Alternative Career Counseling
The challenges people 40 and older are facing in this new economy are relentlessly different than those faced in previous recessions. Perhaps we can help.
© Copyright 2009, 2013 by AllWright Franchise Consulting, Inc., Surprise, AZ. All Rights Reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission in writing from AllWright Franchise Consulting, Inc.
Alternative Career Counseling •
You’re 45. You worked with the same company for 25 years. This latest recession has hit the company VERY hard – and you (and 1000 others) were let go. You have top-notch project management skills, and sales skills – and you’ve always received consistently strong performance ratings. Yet the phone is awfully silent. And the recruiters seem to be dodging you. Your severance package is only for 6 months, and you have 2 months to go. You’re nervous. What do you do?
You’re 61. You’ve been a financial manager for the past 10 years. The financial market is a mess and your age isn’t exactly warming up the job market. Yet you’re not prepared to retire. What do you do?
You’re 57….two kids in college still. You’ve been in the automotive industry for your entire life – and you’re not sure your company is even going to be in business six months from now. What do you do?
We’re hearing a lot of stories like this lately. And while we CERTAINLY don’t have “all the answers” we would at least like to offer up to you some new thinking for your consideration – and perhaps some new hard facts – that might help you answer this nagging question. Let’s start with what the leading media sources were saying near the beginning of the recession:
Many of the jobs that have been cut in this recession are NOT going to be replaced in the new economy. So the layoffs are not temporary. According to the NY Times article, “Job Losses Hint at Vast Remaking of Economy,” March 6, 2009: o
“These jobs aren’t coming back,” said John E. Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia in Charlotte, N.C. “A lot of production either isn’t going to happen at all, or it’s going to happen somewhere other than the United States. There are going to be fewer stores, fewer factories, fewer financial services operations. Firms are making strategic decisions that they don’t want to be in their businesses.”
This dynamic has proved true in past recessions as well, with fading industries pushed to the brink during downturns before others emerged to create jobs when economic growth inevitably resumed. But with job losses so enormous over such a short period of time, some economists argue that the latest crisis challenges the traditional American response to hard times.
So, if Mr. Silvia is right, and jobs aren’t going to be replaced -- until perhaps new industries and companies are formed that revitalize the economy, or government “stimulus” packages begin to take hold – you could be wasting your time even searching for a job. Ask yourself: Do you have TIME to wait for new businesses, like new “green” industries to form? Or do you need to find other options NOW? Here is what another economic guru is saying, only this year, 2013: o
"The long-term impacts (of unemployment) are going to be severe," says Reid Cramer, director of the Asset Building Program at the New America Foundation. "I'm very concerned about people's ability to stabilize their household balance sheets and rebuild their wealth."
So is your choice to get a new job and replace the money? Well, not so fast. The new position is likely be the workplace equivalent of a comeback vehicle for an over-the-hill Hollywood star. Think of countless Hollywood stars, taking roles on shows like Celebrity Apprentice, after once having been heralded in their field. People are taking anything they can to survive. Ask yourself: Is this what you want? And what are the most recent Bureau of Labor statistics saying?1 Are they still confirming what the NY Times article was implying at the start of the recession?
“Nearly 1 in 3 Unemployed Out of Work More Than a Year - Real Time Economics,” Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2011 2|Page
Some discouraged workers are re-entering the job market, causing the unemployment rate to rise, but the number of long-term unemployed keeps climbing, highlighting the deep hole caused by the recession.
Even as some people are re-entering the work force, some of the extremely long-term unemployed may be giving up. The number of people unemployed for more than a year dropped a bit last month to 4.006 million from 4.076 million. They now represent 32.6% of the unemployed.
With nearly a third of the unemployed out of work for over a year, it makes their reintegration back into the labor market more and more difficult. People out of a job that long tend to lose skills and experience longterm effects on their lifetime earning power.
OK. This data seems to confirm that the “quick fix” isn’t coming in any time soon. But can ANYONE say WHEN things might improve? Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball. But most sources are saying the 2013-2104 job market will continue to be a relatively lost cause for many fields. So, ask yourself: what do you do?
For starters, STOP putting yourself through this anxiety!
You have FAR more options than you
may think. Starting with admitting that you could use some help. from whom?
The million dollar question is, however,
You can run to the bookstore and buy books on making a career change – or you can sign up for courses on “making change happen” at your local community college – or you can call HR counselors and outplacement firms and pay them to guide you. And these MIGHT help you. But the problem is, all of those resources are developed with the idea of just “guiding you to another job.” And if there are no jobs to go to – what good are they? We would like to suggest to you that it is REALLY time to “think out of the box.” We would like to introduce you to The YOU Network.
