Questions and Answers with F-O-R-T-U-N-E Personnel Consultants (FPC)
What sets F-O-R-T-U-N-E Personnel Consultants (FPC) apart from other recruiting franchises?
FPC is a strong, close-knit network of professionals who specialize in niche industry categories to help fill their clients’ critical staffing needs. FPC is a closely held, private company which affords its franchisees a direct line to the CEO for any questions, issues or concerns. At FPC, franchisees are truly part of a “family” that share best practices, business opportunities and celebrate success together. Our motto is “Be large enough to support a national system, but small enough to remain personal, flexible and responsive to our owners’ individual needs.” One other competitive advantage is our Exchange program where offices share candidates and jobs. This allows our recruiters to increase revenue within their own discipline or make placements in areas they don’t cover themselves.
Can you tell us about the business model for an FPC franchise? How do your franchisees make money?
Most FPC offices are owned by former corporate employees from a variety of disciplines including supply chain, engineering, quality or finance and accounting, and for one reason or another, were ready for a change. FPC teaches them how to place the types of professionals that they once were. Franchisees derive income from direct placement of candidates with their client companies. Their fee is generally billed as a percentage of the candidates’ first years’ compensation. FPC offices can benefit from multiple revenue streams including contingent placement, retained services and contract staffing.
What is the current state of the franchise sector within the recruiting category?
There is a lot of opportunity within the recruiting category, specifically with FPC. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that national unemployment stands at 6.1%, but that number is very misleading for people considering the executive search business. FPC generally places mid to senior level management professionals in manufacturing companies nationally. The unemployment rate for those types of workers is nearly half of the national average (3.2%) - FPC National direct hire revenue is up over 10% year-over-year and the biggest challenge is finding good candidates to fill jobs, not finding good jobs to work on.
Can you describe the primary target customer for FPC? How are your franchisees reaching out to this target customer?
FPC recruiters’ Ideal Customer is a senior-level executive within a midsize manufacturing company that understands the importance of talent acquisition and values the relationship with well-connected search consultants. FPC owners and recruiters are trained to work with their clients in two distinct ways…first, when the clients that they maintain relationships with need help filling a specific role, they go out and recruit top-quality, passive candidates on their behalf. FPC recruiters also proactively call on new and existing clients to make them aware of talented professionals in their industry and discipline that may be available. One of the most important aspects of a recruiting franchise is that location does NOT matter. We have successful franchises in several small cities around the country. Also, there are no territorial boundaries that determine where you can or cannot call. In recent years we’ve even seen a large uptick in the amount of international placements we’ve made.
What are the most important things a prospective franchisee or employee should know or be prepared for when entering the recruiting industry?
We’re very upfront with prospective franchisees that this is an owner/operator business that comes with its highs and lows. Most people coming out of corporate America don’t realize how much experience they have that is already very relevant to the recruiting business such as interviewing, hiring, managing multiple stakeholder relationships and negotiating deals. If we had to pinpoint one trait that is consistent throughout our system it would be persistence. Whether it’s trying to find the right candidate to fill a unique role or identifying a hiring manager at a company that you really want to do business with, the drive to succeed and not give up until you reach your goal is critical to your success.
How do you keep ahead of the curve when it comes to competitors?
One of the best moves we made was back in 2007 when FPC established a “model” office that shares office space with the Franchisor in New York City. It’s a fully functioning executive search firm which acts as our “R&D” department. By having a company owned office, FPC is able to test new software, recruiting methods, training techniques and various other operational items. This allows us to present successful, cutting edge ideas as well as steer franchisees away from less useful tools that may be a waste of money and effort. The office also gives us real-time insight into what is happening in the marketplace which helps us to guide our offices accordingly.
Where do you see FPC going in the next five years?
Based on the impending labor shortage, FPC is poised for strong revenue growth from our existing franchise system over the next five years. Additionally, FPC expects to add between 35 and 40 new offices which will put us at 100 + franchised offices by 2019.
Are there any changes you foresee in your industry?
There is no doubt that we are in a dynamic industry and the internet has had a major impact on how we do our business. We saw the value of traditional job boards peak a few years ago and the rise of social media continue to develop. As company’s talent needs continue to grow and corporate recruiting departments are overwhelmed, specialists like FPC recruiters are going to increasingly be counted on to identify unique, passive and sufficiently more qualified candidates. In fact, according to a survey conducted by BullHorn (recruitment software company), of 1337 US based recruitment professionals, 77% met or exceeded their goal in 2013 and 88% feel that 2014 will be even stronger.
