Do you have a big idea, dream or passion that you want to turn into a business? Have you always wanted to start your own company, but feel worried about how you’ll grow it in the future? Are you eager to help others realize their dreams? Then franchising may be for you.
According to the International Franchise Association, the total number of franchises in the U.S. stands at about 800,000. They employ 9.1 million people and contribute $552 billion to the GDP. Franchising, in other words, is no small business.
Franchising can help business owners expand quickly without spending an exorbitant amount of time, money and resources in order to scale. Here, six successful entrepreneurs share their stories of why and how they franchised their businesses, and what franchising has done to help them achieve their life purpose.
Galen Welsch, 29, is the cofounder & CEO of Jibu, a social enterprise that provides opportunities for entrepreneurs in underserved, emerging market communities to own businesses – and help solve the water crisis. Jibu has scaled a network of locally-owned, financially independent and self-sustaining franchises that provide safe drinking water to their communities while offering job skills training and employment.
Within two years, Jibu has grown from two pilot shops to 190 franchise locations in three countries: Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Through the combined efforts of franchisees and microfranchisees, Jibu has sold close to 30 million liters of safe drinking water, introduced fortified porridge as a health-improving supplement, attracted 150,000 daily consumers and created 568 jobs.
While living and working in Africa, originally as a member of the Peace Corps, Welsch “became convinced that eye-to-eye partnerships with local entrepreneurs are necessary to solve the world’s pressing issues, such as lack of safe water.” He cofounded Jibu in the belief that a socially-just business model can transform lives, turning scarcity into abundance. Doing this is, Welsch feels, his life purpose.
“Social franchising, with its profit-driven model and ability to quickly scale, coupled with impact goals, is the best way to systemically bring change to communities,” Welsch said. “In developing markets, in particular, franchising provides the structure and tracks to run in but also relies on true local ownership. Typically, microfinancing and other mechanisms do not provide enough of the tools needed for business growth and success, while other traditional NGO interventions do not give true fiscal ownership to locals. By combining the franchise model with asset financing, we are able to provide the balanced ingredients needed for emerging market success.”
To others interested in franchising, Welsch offers this advice, “Have the grit and courage to build the plane as you fly it, and the humility to recognize that success is made up of millions of failures and pivots.”