In early November, I had the pleasure of participating in the “Minorities in Franchising,” panel at the annual MFV West Coast Franchise Show, sponsored by the International Franchise Associations (IFA). This expo is one of four that the IFA sponsors annually throughout the country in New York, Illinois, Florida, and California. These events attract thousands of entrepreneurs and future business owners where they can meet face-to-face with over 200 proven franchise opportunities, full-time and part-time, in every industry, at every investment level. In addition to franchise opportunities, there are vendors that support the franchise industry including funding, marketing, and advertising.
The panel featured a comprehensive representation from the world of franchising. Tafa Jefferson, founder and CEO of Amada Senior Care franchise, Andre Kay, CEO of Sociallybuzz Inc, Wendy Skemer, Senior Consultant, Benetrends Financial, and me.
I kicked off the session with the basics of franchising, highlighting why franchising has seen such a high increase in minority ownership over the past few years and how we can get past our fears of becoming our own bosses. Jefferson inspired the audience by sharing how he started Amada Senior Care, the decision to franchise, and how they grew it into a multimillion-dollar business, with over 100 units sold in just six years. Skemer imparted her years of experience in business funding, going through the various funding programs accessible to aspiring business owners, to include SBA, 401(K), and unsecured lines of credit. Closing out the session, Kay gave participants valuable insights on marketing habits of highly profitable franchises.
It’s hard to believe that this is the first year this type of seminar has been done at the Expo shows. But as more and more minorities jump into franchise ownership, the industry will no longer be able to ignore what a big part people of color play in small business ownership.
There is a big need for targeted educational forums such as this, and the goal is to make them available to everyone who has interest.
I asked Kay, the originator of the seminar, what his goal was for the program. “To help African Americans learn how to build wealth through franchise ownership, fulfill a need for education about franchise ownership to our community, and to provide exposure to African Americans that are successful in the world of franchising.”
As 2018 comes to an end, this is the perfect time to start planning for events you’d like to attend in 2019 that will help you on your journey to entrepreneurship. There’s lots of educational opportunities locally and nationwide that you can take advantage of, so don’t go another year being unhappy about working for someone else— take the leap! To get you started, register for free passes to the “Learn How to Start or Grow a Franchise Business,” seminar being held at the Franchise Expo South show in Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 26, 2019.