What are some common characteristics of your top performing franchisees?
Across the board, the top 5 characteristics of successful franchisees are a strong work ethic, good people skills, coachability, excellent listening skills and a drive to succeed.
What kind of training and support can your franchisees expect to receive?
Throughout our history, training and support has been the single greatest driver of our success and consistency. The initial training class at our corporate headquarters in New York City is two weeks long. During the training, franchisees learn about the intricacies of the recruitment business. They will also learn successful strategies for the day-to-day operations of their new office. In addition, we provide another week of training at their office location. This on-site training includes working with your new consultants, setting goals and establishing a solid foundation on which to grow. Training and support continue throughout our relationship, including frequent phone contact, periodic office visits, regional seminars and an annual owners’ conference for all FPC owners nationwide. FPC is as successful as our franchisees are and we feel strongly about initial and on-going training and support.
What kind of work background or skill set are you looking for in a franchisee?
The majority of FPC owners have generally worked in the corporate world for a number of years. They have held mid- and high-level positions, and been responsible for major business decisions. When contacting FPC, they find themselves at a career crossroads. . They have established a consistent record of success, but may now be tired of the bureaucracy of corporate life, too much travel, the lack of income growth and leadership potential or been a victim of downsizing. They are goal-oriented, possess positive attitudes and strong work ethic. They are also excited about joining a supportive and encouraging network of colleagues.
What are your growth plans for FPC? Which geographic markets are you targeting for expansion?
As stated above, FPC expects to be at 100 + franchised offices by 2019 and those franchises can be located anywhere in the US. As well, we will endeavor to work with all our franchisees to hire recruiters and researchers to grow their businesses.
What type of area development opportunities are available?
Currently there are no area development / master franchise opportunities available.
Is there anything else you wish to share about FPC?
If you feel you are ready to take control of your personal and professional life, enjoy increased income potential, a favorable lifestyle and the equity that comes from owning your own business,then we would be more than happy to talk with you to determine if FPC is right for you.
For more information view the origina article at https://www.franchisehelp.com/blog/questions-and-answers-with-f-o-r-t-u-n-e-personnel-consultants-fpc/
Similar to the concept of “ABC”. Job seekers should always be networking and keep an open mind to alternative career opportunities. 99.5% of FPC owners never thought they would own and operate an executive search firm.
When it comes to securing a job in the current labor market, the adage of "it's all about who you know" especially rings true.
Networking is a big part of securing a job and advancing a career, which is why networking and connecting with other professionals should be happening all the time.
At the end of July, LinkedIn released its new LinkedIn Profile on Mobile, which redesigned the way its mobile app displays users' profiles
Making the change wasn’t easy. In my conversation with the LinkedIn mobile team Tomer Cohen, head of the mobile product team, expressed that your profile “is the heart of LinkedIn and any change would require a lot of care.” Krista Canfield, mobile product PR lead, likened the process to “going to your favorite restaurant and finding out they changed the recipe to your favorite dish.”
Here are some thoughts on how to best use LinkedIn (LNKED) and its new tool to put your best professional foot forward:
Keep Your “Open” Sign On
Never have an incomplete or out-of-date profile on career networking sites. It’s like having a "closed" sign in your window, explains Canfield.
Your profile should showcase your best professional story and what you have to offer. The only way to do this is with a complete, accurate and up-to-date profile. Make sure you regularly review you profile for accuracy, and always update it as your career evolves. Remember, your contacts are notified when you make updates, so it’s a good way to keep your professional network abreast of your progress.
Keep Your “Top of Mind” Relevant
In the modern mobile world, your professional identity is no longer centered solely on your job, but also around what you have to say. Social media has provided us all with an avenue for sharing real-time commentary on anything and everything going on around us. The challenge is being relevant.
LinkedIn focuses on your professional persona, which means your commentary needs to be relevant to the people you are connected with and consistent with your knowledge, experience and professional identity. Make sure your updates are meaningful and showcase your expertise in a way that adds value to your network. Save the pop culture stuff for Facebook.
Keep Your Connections Warm
It’s easy to lose touch, particularly if you have a large network. LinkedIn has several tools designed to help you keep your contacts warm without a lot of effort.
