The latest place to network or interact with others for business is online. Here’s an alphabetical list of business-related forums, online communities and social networking websites:
Biznik “The business networking community where collaboration beats competition.” The tagline is “business networking that doesn’t suck.” Their approach is aimed more at entrepreneurs and business owners than employees looking for a job. Has different communities for major cities in the U.S. http://www.biznik.com/
Cofoundr is a private community for entrepreneurs. It “helps members find co-founders, as well as to build teams and network with other entrepreneurs.” http://www.cofoundr.com/
Ecademy “a social network for business people founded in 1998 now with over 150,000 member profiles worldwide. It is unique as business people connect both online on the web site and offline at events and 1-2-1 meetings.” http://www.ecademy.com/
When I left my position at the med school at the university to open a franchise, it was a pretty scary move. However, I was at an age where I probably would stay at the university the rest of my career if I didn’t move on.
Though my 10 years of consulting at SCORE, I have met many people in this same situation. There is a fear of the unknown, but a tedium that being at the top or in a capped career brings. That is why I am a big fan of franchising. It is an opportunity to have your own business without having a strong business background. It is the franchisor’s requirement to bring structure, branding and marketing to the table for the new franchisee. The given phrase is to “be in business for yourself, but not by yourself.” Unfortunately, many people believe franchising is an automatic road to success. Not true. As much research needs to be done when selecting a franchise as when purchasing a new business or starting one from scratch.
Franchisors are required to provide you with a strong operational manual, a policy and procedural manual and a Franchise Disclosure Document. (FDD). This FDD has 23 components that define what the franchisor expects of you and what you can expect from them. It is a regulated document and binding in the same way a lease would be binding so it requires complete understanding. The FDD is required to list all the existing franchisees so it is your responsibility to contact these owners to determine if the franchise is right for you. There are many steps to research in finding the correct franchise, but I don’t know what questions you have or which of the 80 different industries in franchising interest you. Or – are you just plain scared to make that big move into a small business. That is where SCORE kicks in. Call us or ask me.
I’m just a keyboard away or a SCORE counselor is just a phone call away. Let us hear your concerns.