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The franchise landscape is changing as entrepreneurs become younger and more diverse than ever before — a shift that can be attributed in part to the ongoing “big layoff.” During the pandemic, women left the workforce in droves to care for their children as schools closed and virtual learning was required. Many professionals also felt they had no control over their situation as layoffs soared and government restrictions came into effect. As women decide on their next steps, she and many other professionals use this as an opportunity to transition into a more flexible, rewarding career that gives them greater control over their future.
A recent Wall Street Journal article highlights the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that more than 47 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021 and says workers — especially, but not just young people — have begun to quit their jobs in hopes of better terms or opportunities. Franchise ownership is one of those better opportunities for this younger generation.
This has become clear in recent years, as Brandon Gaille 2017 research shows that most franchisees were between the ages of 45-54, and recent data from Zippia.com shows that the median age has fallen to 44 years.
Over the past five years at Kiddie Academy Educational Childcare, franchise inquiries have changed from owners who were in the later stages of their careers to those who transitioned to franchise ownership mid-career. The average Kiddie Academy owner question now is from people in their late 30s to early 40s. We’ve also seen an increasing number of inquiries from professionals with backgrounds in healthcare, event planning, technology, education, and more, who are looking for an opportunity to become their own boss. It is a paradigm shift that is transforming the franchise business model and how we should attract a new franchisee demographic.
Related: Why Millennials Make Great Franchisees — And How To Recruit Them
Millennials’ Values Draw Them to the Franchise Industry
Franchise Insights says millennials are leading baby boomers in seeking franchise ownership opportunities, only second to Generation X. That’s why franchise organizations need to find ways to attract a younger audience by focusing on ideals and benefits that matter are for this group. And as a result of the pandemic and The Great Resignation, more families in this age bracket are seeking the opportunity to have flexible incomes and combine family life with work life.
Less than five years ago, many childcare franchisees were trying to make the switch from their corporate careers and started planning what their retirement might look like. Now people in the early stages of their careers with young children, who want flexibility and a way to make a difference are at the top of the questions.
Franchising is a great way to localize a big brand, leveraging the resources of a network of companies to make a local impact. According to GallupMillennials are also looking for ways to make an impact on their communities, so the franchise model provides the perfect means to make a difference. At our franchise, we have found it important to attract this generation of franchisees with benefits that support these ambitions. Our Community Fund is an example of this, where teachers and employees of Academy franchise locations receive financial support in times of need through grants.
Related: How Franchisees Can (and Should) Attract Millennials and Gen Z Franchisees
We need to transform the franchise business model for millennials
At the corporate level, franchise organizations need to take a close look at their policies and values and use insights about millennials to shift support toward those priorities. Focusing on the flex benefits of franchising coupled with advanced technology, the opportunity for entrepreneurship and a strong income at a young age are all things that can combine to create a desirable opportunity for millennials.
Emphasize the impact the company has on the community. Use technology and design to make the business what consumers want with apps, two-way communication tools, and more. Meet millennials where they are online in places like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. Help them connect with people who can support their vision. Combine all these elements together and the franchise model will be more attractive than ever for the latest group of emerging franchisees.
As The Great Resignation continues to change the professional landscape, the franchise industry must be ready to receive and grow a new and diverse demographic leader. When franchisors can position their businesses to appeal to the wants and needs of millennials, such as work-life balance, community impact, and strong employee benefits, they can take advantage of this new generation of franchisees.