When considering a franchise opportunity, you may want to think outside the box.  Often people looking at business opportunities search inside their current skill set or trade.

Carpenters look at construction related franchises, electrician looks at franchises in the electrical field, etc.  Consider the other experience you  have and think of how you could utilize that in almost any field.  You may have sales experience, marketing experience, management experience, etc. and none of these skills are “field” specific.

Grady Barnard began to look for opportunities outside his field and shares his experience of getting into the franchise arena below.

“Hi, my name is Grady Barnard.  I am in the Technology field with a great company, but wanted to diversify my income, so after looking at several opportunities decided to go with the Squad. In the end I feel as if this opportunity will give me financial freedom and a better quality of life for my family.

After looking at several opportunities, I decided on Mosquito Squad for several reasons:

  1. Initial Investment
  2. A true need in our area, plus the ability to help others enjoy the outdoors as I do – Mosquito Free
  3. A company (OLB) that has been around for a while with other successful franchise opportunities

So far the company has been a great help getting us started – I think what closed it was the fact they do not take everyone who has money to spend. You go through an evaluation process to determine:

1. if the opportunity is right for you

2. if you are a good fit with the company.

That was big in my mind.  I am looking forward to a big season in 2010.”

As you have read, Grady decided to think outside the box and consider utilizing his skills in an unrelated field to reach his goals.  With the right mind set, the sky is the limit with franchising.

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The franchising industry is the doorway to a world of opportunity. Thousands of franchises offer countless concepts, all with varying startup costs. And while many require a storefront and overhead expenses, a large number of them – ranging from pest control to dance fitness lessons to deck and lighting companies and repair services – can be operated right from home. Home-based franchises are becoming viable options for business ownership, enabling many new franchisors to grow their businesses more effectively Franchise Finder Find the right franchise for you! Explore our directory of over 800 franchise opportunties.

The popularity of home-based businesses has been growing for a while now. Home-based entrepreneurship has become so common, in fact, that those running businesses from home have earned their own title, “homepreneurs,” and have become significant pillars in the economy. According to a recent survey conducted by Small Business Success Index and analyzed by Emergent Research, there are currently about 6.6 million home businesses nationwide that generate at least 50 percent of the owner’s household income. These businesses employ over 13 million people; 35 percent of them generate more than $125,000 in revenue, and 8 percent generate more than $500,000.

So what’s driving this trend? There are many factors, one of which is the struggling economy. “Home-based franchising is alive and well and, in this down economy, thriving,” explains Harold Kestenbaum, a franchise attorney who has worked with more than 100 franchise concepts. “More franchise companies have gone to the home-based model, when possible, since the tightness of the credit market has made selling the big-box franchises very difficult. The home-based model opens up the opportunities for prospects with lower budgets, which is a good thing.”

Additionally, as technology becomes more sophisticated, it’s easier than ever to operate a business from home and still portray a professional image. “As technology continues to offer more and more communications abilities, such as Web conferencing and seamless communication systems, home-based franchising will continue to be a viable option for many companies looking for qualified buyers and for buyers who wish to have the flexibility of working at a home base,” says Alisa Harrison, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the International Franchise Association.

Finally, the once somewhat negative stigma associated with working from home is dissipating as the entire image of the traditional workplace is undergoing a metamorphosis. According to data released in January from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people who worked at home increased from about 9.5 million in 1999 to about 11.3 million in 2005. Furthermore, nearly half of these home-based workers had college degrees, and nearly half of them earned $75,000 a year or more. As the whole concept of working from home becomes more common, so does the idea of running a franchise from home.

The flexibility and freedom of running a business from home helps franchisees realize their dream of starting a business, but it also enables franchisors to introduce new concepts and grow their businesses. With home-based franchising becoming more widespread, those searching for a franchise may not have to roam too far from home to find – and start – a business of their own. (Sara Wilson)

As a Franchise Recruiter with Outdoor Living Brands, a common reason people give for looking at franchise opportunities is they want to have more time to do the things that are important to them.  Recently I had the pleasure of working with Kendra and John in their quest to take control of their future and their time.  Below is Kendra’s story.

