I work with women every day who are dying to get out of their 9 to 5 straight jacket. They frequently say they have always wanted to own a business, but the time was never right… until now. The time is often right because a woman’s asset base is now large enough to give a bit of cushion, but sometimes it’s due to a layoff or she feels the universe is giving her a nudge.
Unfortunately for a woman in this situation, the investment parameter is usually tight. The most she could come up with (either out of pocket or with me helping her get a little SBA express loan) is under $200,000. No startup business is so magical that when you open your doors the cash and profits just flow. Having 200K in available capital means the total cost to launch should be well under $150,000. And ideally under $100,000 because – surprise – there are bumps in the road and marketing costs to consider.
And at that investment level, (franchises under 100k) you are priced out of trendy brick and mortar stores where you envision yourself as the hostess having fun every day. Plus, that’s a delusion. No business is fun every day.
Simply put, at this price point your options are home-based businesses with no inventory or service businesses. You will be starting out in your home office offering some sort of service to entrepreneurs or homeowners. That is what is commonly referred to as ‘B to B’ or ‘B to C’ (business to business or business to consumer).
B to Bs generally require you to get out there and do business development – that’s code for networking your rear off and/or making cold calls or scheduling appointments. B to C means you are dealing with the public who can be picky. But those businesses can be advertising driven – i.e. you throw your money into marketing campaigns and, hopefully, your phone rings with potential customers.
So, with that in mind, here are a few franchises under 100k that I think are great and maybe even fun to operate:
#1 Just Between Friends
This one gets the award for lowest investment with a franchise fee of just $17,900 and a technology fee of $1,500. Just between friends is a ‘pop-up’ consignment business. You will put on large (and I do mean large – like you need to find a space with at least 10,000 Sq Ft to stage your events) consignment sales two or three times a year. You won’t make enough income to replace your salary – but you can bring in some serious spending money with what is essentially 2 months of work a year. Learn more about this opportunity here.
#2 Spaulding Decon
Okay, admittedly this is not for everyone. As an owner of a Spaulding Decon franchise, you are offering meth lab, crime scene, and hoarding cleanup services. Some people think that’s sexy, ok? You’ll own a tremendously profitable business and as a bonus, you’ll hire EMT’s and firefighters to be your contract workers. Who wouldn’t want to work in with a bunch of physically fit guys and gals wanting to make extra money?
This type of company is a good fit for public speakers, networkers, and workers who have empathy. You will be in close contact with families on the worst days of their lives. But you will be providing a needed and valuable service to your community.
#3 Senior Placement Referral Businesses
Referral companies offer a free service to families who have an elder or disabled person who needs more assistance and are no longer capable of staying in their home. You’ll be providing value and getting paid nice commissions by the network of assisted living facilities that you refer.
Like a realtor, you’ll learn the client’s needs and budget, go into your database and generate a report with two or three local providers that are good matches. Then you’ll tour the facilities – and the client picks one. Once they have signed up the facility pays you a hefty fee. This industry entails plenty of networking and calling on the referral sources. Who are, for the most part, happy to learn about what you can provide.
#4 Patrice and Associates (Recruiting with a Niche)
Patrice and Associates is the nation’s largest and oldest hospitality recruiting firm. Talk to any restaurant or hotel chain of size and chances are they already use their services. As an owner, you can start at home and hire one recruiter to come with you to training sessions. These businesses can scale easily by hiring more recruiters and opening an office. You are recruiting management positions and calling on your local large restaurants, hotels, and casinos to land their placement business.
You will also interview and maintain resumes of folks wanting to move up the career ladder. This can be very profitable if you are willing to be on the phone for as much as eight hours per day. We’re talking headsets on and dialing for dollars.
#5 Challenge Island
This is one of the only franchises under 100k offering after-school enrichment programs that are on the cutting edge of S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). Challenge Island’s proprietary curriculum has earned countless accolades from schools, teachers, and parents.
You will hire teachers who are looking for extra pay to lead your classes. Many owners do not lead a class of their own. To provide additional revenue streams you can offer to hold birthday parties, summer camps, and girl scouts events through a national partnership the company has with the Girl Scouts of America. This is a fun business and you can achieve a great return in short order. The investment is low and the profit margins are high with little to no inventory or overhead.
Related Reading: It’s Never Too Late for a Startup
There are many other franchises under 100k to consider. Make sure to fully explore the alternatives with an expert, like me, to identify the right one that will incorporate your interests and transferable skills.
