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Question added to topic FranchisesMarch 29, 2011

Can I Buy Into a Franchise with Little Experience and Capital?

I am a sophomore in college and really want to start my own business, but I realize that it requires capital and lots of time. I have immersed myself in business topics since being in college and have gained some experience in startups. While acquiring a franchise seems to be the most feasible option of owning my own business within the near future, I am wondering if it is possible to be a part owner with only a little capital. What is the best way to find a franchise that's a good match?
The first step for you is to take every opportunity to increase both your capital and your experience. It's not easy to save money while in college but it is possible. Work as you have the opportunity to do so and save as much as you possibly can. You'll be amazed at how much leverage you can get from a relatively small amount of capital when the right opportunity presents itself later, but it can be hard to leverage zero.

In terms of experience, it is relatively easy to build. Seek every opportunity you can to gain experience in the workplace. Since you're focused on franchising, start by getting part-time jobs while still in school at various franchise operations.

It may seem obvious to focus on fast food because those jobs are highly visible and readily available, I'd recommend against it. You're not going to become the owner of a fast food franchise anytime soon, so working at one isn't going to be the type of direct experience you can use toward your goal. Concentrate on the types of franchises (low investment, high return) that you have at least some chance of owning in the next few years.

Also, either initially or fairly soon after going to work, try to get a position that directly works with and/or supports the owner of the business. It's not as important that you know how to clean a toilet or make toast as it is that you understand how to hire and manage employees, schedule jobs, recruit customers and other similar tasks. This is what the owner does and working directly with him or her is going to expose you to that type of work.

Also, offer to work for minimum wage and make plain your desire to learn. Owners might be intrigued by the opportunity to become a mentor to someone with great desire to become a business owner. After earning their respect and trust, they might even help you overcome your lack of capital and get you started in a business of your own.


Related: Which Is Better: A Job or a Franchise?
Related: 5 Unconventional Ways to Fund Your Franchise

Jeff Elgin has almost 20 years of experience franchising, both as a franchisee and a senior franchise company executive. He's currently the CEO of FranChoice Inc., a company that provides free consulting to consumers looking for a franchise that best meets their needs.

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