The Entrepreneur’s Source Reviews — What is a Semi-Absentee Franchise and Is It Right for You?
Last week on Franchise Friday, host Brendan Major, Director of Marketing for Franchise Source Brands International, discussed semi-absentee franchise ownership with Gus Iurillo, Entrepreneur’s Source Coach and multi-unit franchise owner.
Gus has been with the Entrepreneur’s Source for the past 12 years, and as a coach, Gus has assisted over 250 people in their journey to business ownership.
Gus has 15 years of marketing experience in corporate America. He has worked for four Fortune 500 companies including Coca-Cola and Colgate-Palmolive.
Gus shared his insight on semi-absentee ownership as a franchise business ownership concept.
The Semi-Absentee Franchise Q&A — Everything You Need to Know to Succeed in Owning a Semi-Absentee Franchise
What is the definition of semi-absentee franchise business ownership?
A semi-absentee business is a business you could start and run while still maintaining a job or other obligation. Semi-absentee ownership typically requires 10 to 15 hours a week of time investment once it’s up and running. Basically, it’s a business concept individuals can start on the side while they have another job in the mix, as opposed to a full-time business, which requires your full-time effort and wouldn’t allow for you to do something else in addition.
How can one be successful building a semi-absentee business if they’re not spending as much time as a normal business owner?
Where people sometimes get in trouble is when they try to take a business that is intended to be run on a full-time basis and instead run it semi-absentee. It’s important to understand whether a business is actually structured to be a semi-absentee business, or whether it is a manage-the-manager business concept. When looking for semi-absentee business opportunities, it is important to keep in mind many franchisors have developed a business model designed to be run on a part-time basis. An E-Source Coach can help aspiring business owners identify specific franchise concepts intended to function as a semi-absentee business.
What are some examples of semi-absentee businesses?
A lot of semi-absentee businesses are brick and mortar, meaning a traditional business model in an office or store that the business owns or rents, like a hair salon or massage business. I’ve also had a number of clients go into semi-absentee businesses with consumer concepts that weren’t brick and mortar, but instead were portable and mobile. There are also vending and kiosk-based concepts that function more as a weekend- type of scenario where owners in malls or shopping centers. Again, the key is to make sure the system is designed with a clear line-of-sight as to how you could run it on a semi-absentee basis, and that you are not trying to take a full-time business and turn it into a semi-absentee business.
Would it be possible to own multiple semi-absentee franchises or is it better to just focus on one and do it really well?
The critical thing is to launch each business sequentially. In other words, I think it would be foolhardy to try to launch two businesses at once, even if they were both semi-absentee, because it takes too much effort and mental power. It makes more sense to figure out the right jump-off point, the right one to do first, and then build around that business later. It’s certainly possible—there’s no right or wrong answer, it’s really all in the sequencing.
What is the best way to go about deciding if semi-absentee ownership is right for you?
It all basically boils down to the needs, goals and expectations of the individual. Sometimes, an individual doesn’t know the best business type for them until they get into it. You have to measure your own temperament and determine, “Am I an empire builder? Do I want multiple concepts?” The critical piece for success in business ownership is to understand what’s required of you as a business owner and to invest in a business that meets your expectations for that times and capital.
What are some of the trade-offs and challenges of semi-absentee franchises?
One trade-off in semi-absentee ownership is a longer development time in regards to generating income compared to a full-time endeavor. It makes logical sense – the more time and sweat you put into your business initially, the quicker that business will ramp up. In semi-absentee ownership, you’re more likely to hire other individuals to provide the end service. It’s not always the case, but semi-absentee ownership almost always involves managing other people, which isn’t good or bad, you just need to know what’s involved in that.
How much would you say the market comes into play in the success of these businesses—is that really the driving force behind them or is it all about the owner’s individual motivation and drive?
Ultimately, I would say it is about motivation and drive, but I would add that when you’re looking at these types of concepts, you must decide whether the business is flexible enough to adapt to a change or is recession-resistant enough that you can take the economy out of the equation. In other words, you want the economy to be a neutral or positive factor, but you never want it to be a negative. A business concept like hair care typically will continue to exist in any market, considering people get their haircut on a fairly regular basis.
What would you say is the number one take-away for this concept?
You don’t necessarily have to give up your day job to begin diversifying your income away from being 100 percent dependent on your employer. When I talk to my clients I say, “As long as you’re willing to put in the effort, do your homework, keep an open mind and see this process of discovery through a point of clarity, there’s no bad outcome.”
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