Let Your Entrepreneurial Spirit Flourish
One of the most exciting things about the world of entrepreneurship is that initiatives are not bound by a retirement age. Business owners are often stereotypically seen as young twenty-somethings straight out of college (or dropouts in some cases), however, the spirit of entrepreneurship should not be limited by this perception. It can be argued that late-life entrepreneurship might be better than starting early since individuals can learn from their work and life experiences to make much more innovative and critical decisions of problem-solving.
So whether you want to start your own brand management or compete with marketing companies, know that it is never too late for a startup and here’s why:
1. Aspirations Do Not Have an Expiration Date
Shun the traditional ageist view that only the young can have aspirations of their own. The bottom line is that hopes, dreams, and aspirations do not expire and you should not let societal expectations hold you back.
Entrepreneurship provides you with an opportunity to give back something of value to your next generations – be a role model for your children and grandchildren. Contribute as much as you can while you can! Moreover, startups at later age also allow you to act as a mentor for the young people you will involve in your initiative, a chance to train those who will respect you for your wisdom and experience.
2. There Are Examples of Midlife Success
You are never too old to seek a new venture and the following people are prime examples of this statement. From the exemplary founders of Starbucks and McDonalds who were both in their 50s to Harland Sanders who founded KFC when he was 62 and Charles Flint who started IBM when he was 61. There are countless examples of success stories; people who did not let their age hold them back and polished their ideas to successfully launch businesses.
3. In Today’s Era, There Are Endless Opportunities
Technology has penetrated the traditional framework behind startups in such a way that it is now easier than ever to take an initiative with a solid business idea. In today’s business environment, there are a variety of ways to enter the realm of entrepreneurship as long as you are taking up a relevant challenge and giving solutions for the needs of your consumers.
There are a plethora of options available for your startup venture, aided by the increasing involvement of digital technologies. The virtual world is inextricably linked to the business world and has emphatically altered the way we used to view entrepreneurship by reducing the bounds of time and space as well as organizational agility.
Things can be done, plans can be made and implementations can be carried out, all from the comfort of your home now. This can be even more effective if you plan to initiate an online business. The opportunities are truly endless.
Related Reading: How to Care for Yourself While Running a Startup
You can take it easy and enjoy a more leisurely routine. But if you envision something different for yourself as you enter midlife and beyond, know that the only thing holding you back is your will. All that is required is for you to have a clear vision of what you want to do and combined with initiative, it can take you a long way toward your own successful startup business!
Running an online business can be wonderfully rewarding. It gives you the freedom to work when and where you want and, hopefully, the financial stability to meet your current needs and also plan a little for the future.
However, there will come a time when you desire change. But it’s always hard to know if now is the right moment to make a life-altering decision. It’s difficult to tell the difference between true stagnation and simple frustration or anxiety.
Consider these top five reasons for selling your business now to help you figure out if the moment has arrived for you to cash out and move on.
You No Longer Enjoy Running It
This one should go without saying, but so many people don’t consider this reason to be as important as it really is. Without being too morbid, we can never forget our time on Earth is limited, and that it can be taken from us at any moment.
There will always be things we enjoy doing more than others, but it’s our responsibility to weed out those things we don’t like and replace them with what we love. Your work is no different.
Ask yourself if you really enjoy running your online business. Do you still feel that same challenge pushing you forward? Or do you feel overcome with dread and anger every time you sit down at your computer? If you identify more with option two, then it’s time to move on. Simple as that.
“But what about the money?” a lot of people will say.
No amount of money is worth your happiness and well-being, so if you can’t approach your business with joy and gratitude, then cash out and begin looking for something else.
You’ve Got Other Projects To Work On
Hopefully, you’ve figured out by now that one of the great secrets of success is focusing on one thing at a time (and if you haven’t, well, you’re welcome). This isn’t to say that you can only do one thing, but it does mean you need to be realistic about what you can and can’t do at this current moment.
There’s a good chance your online business was once a side hustle, and there’s an even better chance that it didn’t become something more until you decided to treat it as your top priority.
So if you’ve found other projects you enjoy working on but don’t get the attention they deserve because of your online business, then it’s time to move on. And since you don’t want to ignore your company and wait for it to die, you can sell it and use the money to get you going on your next venture.
It’s Taking You Away From What Matters
Family needs to come first. To be happy and well, you need to make sure you’re spending enough time with those who mean the most to you. If your online business is preventing this from happening, you need to make a change.
