How to Become a Franchisee in Your Twenties


Going into business for yourself presents chance to take control of your own destiny. The younger you are though, the harder it might seem. As a 28-year-old franchise owner of a British Swim School franchise in the Chicago market, I have been through the discovery stages of trying to figure out what type of business I wanted to launch, starting my own or buying an existing one. I have been the owner of six separate companies before finally finding success with British Swim School. Each model presents itself with some great benefits, but also some challenges. Below I have highlighted some tips that young entrepreneurs in their twenties should consider when trying to ultimately decide which business model is right for them.

Brand recognition: Do you want people to automatically be familiar your brand or are you all right with the city having to discover it from scratch? Starting an independent business will allow you to potentially form your own rules of what you want people to think of the brand, whereas with a franchise, people typically have pre-established notions built.

Day-to-day operations: Some people prefer franchises because it already has the business plan and marketing plan in place for the owner to utilize in their local market. This could potentially offer a quick ROI. If you feel you cannot properly follow it, an independent business might be the best path for you.

Funding your business: Securing funding to launch a business has been a challenge for small business owners all throughout this unfortunate economy. Some people say that starting a business on your own can be less costly than investing in a franchise, but with proper research, you can also find franchises that cost less than $100K or sometimes even $50K to invest in. If you find that the franchise concepts you are truly interested in are too costly for your personal budget, maybe starting on your own is a better option. If you want to invest in a franchise though, make sure to ask the franchiser if they have any relationships with lenders who can assist you.

Company culture: Many franchisers will agree that company culture is important. Everyone must be on the same page in order to help each other succeed. If you don’t think your values would line up with a franchiser, starting your own business is for you. If working next to an entire system of owners and attempting to get along with everyone is something you are willing to work at, a franchise might be up your alley.

Starting your own business is an exciting adventure and with the right amount of research, you will choose the business model that is best suited for you.

Nick Dobbs is the owner of a British Swim School franchise in the Chicago market. For more than 30 years, British Swim School has been dedicated to teaching water survival to beginners of all age groups. British Swim School uses a gradual, gentle and fun process to teach babies as young as three months old the most important water survival skill – the ability to float on their back. For more information, visit

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