On Making the Big Switch

(Originally published on July 17,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

If you’ve been thinking of shifting careers for some time now, purchasing a small (or big!) business franchise is a great way to go

By Tricia V. Morente

 

With entrepreneurship driving a huge chunk of the economy’s growth these days, more and more people are suddenly finding the merits of putting up one’s own business over working as an employee in the corporate world.

For some, this life-changing decision happens in their 40s—an important time for people to reflect on their careers and whether or not they still want to stay on the same course, or make a change. Such is the case of Atty. Ann Cabochan, a Binalot franchisee and the director of the Bureau of International Trade Relations of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). “I’ve always thought of myself as a professional lawyer and not an entrepreneur,” begins Cabochan, “but when my husband constructed a building with commercial spaces and eventually asked me to run it, I got to experience managing a small business. It was like a natural progression of events and things just falling into place—and suddenly I realized I was ready to manage a new venture.”

With very little experience in business to speak of, Cabochan and her husband decided that franchising a food business was the best bet for their success. So began their experience with growing their own Binalot branch—one of the most successful franchises in the country today.

Why Franchise?

The beauty about starting a franchise business is that you are in business for yourself, but not by yourself. Buying a franchise can be a rewarding business decision, and is the perfect option for someone who wants to enter the business world without the risks that come with starting one’s own business.

Creating a business operations model from scratch, and then implementing it through trial and error can be very time consuming and unproductive. But franchises have business models that are already developed and ready to be utilized. Binalot, for one, already has its fair share of success, which is why owner Rommel Juan is looking to expand into other areas by selling the Binalot brand and concept to franchisees.

Unlike the Cabochans, former collection officer Irell G. Perez already knew that he wanted to run his own business. He just wasn’t ready yet. “When I first started my own business, I wasn’t totally prepared and ready. I didn’t feel confident enough to go out on my own,” shares Perez, “so I thought that the most practical option was for me to look for a franchise that has the expertise and equipment, and can guide me in running a business.”

There are certainly lone wolf entrepreneurs who can go at it alone and do just fine. But for most newbie business owners and career-shifters, franchising not only gives them the technical assistance and troubleshooting support, it also provides the opportunity to communicate with other owners to learn best practices and exchange ideas.

It’s exactly what happened to Binalot Alphaland Southgate franchisee Annalyn Sayat. Exhausted from working as an employee for a big company, Sayat wanted to be her own boss. But being a newbie in the business arena, Sayat says that she wanted to make sure that her investment would be spent wisely. “I didn’t have the technical know-how of running a business,” she admits, “especially with Human Resource and Accounting. It’s why I opted for a franchise that already has a solid system and structure.” Being with Binalot, she adds, helped her to be more analytical when it comes to her decision-making. “You get to talk to your fellow franchisees, and you get reliable advice because you’re in the same line of business.”

Choosing the right investment

Initiating a career change by purchasing a business franchise definitely has a lot of major benefits. But keep in mind that there is a downside to purchasing a franchise—and that’s if you choose the wrong one to buy. It is essential to conduct a comprehensive analysis of each option you are considering and identify the key weaknesses that may compromise your efforts down the road.

“You really have to do your own research about the company, their system, the location, everything,” advises Sayat. “You also have to do the math because everything will depend on that. And finally, give it your all and the rest is up to God,” she adds.

Choose a product that you truly believe in, adds Perez. “The reason I chose a food franchise was because I, for one, love to eat,” he says, “and when a friend told me about Binalot, I researched about their products, benefits, and read feedback from previous franchisees. Eventually, I decided to go with the company because I believed in the product, their expertise, and the opportunities they’ve provided for me to learn and grow their business.”

Don’t invest in a franchise with your eyes closed, injects Cabochan. “My husband noticed how brisk business was for one of the Binalot stores in theMakaticentral business district. He frequented the mall where it was located, coming at different hours of the day, and different days of the week. We ate a few times in the store, trying something different each time, and we were convinced that it was value for money.”

The moment you decide to invest in Binalot, or any franchise for that matter, choose to take an active role in running the business. “Undergo the same training for store supervisors just to familiarize yourself with the system and intricacies of the business,” advises Cabochan. “Take an active role especially at the start and be sure you have someone trustworthy to look after the store when you’re busy or abroad. And don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

At the end of the day, the success and sustainability of a new business venture—whether a franchise or not—will always be a result of the entrepreneur’s pro-active role in the enterprise. “Starting my own business made me realize that there is no limit to one’s potentials as long as you put your heart into it,” Cabochan shares. “I never thought I was capable of running a sustainable business, but luckily enough, I proved myself wrong.”

 

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

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Posted on September 2, 2011, in Career Stories, Classifieds Service and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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