It’s true that there’s never enough time. But work shouldn’t ever be the top priority. Even when you’re making good money, if you find yourself reaching the end of the day wishing you’d spent more time with your kids, partner or friends, there’s a good chance you’re working too hard.
It’s Worth A Lot Of Money
Switching over to more practical, professional arguments, it could be time to sell your online business because your company is worth more now than ever. Get it evaluated, and if it’s worth enough, and you’ve got other things going on, then sell out while you can and invest the money in something else.
This one really aligns with the other reasons; you shouldn’t sell out only because there’s lots of money to be made. But if the business has matured and is making you money, and you find your interest and attention elsewhere, it might be time to cash in on your hard work and move on. Another thing to look out for is industry risk. If you’re worried about the direction of the company, selling out now could be a way to get maximum value before it’s too late.
Generally speaking, businesses are worth 2.5 times their yearly revenue, so use this as a jumping off point. But consider getting a professional valuation so that you can see what your business is really worth.
Growth Has Plateaued
This one is a bit tricky since businesses that are growing are traditionally worth more. But if your company has leveled out a bit regarding growth, and you don’t think you have the time or resources to jump-start it, then you might want to consider selling.
Overall, it’s much better to sell at this moment rather than when sales start going down. As revenues shrink, so does value, making it much harder to attract serious offers. If things have slowed, and you can’t or don’t want to speed them back up, consider selling and starting something new.
If you’re on the fence about selling your business, consider these top reasons why you should. If they apply to you, then it’s time to make a change. If not, stick it out and keep working. But be aware of when situations change so you can sell and move on before it’s too late.
Digital marketing is an expensive and risky venture for all businesses. Results take time and services do not come free. Due to the heavy upfront costs, many companies are quite hesitant to employ this to their means. Securing referrals and proving your worth in the business can be done. But these strategies take effort. Especially when competition is tough and you are new to the game.
Marketing, both actual and digital, play major roles in the profit drive of any company. Successful marketing campaigns drive greater returns and profits that their upfront costs.
In Singapore, more people are becoming active online, with growing interactions on social media sites. In 2017, more than 95% of internet users had at least one social media account and spent an average of 2.5 hours per day on their accounts. Half of the said users watched online videos daily. Product research and comparison are done online by 42% of Singaporeans before actually making final purchase decisions. These statistics show the huge digital penetration and usage in Singapore.
With the emergence and support of new technologies in online marketing, not all businesses get the same successful outcomes. Many still go through problems that hinder them from getting ideal results. One obstacle to success is marketing to the wrong audience. And this problem takes place almost everywhere.
Knowing your target audience is so important since it helps you implement and direct your marketing plans. For example, a company selling customized cigars had a mistargeted online strategy when they first launched their business. Their ads were directed at cigar users. They eventually found out their customers are composed mainly of the friends and family of cigar users.
How would you know if the effort, time, and money you are spending on marketing are directed at the wrong audience? Here are three signs to watch for to avoid burning your resources.
#1 Low Visit to Lead Conversion Rates
In online marketing, lead conversion rates are gold. The number of visits to your site is just a number and does not quantify anything if the visits do not convert to sales. Your visitors should become customers when your plan is working. If not, this is a hint that you may be barking up the wrong tree. To correct this, you may want to check how you are marketing your products. Do the customers really get what you are advertising? Or are there hidden details in your ads that confuse or deceive them?
Take, for example, if you advertise free shipping on all orders. Potential customers visit your site only to discover they have to order a minimum amount to get free shipping. This misleading ad can cause bounce rates instead of conversions. Pay attention to your marketing message and make sure your audience really understands what you are telling them.
#2 Low Engagement Rates
Likes, shares, and comments are measures of customer engagement. They provide useful indications of whether your content has successfully reached your audience. If your engagement rates are low, there is a chance that your content is not reaching your target audience. Either they cannot completely relate to your content or your content is totally irrelevant to them.
Related Reading: 8 Essential Social Media Podcasts for Women Who Love Business
#3 Unsubscriptions Are As High As Subscriptions
After subscribing to your email list, many people may unsubscribe after a day or two. Another bad sign is when they download a free ebook or PDF file from you and then unsubscribe. If you are seeing this trend you may be attracting the wrong audience or not engaging them properly. You can try adding a step-by-step eCourse they can subscribe to and build a relationship with your customers. That way, you have a vantage point in interacting with them.
Success in online marketing does not merely depend on strategies alone; you have to be keen on the ongoings of your site as well. You may not be getting what you are supposed to for the amount you are spending on marketing. Always remember to pay attention to the details of your sales conversions.