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Small Business Digest


Franchising Could Be an Option for the Out-of-Work

A recession may seem an odd time to launch a business, but for some people who are out of work, the best opportunity to make a living might be franchising.

With 14.5 million Americans unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many people may be seeking opportuniy in places they hadn't considered before.

Franchising a business gives entrepreneurs the ability to bypass many of the hurdles that first-time business owners encounter—coming up with an idea, drafting a business plan, engineering a market study to determine whether the business model will succeed—while gaining business expertise and guidance from the franchisor, say experts from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In-home aides offer a lower risk for franchisees because they have a support system.

“When people franchise a business, they don’t go it alone. Rather, they are backed by a company’s name, reputation, advertising department, and training center,” says Cari Diaz, director of franchise support for Acti-Kare, a service based in Tampa, Fla., that offers support to seniors.

“It’s an attractive option because it’s low-investment,” she says, “and yet comes with all the support one needs to run a successful business.”

Nonmedical home and personal-care services have recently become popular, and the field will experience rapid growth in the coming years now that a large number of baby boomers are retiring. As they age, more and more seniors want to live out their years within the comfort of their own homes.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that at least 4.5 million elderly people need assistance, each day, with one or more routine daily-living tasks.

Acti-Kare franchise owners run a business that allows the elderly to remain independent, while getting help with some of the everyday duties they often find more difficult to perform by themselves, such as meal preparation, household chores and driving to doctors’ appointments or weekly activities.

The franchise, which can be operated from a home office, also allows for the hiring of other employees.

To help new owners secure the financial means necessary to run a franchise, the SBA offers loan guaranties, with the agency ensuring that the loans made by banks and other private lenders aid small-business clients.

“A lot of people who have lost their jobs have turned to franchising because it’s a safe route to take,” Diaz says. “With Acti-Kare, they can see the potential that this market brings, and we provide them with
all the support, training and tools they need to succeed. It’s comforting for people to know that this is one less risk in such volatile times and is largely considered a recession-proof field,” Diaz contends.

For more information about Acti-Kare, log onto the company’s Web site at

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