Think of the contacts that show up in your “who’s viewed me” as a signal that these individuals were thinking about you and use it as an opportunity to reach out. Also, use endorsements to keep on the radar of colleagues you have worked with in the past. Just be sure you mean it!
Benchmark Your Trajectory
I’ve always been an advocate of looking to those who have gone before you for advice.
A new way to do this is by checking out the profiles of those who have successfully accomplished what you are seeking to do. Search for those who have put together the kind of career you are pursuing and take a look at how they got there. If their profile is complete, it can give you some real insight into the path that led them to where they are now. And, don’t be afraid to reach out.
Refresh Your Memory on the Go
Before walking into your next meeting or networking event, you may want to hop on LinkedIn Mobile for a quick refresher on the backgrounds of those in attendance. The information you can pull from a mobile profile can be tremendously helpful. Finding that you have a past employer in common or went to the same high school may just give you that leg-up in turning that connection into a meaningful relationship.
Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and the new on-line course The YOU Plan for Career Change on Udemy. Dr. Woody is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership. Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook.
Last month we launched part one of our new eBook, “Your Job Search is a Bare Knuckle Fight. The FPC Recruiters’ Guide to Winning!” In it we shared tough advice about what it takes to get a job in this continuing difficult business climate.
The information in part one was intended to help you organize and implement an effective job search, the way we recruiters do it. And that’s much different than how outplacement services and job coaches tell you to go about it.
If you’ve read part one and taken it to heart, you’re well on your way to lining up some juicy interviews. That’s where part two of the Bare Knuckle Guide comes in. We believe that the interview advice most people get is way too soft and way too generalized.
As recruiters, we’re preparing candidates for interviews every day – and seeing the results of how those people actually handle themselves in the interview situation – for better or worse. We know what lands the job – and what lands you on the mat.
We’ve dug into our experience to share with you real world anecdotes about both successful and unsuccessful interview moves. Some come from interviewees. Some come from hiring managers. Some come from job search industry leaders.
Among many other important lessons, you’ll learn why:
- You must be respectful to every person you meet in the interview process regardless of their position
- The couch in the waiting area is off limits
- Showing off your knowledge of the company can work against you
- Your language must be very, very specific
Part two of the Bare Knuckle Guide also explains why you may need to act as your own recruiter and how to do for free what we do for a fee.
It’s hard enough to line up interviews for promising positions. Especially if you’re listening to and trying to follow the ‘rules’ we tell you about in part one – the ones that don’t work if you want to be employed.
When you finally do get a chance to sit down with a hiring manager at a company you really want to work for, you have to know how to assess whether the opportunity is as good as you think it is – and, if so, how to close the deal. This is particularly important for senior executives who have been out of work for six months or more and are stressing out about how to pay the bills and the kids’ college tuitions.
In writing this eBook, I put my heart into sharing some of the professional techniques that I and my fellow FPC recruiters use to help our job candidates build solid careers. It really kills me to see talented, experienced men and women going through long, painful periods of unemployment – especially when it’s unnecessary.
When we launched part one of the eBook last month, I said that the advice is blunt and that some of the activities won’t feel comfortable at first. But you owe it to yourself to push the limits a bit if it means getting back to work.
If you haven’t read part one yet, there will be opportunities when you download part two to get it. Look for links on the download page and also right within the part two pdf. We tried to have some fun in putting this eBook together with lots of boxing references and vintage images. It helps to smile when things are rough.
Enjoy both parts of the Bare Knuckle guide. Feel free to get in touch to let us know how it’s working for you. And if you start to think that this recruiter stuff might be fun as your next career, you’ll be right. It can also make you a darn good living – especially if you do it as the owner of an FPC Executive Recruiting franchise. It’s an incredible way to leverage your past experience and industry contacts, while taking control of your career at a time when corporate careers are increasingly risky.
Click the button below to get The Bare Knuckle Guide, Part Two.
A while ago I was asked to speak to a group of senior executives about job search and career management. Many of them were unemployed or at risk of becoming unemployed. It really bothered me. Not the fact that I was asked to speak. But the fact that a bunch of unemployed professionals were spending their time getting together to ‘network’ (read: commiserate).
In my parlance, I call that kind of gathering ‘notworking’ – notwithstanding the fact that there would be a speaker – me – who might share some helpful information. I decided to make the time worth their while by sharing some tough love; by telling them some things they needed to know, but probably didn’t want to hear.
