Franchising 2017: Why This Will Be a Great Year

The International Franchise Association 2017 Convention is opening in just a few weeks, meaning their annual forecast giving franchising businesses their predictions for the year ahead is about to be released. Normally, I’d wait for their report to spread the good news, but, in 2017, there’s no need for delay.

It’s going to be a good year to be in franchising.

The franchising industry is on a hot streak, having seen growth of more than 2.5 percent for five years in a row, 20 percent higher than for all business. 2017 may be the best year yet.

Here’s why:

The new guys in D.C. are pro-business. Specifically, Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor and Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration. Andy is a “franchise guy,” serving as CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants. He understands the franchise business and what it takes to succeed, and shouldn’t be in any hurry to stand in the way of its growth. Linda McMahon and her husband, Vince, have grown World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) into a $1.5 billion enterprise over the last 30 years. As the former CEO, she knows how to grow small businesses into big ones.

The job market is looking up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings hit an all-time high in 2016 and Money Magazine has predicted a rosy outlook for 2017. An increase in discretionary income and a stronger workforce means more money to be spent in franchise businesses. Should Ms. McMahon make lending at the SBA easier on franchisees, this may be the time for them to look at adding a few units.

The stock market is approaching a major milestone. Business Insider polled 10 Wall Street pros for their predictions for 2017 and none of them predicted that the current Bull Market will end. As more Baby Boomers and older Generation X employees see their portfolios continue to grow, many will find the idea of putting that money to work in a franchise business appealing. Especially if they’re considering a 401K rollover.

Millennials are coming into play, and they want to win as business owners. A recent story in Forbes explored the struggles of Millennials finding contentment in corporate America. They want greater work-life balance, don’t care to be stuck in an office and are teeming with education and ambition. Franchisors would be wise to take a hard look at how to reach this young, hungry market that could make everyone big winners in 2017.

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