Jeff Levy on Identifying the Right Business Opportunity

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Video Transcription


Jeff Levy:

Hi I’m Jeff Levy. I’m a coach with the entrepreneur source and what I do is spend my time with people that are in career transition or are trying to do something different with their life. I believe very strongly that everyone should have a chance to have the self-reliance that comes with being in your own business. I’m fortunate enough to have been on that journey. For most of my life, I started out in the corporate environment out of college and realized that that was just not a good environment for me. So in my early 30s, I decided to be an entrepreneur. And since then have helped start five businesses myself. In principle, I’ve helped people start over 200 new franchises and I spend a lot of time in the community working on helping educate individuals so they have a better chance of being successful in their own business.

Of course in the franchise community there’s a bit of a mismatch and there’s approximately 4,000 franchises and maybe sometimes just to make it 150 plus many people looking for franchises, so that the broker guy is actually is a middle person that helps make a connection for that person seeking a franchise. And so the best way to work with him obviously is to find reference or referral. Find who are the better brokers, who are the ones operating in your market. Sit down and talk with them. And if you find the right broker, they’re going to really do a deep dive with you in terms of what are your interests? What are your goals? What are your skills? They may offer some evaluation exercises to do some personality assessments. And so just like if you’re choosing an accountant or choosing an attorney, you want to use the same kind of effort to choose a good solid business broker because they can really help you significantly into navigating this complex journey between being in your own business or working for someone to be your business.

So if you think about how do you create long term economic security. It’s not a traditional job path as it might have been years ago. I’ve been coaching for 15 years and interviewed over 800 people and helped about 280 people start businesses. The problem that we often run across in coaching is that people are looking for the right business immediately. In other word, they will see it, they will know it, they will love it, their business will be perfect. That’s not the way it works. I think the way it works is that you find a business and you make it perfect for yourself. And that is an exercise in first starting out with what your goals are and I’m still talking about plan “A” for your life. You want to have a certain amount of income, you have a certain relationship with work, you want to have certain things in your life that you may not have had if you were in the corporate environment and those are the things that you set out as the most important deliverables.

And then what you do is that you will look at the business and determine; if I was successful in that business, could it help me achieve those things that are important to me? So I think people can be successful at any number of businesses. When you set the bar too high, that the business has to be perfect at first glance. I think that sometimes an obstacle for moving forward. And so you just need to be able to be clear on your vision. And particularly in the franchise world where I work is do you see other people that have achieved similar work life balance, similar incomes, similar goals that you’re trying to achieve. And if you do then it’s likely that this will be a good business for you as well.

Whether it’s right for an individual or not has to be answered by yourself, by the individual, but I do think that we tend to sometimes categorize businesses, based on our perception of them. And so if you become a lawyer, if you think about your skills, your gifts, what’s transferable, you might find that there are many opportunities that create work for you and create productivity for you for the long haul where you’re not subject to age discrimination or other kinds of issues that tend to derail careers. So my best suggestion is just keep an open mind about different businesses and you know you might get into a one year business or financial services business or something else that’s a good fit for you but you’ll only know that after you inventory your gift, your skills. You commit to your goals and you educate yourself about different activities.

You want to be objective in looking at the business and not be swamped by emotions and also not be affected always as to whether you will be a consumer of that business or not. When you have your goals set which is the foundation of everything, is you want to make sure that the business has the potential for reaching those goals. So if you want to make $50,000 a year, $100,000 a year, $200,000 a year. If you want to have your family working in the business, if you want to have a partnership with your spouse in the business, then those are, you set up the criteria and as you dig into the business, you’re evaluating business based on your criteria and I even suggest to a client that developing matrix list of things down the left hand column that are important to you and even measure some things may have a higher degree of significance and dig into that business. You should be and must be allowed particularly in the franchise world to really get a deep dive and understand the business before you make a commitment to it. That’s why I like the franchise model for many clients because a lot of the unknowns are taken out of the equation because of the disclosure laws, because you are given access to all the franchisees in the system, because they are the team called development team. Their job is to help you understand the different steps one would need to understand to be in that business. You have to just be patient and go through the process and I tell people plan on two to six months to get to the point where they have enough information and clarity to make the jump and start doing business.

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