What I told them – the title of my presentation – was, “Your Job Search is a Bare Knuckle Fight.” Afterwards, a number of the attendees confirmed what I had suspected, that this was the first time they’d heard the advice I gave them.
What really, really bothered me, and continues to, is that many of these men and women had been unemployed for months or years, had been through outplacement, had worked with coaches, had spoken with recruiters. And yet, this was the first time that someone had told them the truth about what they have to do to get a job in today’s unprecedentedly challenging workplace.
They had been following ‘rules’ that have developed in the digital age about how to use the Internet to get a job. As a recruiter who gets people jobs for a living, these ‘rules’ are just plain wrong. Here are a few:
- Email, don’t call.
- Spend time and money developing a great resume.
- Find positions you think you qualify for and apply online.
In the vast majority of cases this simply won’t work. Anyone who has emailed hundreds of resumes in response to online job postings – and still no job – knows this is true.
Here at FPC, we use a far different approach to connect our clients to the right talent. As part of my job as owner of an FPC executive recruiting franchise office, I train my recruiters in these techniques that earn them quite a good living. As Executive VP of our franchise entity, I train other FPC owners in the recruiting methodology that has worked successfully since the company was founded in 1959 and since we began franchising it in 1973.
Unfortunately, my fellow FPC recruiters and I cannot help many of the job candidates who come to us. It’s a sad irony that, for the most part, our clients in manufacturing and industry hire us to find passive candidates, i.e. those who are currently employed. The longer someone is out of work, the less probability that a recruiter can find them their next job.
So, I decided to flesh out my presentation to the executive group and turn it into an eBook that would not only share the tough realities of today’s job market, but that would empower job seekers to serve as their own recruiters. Today, we’re launching Part One of “Your Job Search is a Bare Knuckle Fight: The FPC Recruiters’ Guide to Winning!”
Bare Knuckle – as we affectionately call it – is pretty blunt, but we also had some fun with the boxing metaphor and hope that you’ll find it a good read, as well as good looking. Enjoy the vintage boxing images and other cool graphics. To further encourage you to download the Bare Knuckle Guide, Part One, here are some of the chapter titles:
- The Internet is killing you!
- Outplacement is often out of place in a bare knuckle job search
- The road to a job usually bypasses HR
- Your job search is a sales job, like it or not
In Part One, you’ll learn why you must accept that these things are true. You’ll also come away with a fight plan that, if you follow it, will get you to interviews with the right people. In Part Two, we’ll teach you how to take advantage of these opportunities and close the deal.
In this initial 27-page eBook, we bring the experience we’ve gotten placing thousands of executives. You bring the guts and get the glory! Get into training for your Bare Knuckle Job Search right now and go from contender to champ when you win that coveted new position!! Click the button below to download Part One of the ebook. We’re in your corner!!
Most visitors to our website and blog, and everyone we meet with who eventually becomes an FPC executive recruiting franchise owner is changing careers. Eighty-five percent of our owners have never before been recruiters. Most have come from the corporate world and industry. Even those who have recruited in the past have worked for a recruiting firm and never owned their own company. Those who have owned businesses have not owned a franchise.
Every one of these career changers went through a circuitous and sometimes tortuous path to find the right next step for themselves. By the time we meet them they’ve usually done quite a lot of exploration. Even so, becoming a recruiter wasn’t necessarily on the radar screen, so we try to help them assess whether our offer will be a good fit for their personal, financial and lifestyle needs.
To that end, we have a real interest in reading what others have to say about making good career choices. Today, we want to share with you an insightful article from On Wall Street that offers some good steps to follow on the path to your new career. After you read the article, please share some of the steps you’ve taken in planning you career in the comments.
If you’re wondering what it’s like to leverage your past experience and contacts in a new career as an FPC franchise owner, please download our popular recorded webinar, “A Great Career Option You May Never Have Considered.” It’s free! Enjoy the article!
A recent article in “Investor’s Business Daily” bore a provocative headline, “Job Security Never Better, But That's Bad News About The Job Market.” You can read the entire article below, but the gist is that according to stats from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in any given month only 2% of the workforce will be downsized out of a job – maybe an all-time low. However, on the other side of that statistic, the chances for the unemployed to be hired again is also at an all-time low 26%.
The article’s author offers an array of reasons for this state of affairs that you may find interesting and with which you may or may not agree. Why we find it compelling goes to the nature of our business, executive recruiting.
