If you’re interested in franchise or business ownership and you’re in the beginning stages of researching what kind of business matches your entrepreneurial goals, the options available can be overwhelming. After all, 20% of new businesses fail in the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years and 65% during the first 10 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, franchises exist in nearly every service industry, and there are more than 3,000 registered franchise brands across the United States.
Because franchise and business ownership can run the gamut in terms of products and services sold, it isn’t uncommon for candidates to consider hobbies that already interest them when producing ideas for a future company. However, it’s important to understand that sometimes, hobbies and businesses don’t mix well.
For example, let’s consider a hypothetical business owner candidate. Let’s call him “Phil.” One of Phil’s favorite pastimes is to hit the green for a round of golf. Since golf is already a longstanding interest, Phil is inclined to consider a franchise that sells a variety of golfing products: clubs, balls, tees, clothing, etc. However, before long, Phil’s working hours are consumed with all things golf, and his work days are filled with balance sheets, sales reports and expenses for golf products. Suddenly, escaping to play a few holes on the weekend isn’t the break away from work it once was.
When a favorite hobby becomes synonymous with work, you find yourself in a lose-lose situation. To avoid this overlap, examine the following three tips below for considering possible options.
1. Separate your personal hobbies from your business
Rarely can a person spend their leisure time and work time focused on the same thing. It’s basic Business 101 to diversify your investments, and a business is a large investment of your time, energy and money — so why would you keep all your eggs in one basket? Best practice: Separate your personal hobbies from your business.
Like Phil, you probably have a hobby or interest that helps you unwind after a long week. However, for a business to maintain longevity, sustainability is the name of the game. So take a moment to consider your hobbies, and rather than focusing on the hobby itself, take a look at the services that support that hobby.
If we take our friend Phil, rather than a golf store, maybe he selects a franchise of dry cleaning stores, hair salons or group fitness studios that service a community with fellow golf lovers. Another option might be a B2B franchise in which Phil doesn’t perform the services himself but is client-facing and responsible for relationship-building by taking prospective clients out to the green for an afternoon. Either of these options supports his entrepreneurial goals while maintaining his favorite pastime.
2. Be passionate about owning your business, not passionate about the widget
Being a business owner means having more control over your life in so many ways. The top motivators for an individual to become a business owner are autonomy, more flexibility, more purpose/meaning and financial security.
These benefits of business ownership and their ability to support yourself, your family or other financial and non-financial obligations outweigh the appeal of selling a specific product or service.
Building on the previous tip, a way to avoid misalignment between the product or service you are selling and the overall vision of the business is to focus on bird’s eye metrics of success. For example, owning a chain of cleaning stores might not be your dinner party small talk highlight that “golfing” might be, but who’s hosting the dinner?
Prioritize long-term goals over what sounds cool to sell — a.k.a. be passionate about owning a business and all the benefits that come from that, rather than being passionate about a specific widget you sell.
3. Your business should match a lasting market
A common misconception about franchises in particular is that they are all centered around the fast-food industry. This makes sense: Everyone eats multiple times per day, hence a stable and recurring consumer base. However, any company that can benefit from proper branding, repeatable processes and continuing product or service evolvement is a candidate to be franchised. While it’s true that there are a number of successful restaurant-style franchises, there are so many other options that fall into the “service-based” franchise bucket.
In today’s business world, particularly with a younger generation of consumers, experiences are valued over material items. To support these experiences, a number of non-flashy but necessary service industry tasks are essential. What is a service that you use on a recurring basis that is not centered around food? Clean clothes perhaps? Monthly haircuts? Consistent trips to the gym? Phil would agree.
If there is a recurring customer need, then there is likely a franchise that is seeking to capitalize on that customer need.
At the end of the day, hobbies are a great place to start for brainstorming purposes, but think outside the box and ask yourself: What tangential services support your hobby or other hobbies that are similar in nature? Before long, you’ll have a list of services, and, to bury the lead, I guarantee there will be multiple franchises for you to consider associated with those services.
So remember these three key takeaways when considering business ownership: First, hobbies and business are best kept separate. Second, owning a successful business is the goal (not selling a specific product/service). Third, set yourself up for success by selecting a business that has a strong base of perpetually recurring customers.
This article was originally published on Entrepreneur.com.
David Busker is the Founder of FranchiseVision and a senior consultant with FranChoice, the premier national network of franchise consultants. David helps candidates exploring franchise ownership to set their criteria and matches them with the perfect franchise, then supports and guides them through due diligence and franchise signing. You can learn more about David at FranchiseVision.