Franchises and the Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

small business

Not long ago I met a colleague for coffee at a local Panera — my favorite meeting place.

Rich Fein had been a business-to-business database marketer when I first met him back in 1999. He was one of the key people I hired to help build my first Internet business.

Rich is an example of a Baby Boomer entrepreneur. More than a year ago he started looking for a business to buy. He came close a couple of times, but just hadn’t found the right thing.

So I was greatly surprised to learn that he is now the proud franchisee of a painting company. From database marketing to painting — what a switch!

He acquired a franchise from a company called CertaPro Painters. Naturally I wanted to hear all about why he chose a painting company franchise, given his business-to-business marketing background.

Nothing that I knew about Rich suggested he would be interested in a painting business. After all, we’re talking about someone whose nickname was “Data Hound.”

He told me that he had looked at untold numbers of businesses and franchises. The thing that set CertaPro Painters apart was the systems, including:

  • Central call center to book appointments and handle customer service issues;
  • Direct mail marketing campaigns at the click of a mouse;
  • Technology to operate the business efficiently and profitably.

For instance, Rich told me about the Fujitsu Tablet PC and proprietary estimating software with handwriting recognition that the company provides. Rich goes to a prospective job site, i.e., someone’s home or business. He walks around, measures, and creates a precise estimate on the spot. He then prints it out on the printer hooked into a power source in his truck.

Rich does no painting himself. As he says, the systems let him work on his business, instead of in his business. That’s why someone like Rich, with good solid business experience, but zero experience as a painter, can be successful.

The Baby Boomer entrepreneur is a growing category, with different motivations from younger entrepreneurs. Baby Boomers are flocking to franchises following successful Corporate careers, or because they are simply not ready to retire.

Franchises appeal to Baby Boomers in part because those who are used to the structure and systems of the Corporate world, can start their own business and still start out with the assurance that established business systems will be in place. Baby Boomers have been noted as a demographic driving the growth in franchises, as noted by this article from New Zealand and this article from Australia.

1 Comment ▼

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

One Reaction
  1. The Internet has spawned many opportunities for retirees wishing to start a new entrepreneurial career: Selling used books! Book selling can be a very rewarding experience – one that can range from a casual hobby to a full-time career.

    Very little capital is required to start up (one can begin with selling ONE book they bought from a book sale for 50 cents!). All one needs is a computer and some books to sell and a business is born! There are many online venues for selling books: auction sites, online bookseller sites, etc.

    And there are plenty of sources for getting started. These include books that tell you how to start your business, scanners for checking the pricing of books, guides to tell you how to identify first editions and more!

    The best place to find bargain books is at book sales run by library Friends and other non-profit organizations. Books are donated by members of the community, volunteers run the sales, book buyers get great bargains and the organization receives funds for their charity – it’s win-win!
    Book sales are held every weekend across the country. And some organizations run bookstores, open daily.

    Book Sale Finder – the Online Guide to Used Book Sales