Our clients want us to find them the top talent and, unfortunately for those who are long-term unemployed, they prefer that we introduce them to passive candidates, that is, those who are currently employed. In times of job security for the employed, passive candidates are hard to come by. They’re not up on job boards and they’re not responding to positions posted on company websites.
Recruiters in Demand
That being the case, companies use executive recruiters to fill these critical job roles. In times like these our job orders go up. Fortunately, here at FPC, we can work within our network of franchise offices – mostly focused on recruiting for the manufacturing sector – to identify and introduce top talent to our clients even in a tight talent environment. Obviously, this is good for our business.
We identify with the plight of the unemployed, especially executives over age 40. In fact, we’ll soon be sharing our recruiters’ methods to give job searchers an edge in the marketplace when we publish our two-part ebook, Your Job Search is a Bare Knuckle Fight: the FPC Recruiters’ Guide to Winning!
In the meantime, if you’re concerned about being one of the 2% to be downsized next month, download our popular recorded webinar, “A Great Career Opportunity You May Have Never Considered,” and learn more about recruiting, franchising and FPC.
One of the chief reasons that people invest in a franchise business is to benefit from an established brand. On the other hand, many aspiring small business owners are concerned that there won’t be enough opportunity to put their own stamp on a franchise unit.
It’s true that many franchises have a fairly rigid set of operating procedures and don’t allow much in the way of deviation. Others, including FPC, expect you to learn and use their proven system – in our case, for executive recruitment – so that you have the best opportunity to succeed. However they also allow you the leeway to personalize your business. FPC owners can institute their own office policies and individualize other elements of their businesses.
However, regardless of how rigid or flexible the rules, you can make any franchise business your own by building your personal brand. Even though as a franchisee you greet customers or walk into a potential client’s office with the credibility of an established brand behind you, in reality your business is you.
What is a Personal Brand?
Just as in a corporate brand, your personal brand establishes an expectation of value and differentiates or positions you in the marketplace. It embodies your personal qualities and your character, as well as your knowledge and expertise – just as a corporate brand incorporates a specific culture into the creation and delivery of products or services. While a company’s brand may be represented visually by a logo, sometimes a personal brand is symbolized by a physical characteristic – like a big smile -- or a style element – like a bow-tie or a particular type of eyeglasses.
Building your personal brand happens over time. It’s what you become known for. It’s also your own commitment to continuous improvement.
How do you Build a Personal Brand?
There are many ways to build your personal brand. Here are a few that we’ve found productive.
- Establish thought leadership in your industry. This means sharing your expertise and ideas generously. One of the best ways to establish thought leadership today is to write a blog – like we’re doing here. Writing useful content that helps others understand your business, industry and services not only establishes your credibility but can also lead to actual sales. If you’re more comfortable with the spoken than the written word, do a video blog – or vlog – instead.
- Be visible in the social media that your key audiences frequent.
- Have a good professional portrait taken to use as your ‘avatar’ – the image that represents you online. By the blank squares that show up next to so many LinkedIn profiles and social media posts, many people still don’t know how important these are or how to create and launch them. Go to www.gravatar.com to upload your avatar for free and create your gravatar, or Globally Recognized Avatar. This allows your image to follow you around the internet, to come up next to your name when you engage or comment on blogs, websites and social media. Your gravatar can also come up on many smartphones when you call someone who has you in their contacts, constantly reinforcing your image.
- Become known for one particular aspect of your industry that reflects a specific expertise that you’ve developed. Be the go-to guy or gal for that. Create content around that expertise – write an eBook or record a podcast. You can also create an online radio show on a platform like blogtalkradio.com. Interview other experts and authors. This can really boost your visibility and your credibility at the same time.
- If you do have a style element or physical feature that you’re known for, emphasize it. If you’re known for wearing hats, for example, wear one in your avatar photo. You could use that element in a personal Twitter handle - @hatman or @hatlady. Be a bit careful with this aspect of personal brand building, however. It has to be authentic. Don’t all of a sudden start wearing a bowtie or a strand of pearls just to create a style element that’s identified with you. It will seem strange to those who know you already -- your core audience.
- Become active in some industry organization related to your business. Get on a committee, host a webinar, be a speaker on a panel discussion, sponsor an event or program. It will serve you well.
Your franchise business doesn’t have to be ‘cookie cutter’. It can be as unique as you and your personal brand.
