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I recently read an article by Anita Campbell in which she spoke about the demographics regarding people who are entering the world of business ownership and franchising.  There were some eye opening facts regarding the ages of first time entrepreneurs.

Anita quoted statistics from a November 2009 Bureau of Labor Statics study that showed, “The incorporated self-employment rate is four times higher among those aged 65 to 69 than among those aged 25 to 34—and a whopping 25 times higher than among those aged 20 to 24.”

There are a number of reasons this may be taking place:

  • Investing may be easier with the utilization of built up retirement funding
  • With grown children, the ability to save and gain necessary capital for start-up may be easier
  • Lay-offs – higher paid senior executives were greatly impacted during the economic down-turn – rather than going back into Corporate America, invest in yourself and your skills
  • Nearing retirement age, but still having the desire to contribute
  • Empty-nest syndrome – many mothers have more time on their hands and the ability to take charge of their time – with the battle to gain employment being an uphill one for many stay-at-home moms, starting a busy may be much more plausible

If any of the above scenarios sound familiar, I suggest you read the entire article, and perhaps consider franchising as an option.

I am delighted to announce that Outdoor Living Brands is participating in the upcoming “Franchising in Virginia – 2010” event in conjunction with our local CBS affiliate (WRTV CBS-6 in Richmond, Virginia) and FranNet.  

The emphasis of this event is to educate business people about franchising as a path to business ownership and taking direct control over their careers.  In addition, selected franchise brands that have continued to grow despite the challenging economic climate of 2009 will be highlighted.  The event will be held on Tuesday, February 23 from 8:30am – Noon at the Sheraton Richmond West Hotel located at 6624 Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230.  Admission is free.

I will be giving a presentation on Outdoor Living Brands and our three, industry leading franchise brands – Archadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Mosquito Squad.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Don Lee from the Los Angeles Times reported “more than 4 million jobs disappeared in 2009.”   “The economy needs to create about 125,000 net jobs a month to keep pace with the growing population and workforce, and economists say it will take growth of at least that many payrolls a month to make an appreciable dent in the unemployment rate.”  Dan Indiviglio from the Atlantic business section stated “one in six Americans can’t find full-time work.” 

Who are these unemployed Americans?  They are good people in an unfortunate situation.  My sister is a prime example of this “part-time” statistic.  When her employer reduced her hours to keep her employed, she quickly began a search for a second part-time job.  While she remained employed as a “part-timer”, many of her co-workers took the attitude “I will take the lay-off, cut back on expenses, draw unemployment, and then I will focus on finding a new job when things get better”. 

My sister began her quest for a second part-time early in 2009.  Immediately, she saw this was going to be a challenge.  Even with many marketable skills, the number of people who were losing their seasonal retail jobs, had already added competition for very few available positions.  She found that her quest to be selective in “finding just the right thing” gave way to “I have to get something soon”.  By August, 2009, she was working four part-time jobs to reach the level of income she required.    Finally, after a year of diligently “pounding the pavement”, she found and accepted full-time employment in December, 2009.

Many of her former co-workers, who made the decision to put off their quest for employment, found themselves in dire financial situations.  When they had exceeded the time limit for eligibility for unemployment, they began utilizing funds they had saved for their future and retirement for living expenses.  Some opted to move in hopes of finding something/anything that would fulfill that need of financial support. 

This story does have a happy ending for my sister, and a couple of her co-workers.  One man opted to start his own business.  At first, he struggled to learn and grasp what it actually means to own your own business.  He invested a great deal of time and a sizeable portion of his savings into this venture.  He worked very hard and his business struggled a bit, but he was finally on his feet, and had just offered a job to one of their former co-workers.  Both men were elated – one because he started a business and was able to help a friend – the other because he “finally found a job”. 

When I visited with my sister over the holidays, I spoke with the man who had started his own business about what he had learned throughout the experience.  One key take away that I wasn’t surprised to hear was “it was harder to do it myself than I thought it would be, but now I don’t have to worry about being laid off or looking for another job.” 

I spoke briefly with him about my role in franchise recruiting with Outdoor Living Brands, and explained how I work with many individuals in similar circumstances to those he faced.  By the end of the conversation, you could see the proverbial light bulb go off – and he stated – “if I had known then what I know now – I would have bought a franchise, and maybe I would have been in a position to hire someone even earlier.”  I was truly inspired that he was looking for ways to be part of the solution to the unemployment problem and not a victim or part of the problem.

