Industry Q&A with Kathy Stewart, President of Fun4USKids

Provide an overview/ description of your industry.  Include reasons why it’s a great industry to start a business in today.

Our industry is home-based business.  Home based businesses are becoming the fastest growing form of business start-ups. The reasons being cost and flexibility. 

  • No Commute. Since you work out of your home, you don’t have to spend time sitting in a car, on a bus or subway getting to work.
  • Lower Overhead. A home-based business doesn’t require commercial, storefront or office space to operate, which keeps overhead costs down. Owners of home-based businesses are free from cost and responsibilities related to the rental and maintenance of traditional business locations. 
  • Family Time. Operating a home-based can give you more flexibility with child care and more time to spend with your family.
  • Flexible Work Hours. You decide the days and hours you work.  You can adjust your work schedule around family and personal obligations.

How has your industry changed in the last 10 years?  20 years?

The biggest change for home-based is technology.  The Internet and mobile phones allow you to work from anywhere.  Email and messaging, allows you to instantly send and respond to clients.  You can Skype, chat and use online collaboration tools to share files, track projects and send invoices.  20 years ago, none of that was possible. In today’s world, not only is it possible, but it is becoming the norm. 

What trends do you see in your industry over the next 5 years?  Next 10 years?

The biggest trend for home-based businesses is online businesses. You must be able to reach your customers online.

What is the biggest concern about your industry that a franchisee candidate should be aware of and investigate?

The biggest concern for home-based business is that you must be able to find a balance between work and life.  Daily household routine can be a source of distraction for your business. Having a child at home can make it hard to find times to make sales calls.  Many home-based business owners find that it takes a strong commitment, creativity in juggling various roles and tasks, and willingness to work beyond normal working hours to be able to successfully work from home. If you fail to maintain a certain level of discipline, compounded by ineffective time management, it will be hard to accomplish your business goals.

Why do you think your company stands out in the industry?

We make sure that you have the most comprehensive family directory and calendar resource in your market before your website goes live.

What makes your franchise/ business opportunity more attractive than your competitor’s?

The income potential.  Most of our competitors hire you as a publisher which means you pay to work for them as a content manager and you can make a commission on ads sold in your area.  In addition, most of our competitors do not have the number of ad spaces we offer, which limits the number of ads you can sell and the rates you can offer. You get to set your own rates and keep 100% of the revenue from the ads you sell on your site.

Describe the ideal candidate.  Do you think your requirements are any different than your competitor’s? 

Our ideal candidate is a franchise owner who has good communication skills, sales and/or marketing experience, and is committed to growing their business. They need to have time management and organizational skills so that they can schedule and prioritize their work to meet deadlines. They must have a minimum of $20K, live in the market and ready to make a full-time commitment. 

This is different than most of our competitors because you need different skills if you are working for yourself than working for someone else.  In addition, some of our competitors are looking for content writing skills and editing skills because they are expecting you to write content for them.  We are not a blog site and do not expect you to generate original website content.

What’s the strongest skill you require in a candidate?  

The ability to listen.  By listening you gain insight and understanding to the needs of your customer. 

Describe the working environment of your franchisees. Is your environment typical of other companies in your industry?

Most of our franchisees work from home. This is typical of other companies in the industry.

Why has your company been successful?

Because of our training, guidelines, and design, our websites are the most comprehensive, up to date, and user-friendly family directory and calendar websites in their markets. 

What advice would you give someone interested in buying a franchise in your industry?  

Level of support and training are integral to the success of any home-based business.

How much experience in this industry should a franchisee candidate have should they consider buying a franchise in your industry?  

Should have some experience working for themselves; managing a project; or planning events. 

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