If you’ve ever considered – or never considered – exploring a career in executive recruiting, download our free eBook and get an inside look at a typical day as an FPC executive recruiting franchise owner.
Time marches on. That’s a reality. We all have our plans and dreams, our wants and needs. What we don’t have is a crystal ball. Since 2007 – the start of The Great Recession – we’ve gotten used to putting our futures on hold.
At one time we felt that we could see far enough into a relatively stable future that it seemed easier to take a risk. These days, we can feel more like we’re living in a house built in sink-hole territory. You never know when your entire life can be swallowed up by an unpredictable outside force. Events like yesterday’s government shutdown are a case in point. They send our hackles up, send our stomachs sinking and otherwise make us anticipate a fight or flight adrenaline rush of fear.
What to do about fear
We’ve written before on this blog about the role that fear can play in any change. We humans are pre-wired to seek safety and survival. We feel better with what we know. To change anything, we have to overcome what author Steven Pressfield termed ‘the lizard brain.’ That term has been further explained and amplified by the brilliant Seth Godin and deals with ‘the resistance’ we human beings experience when venturing into new territory.
As if new territory weren’t threatening enough on its own, added overtones of uncertainty can have us pulling back from decisions to make changes. But if we’re pursuing the right opportunity, pulling back can jeopardize our chance at success for all time. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that the right business move will succeed regardless of the economic environment.
Companies that started in tough times
Here are some examples that may surprise you of companies that were founded in the midst of economic turmoil – some of it worse than what we’ve experienced over the past five years.
- General Electric, 1890 – Global recession, crash of the US economy, run on the gold supply
- IBM, 1896 – Prolonged economic slump
- General Motors, 1908 – Aftermath of another U.S. financial crash
- Walt Disney Productions, 1929 – In the middle of the Great Depression
- Burger King, 1953 – Inflationary conditions, post-Korean War
- Microsoft, 1975 – Stagflation, OPEC oil crisis
- CNN, 1980 – Double Dip Recession, Fed raised interest rates to stave off inflation
- Apple, 2001 – Re-launched in aftermath of dot-com bubble burst
- FPC of Valdosta, 2008 – Just as the Great Recession struck
The last example is probably more relevant to most people’s aspirations – to start their own small business. Though actually, that’s probably the spirit in which the corporate giants we mentioned started – several of them in garages. But, someone taking a chance and opening a recruiting franchise at a moment in the recent past when most people would have put any such decision on hold indefinitely is probably more relatable.
We wrote about FPC of Valdosta and its owner, Kris Jensen, in our series of posts offering business wisdom from a diverse group of FPC owners. You can read more about how he built success in tough times.
Advantages of starting your business in tough times
The point of this post, though, is to inspire you to believe that if a career change you’re contemplating feels right and stands to improve your work and personal life, you can succeed regardless of the economic climate of the moment. You may have to work harder than you would have during better times. But you may also find opportunities that others will miss because they’ve given in to fear or given up completely.
People who start new careers in tough times are not impeded by negative comparisons. They don’t know what it was like to run their business in a boom. They only have the current moment to contend with. These folks come across in the marketplace as confident and positive and tend to do well with customers who appreciate a more hopeful approach from a service provider.
So the takeaway is, don’t stop exploring for the next right career move for you – whether it’s a job or an entrepreneurial pursuit. If you get excited thinking about it, if it makes good use of your skills and experience, if it has the potential to provide future security for you and your family – and especially if it represents the fulfillment of a life-long dream – go for it. Take it from Thomas Watson, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Ted Turner, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
If you’re curious about what a typical day in FPC of Valdosta’s Kris Jensen’s life is like, you can find out by downloading our free eBook, “A Day in the Life of an FPC Executive Recruiting Franchise Owner.” Maybe it’s the right thing for you, too!
The answer to the question we’re posing in this post is, “It depends.” We’re not saying this to avoid a direct answer, but because it’s true. Entrepreneurs are often thought of as Type ‘A’ personalities who have to be on the go and in control, but would that disqualify them as successful franchise owners?
To begin with, let’s look at a definition of ‘entrepreneur’. Entrepreneur Magazine – which should know – defines an entrepreneur as: “One who starts or assumes control of a business or other independent enterprise, often employing innovation and more than an ordinary degree of risk.”
The magazine goes on to say that, although the terms ‘small business owner’ and ‘entrepreneur’ are often used interchangeably, they really aren’t the same. The writer points out that the willingness of the entrepreneur to assume substantial risk is the key differentiator between the two.
