CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 08: A customer has lunch in a Subway restaurant on March 8, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. With 34,225 restaurants in 95 countries, Subway has surpassed McDonalds as the world's largest restaurant chain. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Chicago’s unemployment rate has remained consistent over the past few months; however, companies aren’t creating the types of jobs people need. We’re seeing more and more businesses offering lower wage jobs and part-time positions, which is causing real income levels to decline.
We’re in this "new career economy" where working a job isn’t likely to build long-term wealth and equity, so there is a push towards entrepreneurship for those who want to take control and build a future for themselves and their family.
For many budding entrepreneurs, who feel they don’t have the necessary knowledge or experience to start a business on their own, franchising offers a comprehensive, entrepreneurial blueprint for success. A franchise can be a lucrative vehicle to entrepreneurship because it combines many of the benefits of business ownership with the brand name, experience, and proven operating system provided by an established franchisor.
More than 495,000 local jobs and $48 billion in the Chicago economy are attributed to franchises. These franchises span across a wide variety of industries, serve business-to-consumer and business-to-business customers and encompass different franchise models, including home-based, mobile and brick-and-mortar.
So, what concepts are hot in Chicago? What trends can we see next?
Take the health and wellness trend, for example. People are living longer and there is more awareness about living healthier lifestyles. As such, you can see those trends appearing in franchising; health and fitness franchises are doing well, especially those with new concepts and flexible hours for people to work out. Senior care franchises are also booming, since people are living longer.
Along with spotting trends in society, watch the economy to identify businesses that have the highest potential for growth.
Companies aren’t ready to commit to hiring full-time employees, but even a tepid recovery means they need people to fill orders, service clients, etc. This keeps the temporary staffing industry booming and likely to continue growing as a trend in hiring people on a flexible, part-time basis becomes the norm. Other top-growth industries include business coaching and consulting, disaster and restoration services, educational services and drug-test consulting.
How do I get into franchising? Where do I find quality franchise opportunities?
First, identify your objectives, goals, needs, expectations, lifestyle and reason for going into the business. Stack this up against the model you’re considering and get a coach. A coach will help you sort through all the different opportunities and identify what fits your desired income, lifestyle, wealth and equity goals.
Marcelo Alvarez is the Chicago business and career coach from The Entrepreneur’s Source. He has more than 20 years experience in marketing, management and business development. Prior to joining The Entrepreneur’s Source, Alvarez held numerous positions with Fortune 500 companies, including Pepsi-Cola, Miller Brewing and Capital One. He has marketing and finance degrees from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Management from LaSalle University. He can be reached at malvarez@EsourceCoach.com.