A typical 21 year-old graduated from the Philippine Women’s University’s hotel and restaurant management course, and began work as an OFW cook on a cruise line. After two years of gathering experience in the kitchen, witnessing different cultures from all over the world, and saving up enough money, the young seafarer went on to fulfill his dream of putting up his own restaurant.
His name? Zark Espina Varona. His restaurant? Zark’s Burgers. Yep, it’s the same one that came out with those Php8 burgers that caused massive pandemonium in all their branches last month.
So, what does Zark’s history and success have to do with today’s article? I think we can agree that ultimately, Varona’s story is the endgame that a lot of OFW’s aspire to. Imagine using your hard-earned money to set up a business that does so well that it allows you to come home for good AND still provide for your family.
Now, we’re not here to talk about how you can establish a business from scratch just like Zark did, but rather, to discuss the next best thing: having your own franchise of an established brand. You see, many OFW’s are good at saving up money that can be used as capital, but few have neither the time nor the energy to build an enterprise from the ground up. A franchise is a great way to get into the game at minimal risk since you’d be purchasing a tried and tested system for running things, along with the initial inventory and equipment.
Done right, a good franchise can provide a franchisee with a 90% chance of success. Those are great odds, considering how most businesses don’t last five years after launching.
That said, how can an OFW put his hard-earned money to work in the franchise industry? Here are a handful of noteworthy strategies:
1. Go for a franchise you are actually interested in, rather than one you can simply afford.
Sure, cost will always factor in when you’re choosing between franchise packages. On the other hand, this kind of investment is a long-term commitment, so you need to pick a product/service/business that you genuinely believe in and see yourself working on for x number of years.
If a franchise that you’re eyeing is somewhat over your budget, you have other options: save up a bit more if that’ll help, bring in additional investors, take out a business loan from the bank, or simply talk to the franchisor about alternative payment terms.
Remember, putting up a business is much like choosing a life partner. Once you find The One, you don’t settle for less just because they might seem out of your league. No, instead, you level up until you are worthy of them.
2. Put up a buffer fund.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t invest all your life savings in just one business, but you should also save up to create a buffer fund to help manage the ups and downs of your franchise, especially when you are starting out. This emergency fund of sorts will help you pay for fixed expenses like rent and salaries during those first few months where your franchise has yet to take off.
Apart from the peace of mind a buffer fund gives you, it can also function as seed money for another business or investment, should your business prove profitable from the get-go.
3. If you intend for your wife or children to manage the franchise, involve them in all decision-making processes.
Let’s get something straight: a franchise is not like a condominium unit. Those who manage it have to exhibit genuine ownership for it to have a shot at succeeding.
What does this mean? Well, most OFW’s look to their wives and/or children to manage a franchise they’ve invested in, and that’s okay. You can’t be in two places at once, can you? So, someone still has to mind the store, so to speak.
Whoever you appoint to manage things in your stead, they’ll have an easier time doing so if they were involved from the very beginning (i.e., searching for the right franchise, applying for it, scouting for a location, etc). This will not only educate them on how things should be done, but it will also give them a sense of ownership, making their motives and actions a lot more invested in taking care of business.
4. Tap into the latest technology to help you keep an eye on things.
You might not be able to physically monitor the business, but technology can help you do that remotely.
For instance, consider installing closed circuit television (CCTV) and wi-fi on the premises so you can look in on your employees from afar. Cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) systems also enable you to check your sales and expenses even when you might be on a completely different continent. Skype too is a great tool for interviewing applicants or for holding face-to-face meetings with your team.
5. Work with the franchisor.
Getting a franchise is pointless if you don’t intend to follow what the franchisor teaches you about running the business.
Yes, they would make money off you, but that’s to be expected since you’re leveraging off their hard-won experiences and knowledge. Whenever you think of straying from their system, consider that they’ve probably thought of whatever it is you intend to do and the franchisor might have a very good reason for not recommending it.
Plus, a franchisee’s failure is detrimental to a franchisor’s brand, so it’s in their best interest to help you succeed. You do have to be coachable enough for this to happen, though.
Bear in mind that a franchise is not a shortcut to success. The best system in the world won’t help you if you’re not willing to put in the hard work. However, if you’re persistent enough to pay your dues in this business, you may not only find yourself with one abundant income stream, but also with enough learnings and experience to set up yet another one that’s entirely of your own making.