 “My name is Kendra and I have worked in environmental engineering consulting for the past ten years.  My partner, John, is a civil engineer who works mainly in construction management.  As we started looking at our future together we focused on incorporating each of our individual goals into our goals as a couple.  While my goals were more family oriented and wanting to control my own time and career development, John has always wanted to own his own business.  We decided to start exploring different business opportunities and took a short seminar on franchises to learn more about them, thinking maybe 5 years down the road we would start something.  We started working with Entrepreneur’s Source and were put into contact with several different franchises.  Mosquito Squad was very interesting to me especially since one of my summer jobs in college was with the Baltimore County Department of Agriculture, Mosquito Control Division, driving one of the spray trucks around.  The more we learned about Mosquito Squad and Outdoor Living Brands the more we liked them.  Although we didn’t go into the process with any kind of expectations, or even thinking we were going to buy a franchise, the opportunity was so great that we couldn’t let it pass us by.  The investment level was very reasonable and we know Annapolis has lots of mosquitoes!

 We signed up in September, completed training in December, got our first customer in March and will be heading out to do our first spray next week.  The whole process has been great.  There is stress involved, but the people at Outdoor Living Brands do their best to help you in any way possible.  John and I both work our full time jobs and plan on hiring people to work at Mosquito Squad once we have enough customers.  Coming from a science background I have had to learn a lot about business, accounting and marketing.  It takes up almost all of our free time but we hope the reward will be worth it.  It has made us work together as a team and allowed us to experience the joys and pains together.  We are looking forward to a great season and our excitement about Mosquito Squad is the same now as it was on Confirmation Day.” 

Take control of a precious commodity, your time and your future.  Consider franchising as a way to facilitate reaching the goals you have set for yourself and your family.  Starting your own business is not the easiest of tasks, but with the help of a support team to pave the path, you could be on the way to success quicker than you may think.

Mary and Rich Crawford are the owners of the Mosquito Squad in Norfolk-Chesapeake VA. They are in their first season right now and we asked Mary “Why did you go with us?”

Mosquito Squad was the answer for me for many reasons.  First and foremost, I have three young children who are so important to me so I was looking for a great balance between being a Mom and having a career.  Mosquito Squad allows me to be my own boss and set my own schedule so I can be at home when my children get home from school.  I love the challenge and thrill of starting up my own business and trying to get as many customers as I can.  When I need help, I simply call “the mother ship” and they are always responsive and helpful.  It is comforting to know you have excellent support behind you!  I can’t say enough good things about everyone associated with Mosquito Squad.  We ( all the franchise owners)  have a great time together but more importantly, we are there for each other and actually do call each other for suggestions and help.  It is a great organization to be a part of,  Couldn’t be happier.

Mary Crawford

Mary’s Blog

When Scott Anderson was looking for a way to grow his business, and leverage his existing customer base, he opted to pursue a franchise opportunity.  On January 11, 2010, Scott inquired about an Outdoor Living Brands franchise opportunity.  Scott and his father, Keith, had worked hard to build a successful business in the Augusta, Georgia area.  

Scott and Keith began the process of investigating a franchise opportunity in mid January, 2010.  Keith attended a Confirmation Day in early February, the Franchise Agreement was executed on February 18th and the business was launched in March, 2010. 

Below is Scott’s story in his own words.

“My name is Scott Anderson, I purchased the Mosquito Squad franchise in Augusta, Georgia in February.  My father and I currently own a Landscape Design/Build and Management firm.  We felt like Mosquito Squad would be a great complimentary business for a few different reasons.   

