|Caring Transitions franchises take care of everything from estate sales to actual moves for seniors opting out of living alone -- a business with high demand and low costs for an owner.|
According to Kevin Kerridge, head of U.S. operations for specialty insurer Hiscox, some of the "least risky" industries for startup companies include:
- Technology services/information technology consulting;
- Business and management consulting;
- Assisted living/caregiving;
- Event planning.
For others, though, such as corporate executives looking to make the transition to self-employment, buying an existing and profitable business may be "faster, easier, safer and easier to finance than starting one," says John Martinka , a business consultant with "Partner" On-Call. Martinka cautions that while buying an existing business does require cash on hand, "you are trading your capital for immediate cash flow," he writes. "That capital can be as little as 10% of the purchase price." "You walk into nice things like customers, cash flow, market share, profit and a reputable product or service," Martinka says. "You get training from the seller as part of the deal and have an employee team that has been doing their jobs for years and helping create those profits." 2. Buy a franchise
A similar route can be simply buying into a franchised business, reminds Dan Martin, a franchise consultant with IFX. Franchises have "great support designed for somebody that doesn't necessarily have any experience in that particular expertise," he says. "The most popular franchises these days are lower risk franchises, are recognized brands and
Businesses that do not need an established bricks-and-mortar presence are seeing high demand for buy-ins these days -- for instance, a fitness boot camp franchise instead of a 24-hour fitness center. "Instead of purchasing a 24-hour fitness facility, these boot camps make use of existing parks and beaches, where they don't have to have a permit because
Rob Israel started the snack franchise Doc Popcorn with his wife, Renee, in 2003, when natural food products did not get a fraction of the attention they get today. Now that consumers are much more mindful of what they eat, Israel says, franchises are popping up across the country in malls, stadiums and other entertainment venues. In two years of franchising, Doc Popcorn has opened 25 locations. There are more than 100 in development in 22 states and Washington, D.C., the company says. Doc Popcorn is not only looking to offer a healthy snack alternative, but providing customers with an enjoyable, and perhaps nostalgic, experience, Israel says.
|Doc Popcorn franchisees can buy a single unit or multiple units, and in different sizes for different types of venues: a PopKiosk, mobile PopCart and larger PopShop.|
Another suitable entry-level franchise is Tutor Doctor, founded in 1999 and franchising as of 2003 as an alternative to the "one-to-many" teaching model most extracurricular learning centers offer and instead providing one-on-one, in-home tutoring. "It's the kind of business that feels good," says Tutor Doctor's president, Frank Milner. "Franchisees are very involved in their local community, and the work that they do is extremely meaningful. That feels really good to know that the work you're doing is really making a difference." Franchise owners can use their home as their office, are not required to buy any equipment or have a background in education. Rather, the franchisee hires and matches tutors through a network to cover specific subject areas from traditional school subjects to tutoring elderly people to use the Internet to or playing a musical instrument. Business owners who invest in franchises have the opportunity to generate significant revenue on relatively low initial investment, Milner adds. "We have franchisees who are tracking to do more than $1 million in business