What You Need to Know About Opening Your First Franchise
Have you spent time daydreaming about what it would be like to start your own business? Those who pursue their dream of owning a business usually do so because they know when you own a business:
- You’re in control. You have choices, and you get to make business decisions.
- You build something. Regardless of how big or small your business may be, you can create a successful business.
- You help people. That business you create is designed to fulfill a purpose — making people’s lives better in some way. Having the opportunity to make that impact is priceless.
- You have flexibility. This work-life-balance perk is for everyone, but especially for people who have a family, or hope to have one someday. Entrepreneurship enables you to be a parent and still have a career.
- You have high-income potential. Your business is what you make it, so you have the potential to invest more time and money and reap the rewards.
- You are constantly learning. It’s not all about doing what you know. When you start a new business, you’re learning a lot of things you didn’t know, and that learning never stops.
- You develop new skills. Along with that learning comes new skills. You continue to accumulate skills along the way and become better and better at them with practice.
- You have the freedom to pursue your passion. When you find that job that you look forward to doing every day, all the hard work is immediately worth it.
A great “first step” into the world of entrepreneurship is opening a franchise. Here’s what you need to know to take the leap.
Franchise Ownership Models
It’s fun to daydream about starting out on your very own entrepreneurial adventure, but the reality is, it’s a stressful process to develop a product or service, streamline the process, figure out how to sell it and make a name for yourself. Doing something completely from scratch has the highest level of effort and risk involved when starting your own business.
Franchising may not be stress-free. Like most businesses it requires hand work, drive and dedication in order to be successful. However, buying into an established brand certainly has its perks, depending on the model of franchise ownership you decide to pursue. Before we get into the specifics, let’s review one of the most successful ownership model available, the owner-operator model!
The owner-operator model appeals most to entrepreneurs and is generally considered the most effective. The owner/operator model gives you the opportunity to make an immediate career change and assume responsibility for the day-to-day operations of your franchise. You have total control, which is one of the big reasons many entrepreneurs ditch their day job for a new entrepreneurial adventure. Excitement is ahead!
The challenges that come with this model of franchising is the same roadblock any entrepreneur would face: a startup period that may come with inconsistent income when first getting off the ground. However, since you’re taking care of operations yourself, the investment in staffing costs is much lower than that of the other two models. While success is never guaranteed, the financial risk you take when opening a franchise is significantly lower than that of starting your own business from scratch and the reward can be just as great.
Why Owner-Operator Franchises Work
The owner-operator model of franchising is the model we’ve chosen for our business at Superior Play Systems. We believe it’s the perfect balance of investment and control, and it also allows us to maintain the stability of our brand, which is one of the most recognized in the outdoor and sports toys industry. Other perks to owner-operator franchises include:
- Buying vs. Building a Brand: The owner-operator model of franchising works because it gives you the opportunity to buy a successful brand, instead of starting by trying to build one yourself. You get to join an already built brand — complete with corporate values, a marketing team, etc. — so you don’t have to worry about creating it all yourself. Instead, you can focus on the business in your community using the resources available to you.
- Quicker Return on Investment: Your return on investment comes quickly as a franchise owner because you’re working under the umbrella of a successful brand. People may recognize the brand, or can quickly get to know it through the already established materials provided by the company — and you’re able to immediately focus on sales.
- Automatic Market Research and Innovation: Market research and innovation can be tough to achieve when you’re focused on starting a new business. While your focus is on many of the details and day-to-day operations, there’s less time to focus on the big picture. When you purchase a franchise, you have a company that does all that research and innovation for you, so you can focus on running the business and still get the perk of having a team to focus on research and innovation.
- Have Control With Stability: If you dream of owning your own business, part of the reason is likely for more control. You want to be able to have some level of control over the company, and perhaps ultimately the flexibility with comes with owning your own business, too. When you choose an owner-operator franchise, you’re able to have all of that, but without the risk and most of the grunt work that comes with building a brand from scratch. You’re buying into a company that is already established, so you’re able to start with a stable foundation.
Choosing a Successful Franchise Industry
The key to success in franchising is selecting a business in an industry that’s growing. Yes, having the established brand and resources available to help you market, but if you choose to purchase a franchise in an industry that isn’t experiencing growth, the demand to support your new franchise may not be there.
Superior Play’s franchise owner-operators are part of a booming industry. The outdoor and sports toys market was estimated to be a $3.73 billion industry in 2016, increasing 10% from 2015. The Toy Association has also identified “Up & Active” toys — toys that get kids moving — as one of its major 2017 trends.
