Published June 20, 2018 in Forbes.

Jim Judy Jim Judy Forbes Councils


Franchise business ownership is sometimes described as “one size fits all,” meaning, regardless of what you want your entrepreneurial life to look like, to succeed, you must fit into a system already determined to be the most successful model. Whereas that may be the case when discussing a single franchise system, when talking about the franchising industry as a whole, nothing could be further from the truth.

There are more than 2,900 franchise brands available today, meaning there are more than 2,900 unique franchise systems. Certainly, many of the brands may offer comparable models, but the range of expectations on franchise owners is still incredibly broad. It’s for that reason that franchise business experts can confidently claim that no matter who you are, chances are good that there is a franchise model perfectly suited to help you achieve your dreams.

Here are five of the most popular.

The Part-Time Owner. Or, in franchising terms, the semi-absentee owner. Many franchise systems are adopting this model in response to the growing importance among candidates of achieving a desirable work-life balance. As a semi-absentee franchise owner, you are only expected to spend around 10–20 hours per week working on your business while your management team handles the day-to-day operation. Better yet, semi-absentee franchise systems are scalable, so owners can easily expand their footprint to include multiple units while adding only minimal hours to their workload.

People who enjoy the semi-absentee model are capable of developing leaders within their organization to handle the day-to-day functions of the business, thereby freeing themselves up for other pursuits. The model is becoming increasingly popular with families looking to spend more time raising children or helping with grandchildren while still enjoying the benefits of small-business ownership.

The C-E-Owner. Whether it’s a semi-absentee model or not, some systems are built with the expectation that the franchise owner will own multiple units or even purchase the rights to develop an entire area right from the start. Multi-unit franchise ownership and area development are designed for people excited about building a franchising empire, either by owning multiple units themselves or serving as “mini-franchisors” and selling franchises to other candidates within their area. They oversee a team that includes other franchise owners, regional managers, unit managers and frontline employees who handle the day-to-day operations while handling the major decisions for the direction of their business themselves.

C-E-Owners really like the idea of working on their business, but not in their business. They are big-picture people that can easily tell you where they see the business in 10 years and know how they are going to get it there. They thrive being at the top of a workflow chart and get excited at the idea of expansion.

The Owner/Operator. Many franchise candidates have a completely different vision in mind. They like the idea of owning a truly small business either by themselves or with just a few employees. For them, the owner/operator model can be a perfect fit. These franchise systems are generally low cost/low overhead because the owner is also the manager, the marketer, the accountant and whatever else the business needs them to be. Some franchise owners refer to this as “buying themselves a job,” but of course, they are also the boss!

Some of these franchise owners will continue this way for the entire time they own the business. Others will begin this way, then look for opportunities to grow their business and take on the CEO role. For franchise candidates without a lot of capital or those who want to be a hands-on owner, this model makes a lot of sense.

The Passion Person. Experts often advise job seekers to figure out what you love to do, then see what opportunities there are in that field. That may apply to franchise business ownership as well. While many franchise candidates are more likely to select a franchise based on how well it matches up with their skill set, others place a high priority on making sure the service or product is something they feel strongly about. Popular fields here include health and wellness, pet care, child wellness services and green businesses.

Any franchise’s product or service could qualify as a candidate’s passion, but in this context, passion brands are generally those that appeal to a candidate’s desire to make a difference or work with what they love, be it products, people or pets.

The Family Business. Most people think of the traditional mom & pop shop when discussing family businesses, but franchises are increasingly appealing to families for several reasons. Many families like the idea of one spouse retaining their job and handling some back-office work while the other manages the daily operation. Other spouses genuinely like the idea of spending their days building a business together but aren’t necessarily confident in their ability to start a business from scratch. In several instances, family-minded franchise owners plan to work their children into the business, first as employees, then managers and finally part-time or full-time owners.

Candidates that find this appealing would be wise to look at franchise brands that feature other franchise owners who operate their unit as a family business in order to learn the benefits and challenges of working with family members. While a lack of other family business owners in the system shouldn’t be a reason not to choose a franchise, it can be a great resource when choosing a franchise business of your own.