The beginning of a new year is a great time to try something new. If you are feeling unsatisfied with your current job, it might be a good time to switch up your career. But instead of searching around for a dream job that may be out of reach, why not create your own by starting a business?
Owning a company comes with several benefits – you get to be your own boss, enjoy greater independence, and be more selective with your hours. But building your own business from the ground up can be very challenging. That’s why, for many people, opening a franchise can be more appealing. Choosing a reputable and successful franchisor like The UPS Store can grant you access to resources that guide you in running your business. You will also have an established brand on which to build your business, access to an intensive training program, and marketing materials to assist in your continued growth.
If you have decided to take your career into your own hands in 2017 and are ready to start building your own business franchise, let us walk you through the process. Below you will find 12 steps to follow throughout this year that may help you get your business running by next January.
1. Select a Business/Industry
Once you decide you are ready to start a new business, it’s time for research. Look at consumer trends, markets, successful businesses, etc., to figure out what industry would be a good fit for your abilities and interests.
Those looking to join a franchise will also need to do some in-depth research. There are opportunities to franchise in multiple industries, so decide which is most appealing to you. Narrow down the options to a few and find out what each franchise offers. Take your time exploring the companies, the resources they provide to their franchisees, and what is expected from each franchise owner.
2. Put Together a Business Plan
Before taking any major action, spend some time putting together a business plan for your new company. This will give you an outline to follow for launching and growing the business in the first few years. Per the U.S. Small Business Administration, a business plan generally includes the following:
- An executive summary explaining the business and company goals
- A company description noting what your business will do, why it’s different, and who it will serve
- Market analysis exploring the industry and competitors
- Plans for organization and management structure
- Description of services/products
When going the franchise route, find out what materials the franchisor has available to guide you in setting up your location. The UPS Store offers intensive training and support for each of its franchisees, which helps new owners implement a top business model.
3. Figure Out Your Finances
Starting a business, whether a franchise or a start-up, requires a financial investment up front. Review your assets and determine the cost of opening-up shop in your location. Consider what funds will be necessary to set up a lease, hire employees, buy equipment, and cover other startup costs.
When you choose to start a franchise business, make sure you can meet the franchisor’s minimum financial requirements, which may address location costs and liquid assets. The UPS Store franchise costs and fees may vary depending on your location, but financing is available for new The UPS Store franchisees. For those planning to build their business in a small, rural community, The UPS Store has a discounted option that offers lower fees and start-up costs.
4. Choose Your Marketing Methods
You can offer the best service or product in the world, but if no one knows you exist, you won’t get customers. Devise a plan for marketing, including traditional, digital, and advertising tactics. Figure out your product differentiators, define your key marketing messages, and promote both consistently.
A major benefit of opening a franchise location as opposed to your own business is the marketing assistance many franchisors offer. With The UPS Store, franchisees not only get the brand recognition of a well-known company, but also the benefit of national advertising campaigns and marketing tools that help franchisees create their own customized marketing materials.
5. Set Goals and Start Planning
After you figure out your message and how you are going to promote it, decide what your success looks like. Set realistic, achievable, and measurable goals for your first month, three months, six months, and year. Once you have your goals laid out, consider what you will need to accomplish in the next couple of years and map out how to get there to better plan for future growth. With a franchise, you can speak to other franchisees within the network to see how attainable these goals are and what modifications could help you achieve them sooner.
6. Get Business Licenses, Tax Information, and Insurance
Before you can open the doors to any new business, it’s important to get the required business licenses, set up your taxes, and purchase insurance coverage. Depending on your location and industry, you may have to purchase state and federal licenses or permits to legally run your business. You will also have to file taxes as a business, so you need to get a tax ID and understand your state and federal obligations so you can avoid penalty fees later. Additionally, to make sure the business is protected from accidents, you should consider purchasing commercial property, liability, and workers’ compensation insurance.
7. Find Your Customers
When you have a plan of action and your goals are set, you need to learn about your target customers. This ties into your marketing plan, but it involves a bit of research to find out who your customers are, where they are, the services they need, and what they expect. If you are running a franchise, this is a great time to talk to other franchisees about who they serve and how.
8. Manage Your Money, Time, and Energy Level
As you learn the ropes of business management, create a plan for spending your money, time, and energy. Whether it’s a brand new businesses or a franchise location, running a company requires a lot of all three. Figure out the best way to direct your money and energy into the business. Consider outsourcing routine business tasks and identify ways to delegate simple responsibilities to staff. Then, during the first few months of operation, make a note of any time-consuming tasks that could be done by someone else.
9. Create a Work-Life Balance
Much like figuring out the best way to utilize your time and energy while working, it’s important to have a life outside of work. Running a business can quickly consume new owners, particularly at the beginning, so it’s important to have a plan in place ahead of time that allows for breaks and personal activities. While a successful business does require hard work and dedication, an overrun owner may lose motivation.
10. Work Your Business Network
Aside from standard marketing and advertising tactics, use networking to your advantage when opening a new business. Attend events in the community to get your name out there and reach the people you will be serving. See if any old business contacts from previous jobs have resources or advice. When running a franchise business, take advantage of the franchisee community to expand your network and reach others who can help.
11. Train Your Employees
Hire promising and eager talent you can train in the most efficient processes. By the time your employees start working, they should have complete understanding of the products or services the business offers and the systems that are used. Take some extra time to train in customer service as well, as bad interactions can hurt a brand’s reputation. Franchisees of The UPS Store receive comprehensive training before their store opens so they can learn the ins and outs of the business model, how to effectively run the operation, and get advice for training employees.
12. Open the Doors
After a year of preparation and planning, it is finally time to open your doors. If you decide to start a franchise location with The UPS Store in the new year, we are available to help every step of the way. Contact us today for more information and guidance on how to get your business up and running.