Fewer than half of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs, the lowest level since record-keeping began 22 years ago, said a report released on January 5, 2010.  What are people waiting for?  Franchising is the vehicle for people to make the changes in their careers and in their lives!

As published on CNN.com today:

The Conference Board’s survey polled 5,000 households, and found that only 45% were satisfied in their jobs. That’s down from 61.1% in 1987, the first year the survey was conducted.

Even though one in 10 Americans is out of a job, those who are employed are increasingly dissatisfied.

“Through both economic boom and bust during the past two decades, our job satisfaction numbers have shown a consistent downward trend,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Consumer Research Center of The Conference Board, in a prepared statement.

“[That] could spell trouble for the overall engagement of U.S. employees and ultimately employee productivity,” she added.

The report notes that job satisfaction has steadily declined over the years despite big improvements in the work environment, such as a reduction of workplace hazards and an increase in vacation days.

The drop in satisfaction over the past 22 years spans various aspects of employee life, including interest in work (down 18.9 percentage points) and job security (down 17.5 percentage points).  And employee satisfaction dipped across the board; workers in every age group and income levels showed a drop, but workers younger than 25 were the most unhappy in their jobs.

Almost one-quarter of respondents said they didn’t expect to be at their current jobs within a year. 

Again, with all of this dissatisfaction, I believe 2010 will be a strong year for franchise recruiting.  The economy is starting to recover which offers the perfect backdrop to launch a new franchise business.  If you are one of those 55% that is unhappy with your current job, what are you waiting for?

I notice an interesting parallel week this week.  In addition to delivering the opening training session in our training class for 18 new Mosquito Squad franchisees, I have been preparing some remarks for a commencement address that I been asked to deliver this week to fall 2009 graduates of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Business

In addition to my role as President & CEO of Outdoor Living Brands, I serve on the VCU Business Society Board of Directors, the alumni board for the School of Business at Virginia Commonwealth University. I was initially reluctant to accept the invitation to speak to these new graduates. I wasn’t sure what “profound wisdom” that I would be able to offer to these new graduates as they begin their careers in the midst of a recessionary economy and high unemployment.

However, I found it interesting that some of the same themes in my commencement remarks – (1) putting everything you have, all of your passion and energy, into your career; (2) being flexible, being willing to adapt to change in order to take advantage of unexpected business opportunities; and (3) having extreme optimism – were key parts of my advice to new graduates and to new franchisees. 

Then I realized that there are some tremendous similarities.  Both new franchisees and new college graduates are reaching important milestones in their lives. Both are excited, yet have a bit of fear and concern for the future, as they start the next chapter of their lives and careers. Both are proud (and rightly so) at having taken steps to take control of their lives and futures.

Congratulations – both to the December 2009 class of new Mosquito Squad franchisees and the graduates of the VCU School of Business!

As the leader of an outdoor living franchise company, we are always looking for qualified and properly capitalized franchisees to join our franchise systems – Archadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Mosquito Squad.

I am delighted to announce a record setting new class of Mosquito Squad franchisees will be starting their initial training in Richmond on December 7, 2009. This is the largest training class ever for Mosquito Squad and Outdoor Living Brands; it completes our efforts to more than double the Mosquito Squad franchise system in 2009. The new franchisees will be preparing to launch their franchise operations in 2010 and will start protecting families from both the annoying bites and the dangers of insect borne diseases next spring. 

MSF 3560 December 2009 Record Training Press Release – Final

I (and our entire team) look forward to supporting these new franchisees to help them to reach their personal, business and lifestyle objectives that led them to invest in and launch their Mosquito Squad franchise businesses!

Wow, we are experiencing some strong building momentum with our Mosquito Squad franchise business, part of Outdoor Living Brands!  Since acquiring the company in the first quarter of 2009 with approximately 17 franchise locations, we will more than double the company by the end of the year – in fact, we are likely to have more than 40 franchise locations at the beginning of 2010. 

Despite the economic climate, 2009 was a very strong season for the Mosquito Squad franchise system and demand is running extremely strong from individuals seeking to join this rapidly growing franchise system.  We are working on finalizing plans for a very large December training class and expect continued rapid expansion in 2010.  It is fun and rewarding to be part of a dynamic growing franchise system that is helping our franchisees to reach their personal and business goals.

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