Considering that most budding business owners who choose the franchise model do so to reduce risk by following a proven process and adopting a recognized brand, it doesn’t appear that the typical ‘entrepreneur type’ would be happy going that route.
Indeed, running successful franchises requires following the tried and true, regardless of the specific business category. Any self-described entrepreneur who can’t stomach that reality would be better off developing a business concept from scratch and maybe becoming a franchisor instead of a franchisee.
However, having said that, there’s also plenty in owning a franchise that can appeal to and satisfy entrepreneurial qualities.
A recent article for Entrepreneur by Stephen Key discussed what the author has identified as, “5 Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs” based on his decades of experience mentoring this group. He lists them as follows:
- An unwavering passion
- The desire to be an expert
- A forward-looking approach
- A constant flow of ideas
When we read this article, it struck us that there’s not one of these qualities that our FPC owners don’t possess in running their successful franchises. Let’s look at them one by one. While we’re using FPC executive recruiting franchise owners as examples, we’d bet that the same applies to many franchisees in other industries.
- An unwavering passion. I, personally, describe myself often as passionate about executive recruiting and the benefits it provides to the companies and job candidates we work with – not to mention our employees and everyone’s families. Many of my FPC colleagues also express their passion for what we do. As owners, our passion helps us to focus on what it takes to succeed through the ups and downs of running a business.
- Open-mindedness. According to Stephen Key, successful entrepreneurs don’t presume to have all the answers and are not rigid about their visions. Even though we may be following a process that we didn’t invent, we franchise owners all have a vision of where we want to take our businesses and how we want them to contribute to our lives and legacies. Fortunately, we operate in a system of peers and franchise management that fosters learning and provides constant and continuing input to help us fine-tune our operations.
- The desire to be an expert. Key says that successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of developing industry expertise and leveraging it from venture to venture. You can bet that even though Amazon.com and The Washington Post don’t seem to have much in common, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos based his recent purchase of the Post on his expertise in digital content assets and marketing. Our FPC owners succeed because most of them are recruiting in the industries they used to work in and know inside out. Coming into franchise ownership as content experts gives them instant credibility in their new roles.
- A forward-looking approach. It’s easy to get into a business rut – especially when things are running smoothly. The owners operating the most successful franchises know that, by definition, the status quo is meant to be disrupted. They look ahead and plan for changes and challenges. They’re strategic goal setters. The FPC national office happens to be a great role model in the looking forward department. It’s currently celebrating 40 years of franchising the FPC recruiting process. This success has been largely due to keeping an eye on economic and industry trends and thinking beyond conventional wisdom to meet and overcome challenges.
- A constant flow of ideas. An often-discussed quality of entrepreneurs is that they are always looking for what’s next. For all of our FPC owners, buying their franchises has been what’s next for them. Most of them came from successful corporate careers. Many of them have never stopped thinking about and exploring how to build on, rather than rest on their laurels. Some have opened up new offices. Some have branched into recruitment for related industries. Some have brought other family members into the business. Some have created partnerships to expand services.
Going back to the definition of ‘entrepreneur’ that we shared at the beginning of the post, it’s good to know that even though entrepreneurs who buy franchises may have to temper their love of risk, they don’t necessarily have to give up on their desire to innovate.
Many franchise systems, including FPC, have peer advisory boards where owners get to share their ideas for improving the system and to contribute input to management initiatives. There are also franchises, again including FPC, that offer owners considerable freedom in running their offices.
The takeaway is that if you’re an entrepreneurial type considering whether a franchise is right for you, consider whether you can be happy channeling your qualities into the functions involved in franchise success. Which of your qualities do you wonder whether you could put to good use in a franchise environment?
To learn how your time would be spent on a typical day as an FPC owner, download our free eBook, “A Day in the Life of an FPC Franchise Owner.”
If you’re considering franchise ownership as a career option, you’re probably looking through directories of franchise businesses to identify potential opportunities. You’ll notice that many franchises tout themselves as ‘the fastest growing’. What does that really mean? And is it important to your success that you choose a fast-growing franchise?
In this post, we offer you our perspective as a ‘careful growth’ franchise system. We’re sharing this information not as a sales pitch – we award only a limited number of franchises each year -- but to give you some things to think about that you might not otherwise consider as you evaluate franchise opportunities. First, we’ll offer a third-party perspective.