What is The YOU Network? •
The YOU Network is a consortium of senior level franchise executives who function half as “alternative career counselors” and half as “franchise consultants/recruiters.” For many years, they tended only to consult individuals that expressed an interest in franchise ownership. They would assess a potential buyer’s skills, interests and needs in franchise ownership, they would introduce them to pre-screened quality franchise companies, and then they would work at each individual’s side (as their advocate and counselor) as they evaluated their franchise companies. The idea being to help that buyer “navigate the waters of franchising” as easily as possible – so as to avoid making costly errors.
In today’s world, their expertise in helping you evaluate your skills – and helping you determine what businesses those skills might be appropriate in – are priceless to you.
Simply put, these “alternative career counselors” might just be the only resources you will find that truly understand what options you have in the world of business ownership – and as a result, open new doors that you might consider for your future. EVERY senior consultant in The YOU Network, for example, has owned their own business, and has had experience across multiple franchise business models – so they know first-hand what it takes for an individual to succeed in business ownership.
And best of all – their services are complimentary. As in, FREE to you. Which, in this economy, certainly means something. They are top professionals and they are paid, of course – just not by you. Because they help pre-qualify individuals for their franchisor clients – finding only the best and most 3|Page
qualified individuals to purchase, own and operate a franchise – they are paid by their franchisor clients. YOU benefit from their in-depth assessment of your skills and ability to become involved in franchise ownership – and if you decide to purchase a franchise, great! If not, you and your The YOU Network consultant shake hands and part company -- and you still have learned a lot more about yourself that might help you in future career choices.
Why does anyone need a franchise consultant? •
The usual rhetoric is “because the pre-screening and assessment work consultants provide saves individuals from making mistakes” and “when it comes to franchising, you ‘don’t know what you don’t know’ – and therefore need someone to HELP you know.” And there is nothing wrong with these answers – they are accurate. But they don’t quite “hit the target.”
The real answer is that franchising is all about people – and unless an individual has the right kind of access to people, where they can learn who they are, and what they are all about – then they, quite simply, don’t have the ability to find out what they need -- and want -- to know. The franchise industry, like all industries, has its small percentage of “less successful companies” who will try to sell individuals a franchise – despite the fact they are not remotely qualified to operate it. Or those who will let someone believe they can make a far greater return on your investment than what is normally feasible. And from a potential owner’s perspective, any serious investor wants to be able to tell “the good guys from the bad guys” so that their hard-earned savings are well invested. They avoid these unnecessary risks when they use The YOU Network.
And, finally, prospective owners need to understand that the first rule of franchising is that “the organization is only as successful as its franchisees.” Therefore, the better companies are quite selective in finding owners. They are assessing candidates while candidates are assessing them. They even call it a “mutual due diligence” process. A TYN consultant “prepares” individuals for each meeting they have with a franchisor, so that they are far more likely to be in the position of being awarded an opportunity to purchase the franchise, should they choose to go in this direction.
What Kind of Career Counseling Could You Expect To Receive? •
In a first phone meeting with a TYN consultant is going to spend about 10-15 minutes with you, explaining how the alternative career counseling service works. The meeting is purposely long, as you want to have a full understanding as to what the service can provide you – and what would be expected from you in return, (e.g., timely appointments, notification if you change your mind, and approximately 20-40 hours of your time over a course of 8-12 weeks.)
If you decide to engage in the counseling process, you are asked to fill out a profile form – that provides the consultant with preliminary background on you – your career history, your skills, your weaknesses, your aspirations, your hobbies, etc. In addition, you are asked to fill out a survey called Franchise Navigator™ – a market-validated study that gauges and then compares your personal values and behaviors to thousands of existing franchise owners.
The consultant conducts an extensive phone consultation session with you – to understand your comments on the profile form as well as to probe your skills in many areas. Some of the goals of this conversation, for example, will be: o o
to assess your affinity for and capabilities toward alternative types of sales – from “selling oneself,” to cold calling, to networking, to increasing volume with an existing client, to a consultative sale, to high level negotiations to document your strengths and weaknesses – in a business environment 4|Page
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to isolate your primary work skills and expertise from your secondary work skills and expertise – and determine what might need to occur to boost or utilize these secondary traits, if needed to gain a sense of your interview skills and other verbal skills to gauge your ability to work with others, to manage teams, to motivate to understand your wishes, dreams, aspirations with regard to their career – those that have been fulfilled and those not fulfilled to understand your financial goals – and their influence on your career to date to understand your support network – and extent to which it helps/doesn’t help your career to understand your preferences toward lifestyle and work environment –and the role each of these play on your ability to succeed to discuss how Franchise Navigator™ findings might influence your ability to succeed in franchise business ownership
When your consultant has completed this session, they will develop criteria for a business model that would be appropriate for you. They discuss this criteria with you – and for many, it is an “eye-opening” experience. They are able to “tap into” YOU and help you understand how your capabilities lend themselves to numerous types of businesses.
