How to maximize your sales background as a business owner
The traits of a successful sales professional are well known. Among many talents, he or she has a knack for putting the business before sales, leveraging a former customer into future customers and committing the hours to establish expertise and ownership of the product. But the limitations of great salesmanship are also well established: the unavoidable ceiling of non-ownership.
Once you’ve achieved maximum success within your role, you can’t realistically go any higher because you don’t possess an ownership stake in your company.
You’re ready for a new challenge in which your sales expertise and hard work will continue to directly benefit the owner; only now the owner is you.
You Already Possess the Skills for Business Ownership
Business ownership requires many of the same skills you’ve developed and honed as a sales professional. You’ve always delivered more than you promised, you know how to prioritize positive outcomes over wasteful dead ends, and you’ve nurtured relationships within your business and social communities. Your success in sales is a direct result of your investment in your colleagues, education, and company.
You clearly possess the determination to own a business, but there remain plenty of questions to answer. Some potential owners often believe launching an enterprise requires a novel idea, something that practically sells itself or at least draws attention from venture capitalists. In truth, many successful business owners don’t enter the marketplace with a “can’t-miss, million-dollar idea.” They incorporate their experience and talent into building an exceptional franchise of an established brand.
Franchise Ownership Comes in Many Forms
When imagining a franchise, we often think of fast food or auto maintenance. These businesses usually come with a steep purchase cost, a fee that prices most of us out. But they’re hardly the only franchises in town – and often not the most lucrative.
Consider franchise ownership in much the same way you would approach a sales call. Think about what kind of services are missing or excelling and what the market demands. Speak to local business leaders, and perhaps their clients or friends, and listen to what they say about their needs. What gaps do they see in the community business infrastructure? Turn their problems into your opportunities.
And there are other ways to test a franchise’s potential that go beyond the purely subjective. The Federal Trade Commission requires franchising companies to produce a Franchise Disclosure Document, with 23 sections that include information about the company’s structure, officers, etc. Item 19 is an optional section that discloses the average financial performance of the franchises. Most successful companies, like Express Employment Professionals, which lists average annual sales per mature franchise of $5.6 million, provide a comprehensive Item 19. Otherwise, you’re purchasing your franchise in the dark.
Understanding Total Business Costs Leads to Franchise Success
Securing starting capital is essential before purchasing any franchise, but the franchise fee is just one expense to consider. You must also factor in the cost to maintain the business through profitability. This covers employee salaries, rent, and office supplies, as well as unforeseen expenses. Continue to ask questions of the franchiser until you are completely satisfied with your understanding of the true cost of opening your new business.
Fortunately, most companies offer detailed information about exactly what is required in borrowed or personal capital to start a franchise. For example, Express Employment Professionals, the No. 1 staffing company for six years running, according to Entrepreneur Franchise 500, maintains a $35,000 franchise fee but informs potential owners that they will need a total investment of $120,000 to $140,000 to break even initially.
Sales Expertise = Enterprise Success
You’ve already shown your ability to establish long-term, mutually beneficial relationships based on trust and understanding. Owning your own business allows you to incorporate your sales expertise into a successful enterprise, where the sky, not the ceiling, is the only limit. A successful franchiser paves the runway so you can focus on taking off.