If you’re a Millennial (born between 1980 and 2000), you may already know that buying a franchise makes sense for your future, and for several good reasons.
If you’re a Millennial and your future is still a blur, chances are good that you’re interested in entrepreneurship.
If so, you’ll discover that franchising offers almost everything you could desire as a business owner, and it’s more affordable than you might think.
An entrepreneurial generation
We’re all impressed by the Millennial generation, the largest in Western history. The U.S. Commerce Department reports there are 80 million Millennials (ages 17 to 37) in the USA (15 million in the UK) and – get this! – two of three are interested in entrepreneurship!
According to Forbes, 72% of Millennials want to be their own boss.
All that information suggests that Millennials not only represent the next huge consumer market, but also the next huge market for buying franchises.
But Millennials who want to buy franchises have discovered that franchisors (a) don’t understand them, and (b) they do not market to them effectively. Not yet, anyway.
What do we know about Millennials?
What do you think?
Since so little is known about Millennials and franchising, I’m eager to hear from you. Whether or not you agree with my 5 Reasons Why Millennials Want to Buy Franchises, let me know what you’re thinking. If you have to, feel free to set this old guy straight!
Truth is, most franchisors don’t know much about Millennials (they may still think of you as Trophy Kids, one of several descriptors that preceded Millennial), and they may be afraid of you, or they don’t think you’re right for buying a franchise.
As a business community, what do we know about Millennials?
Hmmm. It’s not pretty.
Much of what we know isn’t attractive to the Baby Boomers, who are still (but not for long) in charge of America’s businesses, including franchise companies.
Millennials are often depicted as entitled, lazy, and narcissistic (no apology needed; you already know this), and you don’t appear to be a generation that wants to work long hours, or to earn six figure salaries, unless you can do so on your own terms. You’re not interested in a job, you’re interested in a life.
And unlike your grandparents, you’d find the notion of spending your life with one employer as pointless.
For franchise marketers, it’s an overlooked generation
Consequently, the older men and women who are at the helm of America’s franchise businesses, and their associates who develop marketing plans, aren’t spending much time marketing to Millennials.
In fact, according to Manta, an Ohio-based firm that provides assistance to small businesses, small businesses across the board are not marketing to Millennials. According to Manta’s research, only 15 percent of small businesses in the USA market to Millennial buyers.
Since most franchise companies are small businesses, I’ll venture to say that less than 15 percent of America’s franchise companies market to Millennials for the purpose of attracting new franchisees.
In my opinion, the vast majority of franchise companies are missing an opportunity to attract the future business leaders of the USA and beyond. Furthermore, they risk losing marketshare.
“Companies that don’t plan for generational management shifts risk falling behind and losing out to their competitors,” reported Bloomberg Businessweek.
Franchisors and marketers need to come to grips with this fact: Eventually, Millennials will dominate franchising, both as franchisors and franchisees. After all, two-thirds of this generation seek entrepreneurial lives.
So what are the reasons why Millennials should consider buying a franchise? No doubt there are more than these five reasons, but these are a good beginning.
1. You don’t think like the rest of us. Rather than thinking outside the box, you prefer to create a new box. And that scares Baby Boomers, and especially franchisors.
Millennials are creative (not a good word in franchisee selection), and you
enjoy thinking about how to do things differently, even though better.
Meanwhile, franchisors are all about finding people who will buy their franchises and operate them by following their pre-established and proven systems. They don’t want you to do things differently.
But for many franchisors, a shot of creativity, and revision to their operating system, might be exactly what they need to meet the expectations of the biggest consumer generation in history.
Millennials say they’d rather earn $40,000 a year at a job they love, than earn six figures doing something that stresses them out.
Many (maybe most) franchisees earn well under six figures, some under $40,000 a year. If those franchise opportunities appear to be less stressful, or can be tailored to satisfy Millennials, i.e. flexible work hours, work-at-home opportunities, work-out-of-a-vehicle opportunities, etc., with some basic changes many franchisors can sell more franchises.
The franchise system may be overhauled in the process, and for many franchisors and franchisees that could be a good thing.
2. You understand calculated risks. And that’s perfect for franchising!
Almost everyone says buying a franchise is a risk. That’s true, but savvy franchisees know that many of the risks can be identified upfront, and then minimized or contained.
Franchise buyers tend to be conservative buyers. They do their homework in advance of buying a franchise, and that’s what Millennials know how to do, especially using online resources.
Millennials will find an industry that appeals to them and then drill down to look carefully at opportunities within the industry. You’re not afraid to ask questions of franchisors, franchisees, and industry suppliers.
You will dig into the financial information and expect to get clear-cut answers before you invest. And you’ll be pleased to know that many franchise opportunities cost less than $50,000 – some under $10,000.
