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Downsized? Franchise vs. Corporate Employment

Pink slip? Thinking of a franchise?For those of you that are thinking about becoming a franchise owner this year, it’s essential for you to dig deep into your own psyche, and make sure that you are investing in a franchise, or even a non-franchise business, for all the right reasons.

Downsizing [1].

That word is becoming more common to more people in this choppy economy. The recent unemployment numbers tell the real story. Companies are lowering their revenue expectations, engaging in major cost cutting moves (which is a nice way of saying that they are cutting jobs), and are basically battening down the hatches, for awhile. (Joel, tell me something I don’t know!)

I am starting to see some interest in franchise/small business ownership options from downsized middle managers and executives, but it just feels different than the last recession. Folks are a lot more cautious, currently, and seem to be on somewhat of what I call a dual track; some of their energy is being used towards finding a traditional job, and some of their energy is being spent on non-traditional career options such as business ownership.

I generally don’t recommend this way of doing things.

I feel that you either want to be a business owner, or you don’t want to be a business owner. It shouldn’t be, “Well if I can’t find a job, I’ll just buy a franchise.” There tends to be so much self-inflicted pressure when launching a new business. Doing so because you can’t find a good job may add even more pressure.

I have found that almost all of the folks that I have been able to help place into franchises of their own have focused 80% of their time on finding opportunities in business ownership. They have pretty much made the decision to move away from a corporate career, and really want to do something on their own.

Some people that I meet tell me that they are really fed up with the corporate life. (For more, check out this poll showing a decline in job satisfaction. [2]) Some people are fed up more than others.

Jonathan Fields, author of a book titled “Career Renegade [3]” writes:

“At some point, it dawns on you that the corporate ladder is really more of a treadmill. You run faster, work harder, climb-higher, sweat more blood and push through stifling fatigue. But, in the end, all too often, you’re no freer or happier than the day you began. In fact, for many, as your lifestyle expands to gobble-up nearly every dollar you make, it’s quite the opposite. The day-to-day stress, relentless posturing, politics, negotiating and hours spent on minutiae increasingly suck the life out of you. Body, mind and spirit, slowly and methodically being sucked dry.”

Jonathan and I have two things in common.

1. We work for ourselves.
2. We tend not to sugar coat things.

I remember my dad coming home from work early one afternoon, with a look on his face that I hadn’t seen in awhile. His face revealed the combined feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, and fear, for all of us to see that day. He had been downsized. Again. For those of you who have ever been downsized, I’ll bet you remember your feelings the day it happened to you, too.

That was dad’s last downsizing. It happened in 1990. A couple of weeks later, he made the decision to forgo a job hunt, and started to seriously look into starting a franchise consulting business. He did.

My last downsizing was in 2001. I remember everything about that day. I was a little more confused than my dad, though. For me, I knew what I didn’t want to do anymore. I just didn’t know what my next adventure would be. My dad convinced me to join his firm, and eventually that year, I did. I now own it. (My dad passed away in 2007, from lung cancer.)

If you have been recently downsized, and are at the point in your life in which you feel a corporate job just isn’t the place for you anymore, get out of your comfort zone, and look at some non-traditional opportunities:

If you have been downsized, and are comfortable with the corporate life, congratulations! Opportunities abound. You just have to look for them in a different way. Get out of your robe, and get out of the house. Attend an ExecuNet [6] meeting. Meet someone new for lunch a couple of times a week. Use resources that can still be found at your local library. Get on LinkedIn [7].

Whatever you decide to do on your next career adventure, do it for all the right reasons.

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Joel Libava on 2008 franchise trends About the Author: Joel Libava is President and Life Changer of Franchise Selection Specialists [8]. He blogs at The Franchise King Blog [9].