The consultant will then go to work and find franchise companies from their pre-screened group of clients – that match your personal criteria. They will share with you the companies that they believe are appropriate for your needs – and then introduce you to these companies so that both parties can “learn about each other.”
Following this introduction, a representative from each of these selected franchise companies will then set up a series of meetings, for 3-4 weeks, with you to help you understand their business, to review their FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document, a legal document that discloses details about a particular franchise) with you, and to arrange for you to do “validation calls” with other owners in which you can learn first-hand what it might like to be an owner.
Before each of these meetings, your TYN consultant will “arm” you with questions to ask so that your learning is optimized. They will help you understand “what it is you need to learn”– and how to get the information. They then stay at your side as your advocate/counsel and meet with you by phone each week to keep you focused and informed while you are evaluating franchises.
As stated earlier, if you determine you want to purchase a franchise – great! If not, you and your consultant will shake hands – and you will walk away knowing a great deal more about yourself – and your potential in other business worlds than those you may have experienced to date.
Here are some examples you might find of interest: •
Let’s look at Susan, 53, a career customer service manager. She entered this process, thinking her only career route was “another customer service manager job” with some company. Her TYN consultant listened hard to what she had accomplished in her life, and helped her understand that her customer service experience was far more sophisticated than most customer service roles – and that hers was more akin to a consultative sales position. (She had spent years, keeping her clients satisfied with her company’s services – and convincing them to double, even triple, the amount of business they did with her.) By seeing her experience in a different light, it opened doors to new options. Her consultant introduced her to companies where her role as an owner WAS EXACTLY THE SAME as her role as a customer service manager – meeting with customers, ensuring a strong customer experience, making them aware of new products and services, reviewing their problems and providing solutions, and so on. She is now the owner of a business-to-business franchise – and loving it!
Dan, 55, had been a general manager of an auto dealership for 25 years. Given the horrible state of the auto industry, he knew it was just a matter of time before he would be “let go.” Like Susan, he entered the process with a narrow focus on his opportunities -- thinking he should find a franchise in the automotive industry. Using Franchise Navigator™, Dan’s TYN consultant helped him understand that his values and behaviors ranked him among the top 5% of all franchise owners surveyed – which was just the start in helping him understand his skills were FAR broader than he had realized. Dan now is a multi-unit owner of a highly successful specialty retail chain.
Bill was a financial analyst in a large U.S. mutual funds company. He explained that he had “crunched numbers,” and then “crunched more numbers,” and then “re-crunched them again, until they were what his managers wanted to see.” All joking aside, his TYN consultant learned that Bill had, in his free time, coached youth leagues – and absolutely LOVED doing this. Said he “felt like he came alive” when he got onto the field with the kids. Needless to say, his TYN consultant found a business for Bill that specializes in helping both youths and adults -- develop better physical skills.
Matt was a strategic planner for a Fortune 500 real estate company. He went through the whole process – was introduced to multiple franchise companies and investigated them – and eventually decided to open up his own company, providing general management counsel to small to mid-sized companies. But he had great things to say about working with his TYN consultant: o
My consultant NAILED ME in his assessment of my needs and aspirations. He told me I had a VERY strong need for variety in my work – and that we would need to concentrate on finding businesses that would fuel my brain. And he introduced me to some fine companies – many of which certainly could have kept my interest and been right for me. But my consultant also explained to me that my “following the process” provided by any franchise would be critical to my success. I just knew that I would have problems doing this – try as I may, I’m just not good at following directions – I’m WAY too independent and “don’t play well with others, as they say.” So, I decided to go my own way. But having experienced this in-depth counseling from The YOU Network, I had the confidence that I had made the right choice for me at this point in my life.
These are all stories where individuals – who thought they had nowhere to turn, career-wise – found new futures in franchising. They were able to get there – because of the career counseling skills of their The YOU Network consultant. For thousands of individuals, franchising has provided the environment and culture they have been seeking, without their knowing it, for years – PLUS an ability to build equity and personal freedom. The YOU Network process is simply designed to help candidates determine if they are one of those individuals.
A final reminder:
This service is free to candidates. The candidates are under no obligation to purchase anything at any point in the process. Franchising requires “finding strong potential owners” – and the better franchise companies are quite willing to work with consultants like The YOU Network, as the consultants invest a great deal of time in focusing potential owners on the right opportunities – before the franchise companies even meet them. Both sides benefit from the work that consultants provide – and the process they employ simply provides a very professional foundation from which both buyers and sellers “can get to know each other” appropriately – and make informed decisions.