Before committing to an opportunity, Millennials will know the downside and the upside of any opportunity, and once again that may be a benefit to franchisors that want to improve their systems.
3. You want to make a difference. Of course, everyone wants to make a difference, including Baby Boomers, especially as we age. But startups by Millennials are often geared towards helping people in need.
There’s no reason to believe that Millennials would not continue their generosity as franchisors and franchisees. Many franchise companies are already engaged in philanthropic endeavors, so this serves the Millennials perfectly.
Through the years, many research studies have demonstrated that consumers prefer to remain loyal to businesses that are making a difference, especially in their local communities.
Free admission for Millennials who attend the IFE
You’ll find 400+ franchise brands marketing to Millennials and all generations at the International Franchise Expo, June 16-18, at the Javits Center in New York City. Last year, 15% of IFE attendance was under age 30! Want free admission to the expo? Send an email to Free Expo Tickets.
4. No one knows social media better than Millennials. You pioneered
social media, and you dominate it.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and similar channels provide a
playground for Millennials. It isn’t work to you.
But what’s really important: Millennials know how to get the best results from
All your lives you’ve engaged with businesses using social media. You know what to say, and how to say it, to build a loyal following. That’s a huge plus for a franchisee and for marketing a franchise brand.
Millennial franchisees are more tech-savvy than their franchisors, and older franchisees, and that creates another challenge for franchisors.
Franchisors need to figure out how to adapt their systems for social media, and they could speed up that process by selling franchises to Millennials and hiring Millennials in the corporate office.
Social media will transform many small businesses, but it will also kill off many businesses. How many small businesses, including franchise companies, are wisely using social media today? Not many.
Techno-platforms are likely to reduce the cost of customer acquisition, as well as increase customer satisfaction, and both will ultimately enhance a franchisee’s bottom line, providing the franchisor understands the dynamics and makes inroads for future success.
5. You’re eager to be mentored. This should please franchisors given that franchisees succeed when they have someone to lean on for information, guidance and how-to regarding development of a business.
Millennials are an educated generation (I won’t mention your college debts), you value knowledge, and you know how to find the information you need without leaving your bedroom.
Quite often, however, Millennials aren’t ready to pull the trigger on their own. You like someone checking your facts, looking over your shoulder, offering suggestions, and possibly even investing with you. Once you’re confident of a decision, there’s no stopping you.
Come to think of it, because Millennials are more likely to invite parents or family members to team up with them, especially to provide startup money, the Millennial generation may bring American families back together. The family that works together, stays together!
If Millennials want to be mentored, franchisors will stand in line to attract you. Of course, us old guys will still need to learn how to talk Millennialese.
What are franchisors waiting for?
All five points considered, what’s keeping franchisors from marketing to Millennials?
No one knows for sure, but according to Manta’s research, small business owners, (and probably especially franchisors), don’t believe that Millennials are key buyers in their industry.
Buying a franchise is a costly proposition, and franchisors are leery that Millennials won’t have the money to invest, especially as they struggle to pay off college debts (sorry, I had to mention that).
Often, franchisors don’t know what to say
But Millennials are also confident and industrious. They can figure out problems, especially money problems. Money won’t be the obstacle for this generation. Finding a business that suits their needs is issue number one.
There’s also the notion that marketing doesn’t work on Millennials. Talk to a Millennial, or try to sell a Millennial, and you turn them off.
You don’t like sales pitches, understandably. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to be sold, or that you don’t want to buy a franchise!
This puts the onus on franchisors, and their marketing partners, to develop new approaches that will attract Millennials. Franchisors don’t seem to know that they’ve got to find Millennials where they’re already assembling, i.e. specific channels of social media.
Find Millennials where they exist
Websites and blogs, and even email campaigns are all important to snag the interests of Millennials. Manta’s research discovered that Facebook is still the dominant choice for Millennial customers, followed by Linkedin. And yet, it’s scary how many franchisors don’t have a unified, purpose-driven campaign for either of those platforms.
“Trying to reach Millennials may be daunting,” says John Swanciger, CEO, Manta, “but the payoff can be significant. Ignoring this important audience not only risks alienating a large market of potential customers, but also represents a failure to embrace those who will become the next generation of small business leaders.”
And by that, we can assume he also means franchise business leaders.
Millennials: It’s going to take a while for franchisors to figure out how to attract you, but franchisors are also a confident and industrious group, and sooner or later they’ll get it done. You’re the future of not only the USA, but also the world, and franchising needs your leadership.
The author acknowledges the assistance of three Millennials who commented on a draft of this article: Rebecca McLouth of MFV Expositions, and Morgan Givney and John Hayes, Jr., both of BizCom Associates.Tags: be an entrepreneur, Buy a Franchise, franchise opportunity, Millennials
Categorised in: Franchise FAQ's
This post was written by Dr. John Hayes