Want to Start a Business? Try a Franchise Maybe.

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If you’re dreaming of starting a business but you aren’t sure what kind of business to start—or where to start—the ideal solution may be to buy a franchise. In fact, Guidant Financial has gone so far as to dub 2019 the “Year of the Franchise” based on trends in its latest  Small Business Trends survey. Here’s a closer look at what they found about today’s franchise owners (also called franchisees).

Who are today’s franchisees?

Some 62% of franchisees in Guidant’s survey are baby boomers, while 30% belong to Generation X. Just 8% are millennials. One reason for the low level of millennial involvement: Most millennials can’t yet afford the high average cost of opening a franchise. Since franchisors expect franchisees to put a significant chunk of their own money into startup, the average franchisee needs to have about $50,000 liquid capital to invest.

Reflecting the financial means needed to buy a franchise, franchise owners generally have a higher level of education than the average small business owner. Some 85% of franchisees have advanced degrees: 47% have a bachelor’s degree, 25% have a master’s degree, and 11% have an associate’s degree. Of course, 15% are doing fine with a high school or GED degree.

Getting financing to buy a franchise gets easier

You’ll need to put a chunk of your own money into buying a franchise, but you may be able to get a loan for the rest. Getting a small business loan is typically very difficult for startup business; however, franchises are different. Since franchisees are buying into a proven system, lenders are more likely to feel confident that their startups will survive and be able to repay the loan. In fact, franchisees are 28% less likely than independent business owners to say cash flow is a major operational challenge, Guidant’s survey reports.

With loan interest rates dropping, Guidant notes that small business lending solutions such as SBA 7(a) loans are becoming more affordable. The SBA recently adjusted its size standards, categorizing about 90,000 more businesses as “small businesses” and making them eligible to obtain small business loans. Last year, 26% more franchise owners used SBA loans to launch their business compared to the prior survey.

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