestyle at a time when youd rather be taking things a bit easier. Of course, there are many franchise options available if youd rather have more flexibility as a franchisee.

There are a whole host of part-time franchises available for example, that will enable you to have the freedom of being your own boss along with the flexibility to pursue other interests. Or you could look at the increasing number of home-based franchises that will give you the chance to build your business empire from the comfort of your living room.

Do you know what type of franchise will suit your physical abilities?

Only you can answer this question but be honest. If your physical competence isn't what it once was, it may be best to avoid franchises that require a very hands-on approach. There are so many different franchise opportunities to consider that it isn't worth putting your health and wellbeing at risk if you feel that you'd struggle to cope. Having said this, if you're fit as a fiddle and would like the challenge of a physical role as a franchisee then only you can decide what's best for you.

Have you got a plan?

When youre starting a franchise, it's good practice to think about your exit strategy, whatever your age. However, as you get older, the need to have a plan in place becomes more important. You need to decide what age you want to work until and what you're going to do with the franchise when you reach this point. If you wish to sell it or hand the reins over to a member of your family, you should enter into buying a franchise with the end in mind.

Embarking on a new career later in life can be extremely rewarding and satisfying. Choosing to become a franchisee not only gives you the chance to reinvent yourself but you can do so while making some money too. To find the right opportunity though you need to make sure that you do your homework to make sure that you're the perfect fit for your chosen franchise.

From a franchisor's perspective, you're probably just the type of person they've been looking for. You can bring life experience, business skills and wisdom to their franchise company and you're likely to have the necessary finances too. Buying a franchise over the age of 50 can be great for you, and whichever lucky franchise you decide to invest in. Choose well and your best years may be yet to come.

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