What the Survivors Share
Recently, well-known corporate and franchise attorney Ted Pearce wrote a must-read article for BlueMauMau.com, a straight-shooting information portal for franchisees (and potential franchisees). It’s titled, “Survival of the fittest: Why do some franchise systems succeed, others fail?”
In the article, Pearce said: “Franchise concepts come in all shapes and sizes. But systems that are “survivors” have common characteristics that set them apart from the rest. Among these are strong management with a strategic long-term view, a culture that is collaborative but still controlled by the franchisor, and an emphasis on system standards and training. In short, whether a franchise system is likely to last depends in large measure on how well it is operated.”
We’ve been in business since 1959 and franchising since 1973. But you’ll never find F-O-R-T-U-N-E Franchise Corp and its FPC brand (F-O-R-T-U-N-E Personnel Consultants) listed as the fastest growing executive recruiting franchise. Our deliberate, strategic choice has been to award franchises on the long term mutual merits, rather than as part of a short term sales goal.
The Thinking behind the Strategy
The market position we’ve always adhered to is to be the right size: large enough to have brand impact in our business arena; small enough to provide our franchise network the strong support that they need for success. We never want to overload our capabilities to run a strong system.
Here’s why we made this choice:
- Because we could. We’re a privately held, family-owned business and not beholden to investors clamoring for quarter-to-quarter franchise sales results. It’s important to know what drives business decision making in any franchise system you’re evaluating. Depending on the franchise concept, you might do better with a larger or publicly-held enterprise, but at least factor in how, if at all, the ownership entity could influence your success.
- Because we’re an executive recruiting company first, and a franchise company second. Our recruiting approach was successful for 14 years before we ever began franchising it. We understand recruiting inside out – as well as what it takes to succeed. This has made us successful as franchisors -- from vetting potential franchisees to developing the strongest owner and recruiter training in our industry. By the way, we’d rather hang our hat on having the best training than the fastest growth any day of the week. Determine whether the franchise company has real expertise in the business you’re buying – or whether they’re just great marketers of a concept.
- Because we’re good enough business people to understand that our financial success will not come from up-front franchise fees, but from the long term success of our owners. In fact, we pretty much plow FFC franchise fees back into owner training and support. In essence, we invest in our owners as they invest in us. As an example of how this long term view succeeds, one of our owners is well into his second twenty-year franchise agreement. This speaks for itself.
Assessing Culture and Control
We agree with Mr. Pearce that a collaborative culture is essential to a strong franchise system. Our FPC owners are represented on a peer advisory board. They report from the front lines of our industry, provide feedback on corporate initiatives, share ideas for improving the system and otherwise offer the owner perspective. We factor their input into planning and decision-making. We can more readily address system issues with this strong communication. Before investing in a franchise system, find out whether you’ll have a voice in decisions that will impact your success.
In addition, be sure that you’re comfortable with the level of control a franchise company will have over how you operate your business. We have standards of operation, ethics and brand management that we require of our owners. However, they are free to set up and run their offices as they see fit. They can establish their own office culture and policies. We have found that this works very well for recruiting offices. Again, just be sure to understand whether standards established by the franchise company are for your benefit or theirs – and whether you personally prefer greater or lesser control from the corporate office.
There for You – Thick or Thin
Whether it’s training or marketing support, a strong system has to be there for its owners through thick and thin. We speak with many of our owners daily, regardless of how long they’ve been in the system. They ask us about all aspects of their businesses. We help them hire, we train their recruiters, we help them in the moment when they’re negotiating a placement. We help them generate and share leads through our Intranet and system-wide recruitment network. If we perceive that they’re struggling or if they need help with expansion plans, we’ll jump on a plane and spend time with them on-site.
The system is the most important aspect of our business. When the Great Recession struck we put every bit of attention into helping our owners get through it, to sustain the system for everyone’s benefit. We put franchise sales on the back burner as a result. We’ve now returned to our careful growth plan, confident that it will serve our system well for another 40 years.
Depending on your interests, it may be that a hot, fast-growing franchise is just the right thing for you. But it’s good to keep in mind that there other factors to consider in evaluating franchise businesses and choosing a solid franchise system. What have you been considering in vetting franchise opportunities?
If we stirred up some interest in what exactly our FPC recruiting franchise offices are all about, download our popular recorded webinar, "A Great Career Opportunity You May Never Have considered."