1.  It is a great way to sale additional services.   

2.  It offers a great service to our customers.  Our customers spend large money on projects in their yard so they can enjoy the yard.  Pests such as Mosquitoes can make for undesirable evenings in a back yard.  We felt like Mosquito Squad was a nice solution to our customer’s problems. 

Though we have not started spraying as of yet, I recently finished my training and I am working on my marketing strategy and I am very optimistic.  Mosquito Squad has given me the tools to start this new business.  I feel that it will be a great success.” 

When business owners have worked diligently to grow their customer base, build a referral network, and have provided excellent customer service and begin looking for a way to leverage their experience, franchising can be the best way to achieve their growth objectives.  Utilizing a proven system allows you the opportunity to add a service with a team of professionals assisting with getting up the learning curve while you focus on your business.

Getting customers to plunk down cash or credit cards remains a painfully slow process in this struggling economy. And that’s precisely why it’s important–and always will be–to lure potential buyers with promotions. In fact, coming up with attractive promotions has become a bigger deal than ever.

When done correctly, promotions get customers out of a holding pattern by giving them an incentive to take action before a limited-time offer expires.

1. Target your effort
Promotions can spur purchases by established customers, reel in new customers, draw customers from competitors, get current customers to buy differently, and stimulate business during slow periods. But rarely can one promotion accomplish all of those objectives at once. As a result, you must decide which of the following is most important so that you can target your effort:

  • Do you want customers to purchase more frequently, buy in greater volume, or   be attracted to new or different offerings?
  • Do you want to lure new customers into your business?
  • Do you want lapsed customers to give your business another try?
  • Do you want to boost business during slow hours, weekdays or particular seasons?

After carefully and thoughtfully defining the audience and the change you want your promotion to inspire, ask yourself this question: If you offer a time-limited incentive, is it likely that the customers you’ve targeted will respond? If so, continue to the next step.

2. Plan your incentive
A well-thought-out, properly targeted promotion prompts customers to take action by offering one of these incentives:

  • Price savings, including discounts, coupons or added value offers
  • Samples or trial offers to provide a low-risk way to try new products or services
  • Events or experiences to generate crowds, enthusiasm, sales, publicity

As you decide on your incentive, keep these facts in mind:

Price offers must be strong enough to compel, but reasonable enough to keep your business out of red ink.

Coupons always make a comeback in penny-pincher markets, which means they’re hugely popular these days. Even young consumers and affluent shoppers–groups that traditionally shun coupons–are using them, boosting the typical 1 to 2 percent redemption rate by nearly 20 percent.

Samples work in all lines of business to let customers try before buying. The key is to sample products that are so great they’ll win raves and repeat business.

  • Online-based businesses need to promote free samples prominently in an effort to attract links, visitors, site registrations and publicity.
  • Retailers can turn sampling into promotional events. Think of Costco on weekends.
  • Service businesses would do well to give away mini versions of their offerings. For example, five-minute shoulder massages or one-hour home decorating consultations.

Events and experiences draw customers for celebrations, product launches, special appearances or presentations, and other activities that combine entertainment with brand and product presentations.

3. Know what you want to achieve
Promotions work especially well when consumers are in need of a jolt to take buying action. Just be clear about what you want to achieve.

By knowing the potential bottom-line impact of your promotion, you’ll have the information you need to allocate a promotion budget, dedicate staff time and invest the energy necessary to host a strong promotion that will deliver business-boosting results over the time period it covers.

Typically with most franchise concepts, such as Outdoor Living Brands, the marketing and branding support to create these types of promotions is at your fingertips

This week, Russ Jundt of Mosquito Squad of Minnesota began his multi-video sessions on discussing the topic of Mosquito Management in ones home and property. While they offer mosquito and exterior pest control at a professional level, there are certain things that you as the homeowner can do from a preventative measure to reduce the number of adult mosquitoes on your property, such as looking around the property for things that collect water.

The video is available on YouTube at http://bit.ly/c2PndX. Continue checking in the upcoming weeks for more sessions with Russ.