Entrepreneurship Opportunities

There are many ways to start your own business involving varying degrees of risk.  If you’re already an expert at something, like woodworking, it's a lot easier to open your own custom cabinet shop.  If you’re really good at it, you might even turn a profit within a year or two.

Many people lack a specific skill that translates directly into a new business that will provide a comfortable living.  For them, franchising presents a viable opportunity because of the support provided by the franchisor.  This article explores companies that are attractive because of their comparatively low start-up requirements or ability to work from home.



Franchises require an initial investment to start the business and a franchise fee.  The costs provided below reflect the midpoint of the estimated cost range for each category.  These are only estimates, so additional research and direct contact with the companies is needed to determine the precise cost and contract terms for opening a new franchise in your specific location.

Cruise Planners/American Express - Sales agents connect leisure and business travelers with cruise opportunities.  Can work full or part-time from home.
 - Capital Investment: $11K
 - Franchise Fee: $5K
 - Royalty Fee: 3%

Jazzercise – Trained and certified instructors teach a total-body conditioning program that incorporates dance and aerobic exercise.
 - Capital Investment: $40K
 - Franchise Fee: $1K
 - Royalty Fee: 20%

Vanguard Cleaning Systems – Specializes in commercial cleaning accounts and can be run from home.  Offers a master program for experienced business people and a unit program for first-time entrepreneurs.
 - Capital Investment: $23K
 - Franchise Fee: $22K
 - Royalty Fee: 5%

Heaven's Best Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning – Company uses a low-moisture system that cleans and dries carpets within an hour.
 - Capital Investment: $55K
 - Franchise Fee: $29K
 - Royalty Fee: $80/mo.

Snap-on Tools – What started as a seller of interchangeable wrenches now offers over 22,000 products including diagnostic tools, power tools, hand tools, shop equipment, and tool storage.  Owners take their stocked trucks directly to their customers which include mechanics, car dealers, airports, and marinas.
 - Capital Investment: $148K
 - Franchise Fee: $10K
 - Royalty Fee: $102/mo.

H & R Block – One of the world's largest tax services providers, and also offers desktop and online financial software products.
 - Capital Investment: $86K
 - Franchise Fee: $3K
 - Royalty Fee: 30%

Stratus Building Solutions – Franchisees provide professional cleaning services to schools, retail properties, office buildings, hospitals, and other commercial properties.
 - Capital Investment: $31K
 - Franchise Fee: $25K
 - Royalty Fee: 5%

CruiseOne – Agents market and sell travel and cruise packages to groups, businesses, families, and individuals.  The packages include resort hotels, tours, shore excursions, and travel protection policies.
 - Capital Investment: $15K
 - Franchise Fee: $5K
 - Royalty Fee: 3%

System4 – Provides commercial cleaning solutions to large and small facilities including restaurants, factories, apartments, office buildings, hotels, schools, churches, country clubs, banks, hospitals, fitness centers, and movie theaters.
 - Capital Investment: $22K
 - Franchise Fee: $18K
 - Royalty Fee: 5%

The Senior's Choice – Non-medical senior care company that can be franchised and operated from home.  It specializes in meal preparation, companionship, personal care, medication alerts, and light housekeeping.  Care and supervision of seniors is done in their homes to help them live independently.
 - Capital Investment: $63K
 - Franchise Fee: $45K

Here are several more franchise opportunities you might consider: Cartridge World, Firehouse Subs, AIM Mail Centers, Global Travel International, and 1-800-Flowers.

Business Opportunities

One key to a successful business is identifying a consumer need that’s not being met in the marketplace.  If you can effectively fill that void, your chances for success rise dramatically.

You may already have a hobby or pastime that can be converted into a full or part-time career.  Some possibilities are dog walking, pet sitting, language translating, catering, day care, tutoring, bookkeeping, computer data entry, and gardening.

Another option is direct sales of established consumer products such as Mary Kay Cosmetics, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simply, Avon Products, Discovery Toys, Stampin’ Up, and Willow House.

Summary

If you already own your own business or you’re thinking about changing what you do for a living, be realistic about your expectations.  While we hear about the occasional overnight successes, most small businesses take time to grow and prosper.

Capitalizing on your skills and talents is only part of the formula for success.  The biggest mistake made by most new business owners is underestimating the amount of capital required.  You’ll need start-up funding and a business plan if you want financing from a bank.  Make sure your finances are in order and you have the money to sustain the business for an extended period.

Buying a franchise doesn’t guarantee immediate success.  While brand recognition and support from the parent company will help you get started, you still need the skills to operate and manage the business effectively.  Don’t purchase any franchise without extensive due diligence and consultation with an attorney or certified financial adviser who specializes in this field.