In 2016, there were 61 million children ages 0 through 14, making up 19% of the country’s population, according to the United States Census Bureau. The bureau estimates that number will grow by 4 million throughout the next 25 years. Knowing these numbers is helpful, but the United States is a large geographic region, so it’s important to know where these children reside to focus your market.
How to Determine a Successful Location
Unfortunately, not all franchises succeed in every market. To find the best place for a franchise, you need to make sure the market matches your audience.
For example, at Superior Play, we search for locations that have not only the population and economy to support a business, but also a market that includes families and children. While advancements in technology make it easier to do business from a distance, it’s also a bonus to choose a location not too far from your target audience — that’s why Superior Play has locations in North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
While there are several options, here are four major markets that stand out based on some of the recent national research that’s been done regarding economic growth and business survival rate, as well as the increase in the number of 5- to 14-year-olds over several years.
Raleigh, North Carolina
This city seems to have everything going for it when it comes to starting an outdoor play franchise. It’s continuously ranked on various lists as a suitable place to start a business, undoubtedly in part due to its strong economy. Raleigh has also seen an increase in the number of children that’s roughly ten times that of the national growth rate.
- Number 12 in 2017’s Best Large Cities to Start a Business
- Rise in number of children from 2000-2013: 55.7%
Charlotte, North Carolina
A little farther to the south and west, Charlotte, N.C., isn’t too far behind Raleigh when it comes to the number of children. It also appears on many of the lists of best places to start a business, which is an indication of a healthy economy. Charlotte has seen a high increase in the number of children over time, indicating it’s another hot spot for families. Given its proximity to Raleigh, we can make an educated guess that many of the smaller cities in between would have the market for our outdoor play products.
- Number 3 in 2017’s Best Large Cities to Start a Business
- Rise in number of children from 2000-2013: 32.9%
Farther south in Orlando, FL, you’ll find a city that’s booming for families and businesses. Mild winters certainly can’t hurt when it comes to outdoor play products.
- Number 19 in 2017’s Best Large Cities to Start a Business
- Rise in number of children from 2000-2013: 22.6%
While Atlanta, Georgia, falls a little lower on the list of best cities to start a business, ranking of 38 out of more than 100 is still notable. In addition to that, the city outperforms Orlando when it comes to the increase in the number of children. And like other cities in the south, the warm climate for most of the year is a plus for our outdoor play products.
- Number 38 in 2017’s Best Large Cities to Start a Business
- Rise in number of children from 2000-2013: 26.1%
What Makes a Successful Franchise?
If you’re new to franchising, it can be tough to know what makes a franchise successful. Factors for success include industry and location, but it also has to do with the company’s success as a whole. That is why Superior Play is such a great option. To illustrate our point, let’s look at the practices of the Superior Play Franchise.
As a successful and stable business with 25-year history in a booming industry, Superior Play’s owner-operator franchise model gives you the opportunity to start your own business in your community with our company support.
We offer a competitive package, and our minimum requirements of $45,000 in liquid assets and a net worth of $100,000 are much more attainable. We enjoy working with multi-unit owners, but we also understand if you want to stick to a single-unit ownership and master your craft at a single location. When it comes to owning a franchise, a big part of it is the company fit — not only with the franchising package available, but also the company history, values and culture.
Consider Opening a Superior Play Franchise
Once you’ve decided you’d like to open a franchise, it’s essential to research and find a brand that embodies your passions. In franchising, you’re essentially purchasing a brand, so you need to make sure that brand’s industry, history and corporate values resonate with you.
At Superior Play, our business revolves around play. While that may sound like fun — and it is — the impact that playing has on children is significant, which is why we’ve decided to dedicate our brand to it. Studies have shown that children who play experience:
- Improved behavior
- Enriched imagination and activity
- Learned behavior
- Physical development
- Developed social skills
- Expressed emotions
- More activity
- Stress relief
- Enhanced learning
- Gained self-esteem
For more than 25 years, we’ve been transforming backyards into ultimate family fun centers, providing the highest quality play sets, trampolines and basketball hoops. Our interactive showrooms double as indoor playgrounds for their communities, providing both pay-to-play and birthday party options.
We know deciding to become a franchise owner is a big deal, which is why we’d like to talk to you about what we have to offer and whether it’s a good fit for you. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know by filling out our brief online form.