It is no secret millennials are quickly emerging as the next generation of business owners and franchisees. They are categorized as being forward thinking, ambitious and adaptable – all qualities great entrepreneurs possess. However, it wasn’t always like this.
A decade ago, finding franchise owners in their 20s or early 30s was considered a fool’s errand, as the industry was dominated by older more established entrepreneurs. Since then, the landscape has shifted dramatically and a new, younger generation has stepped up. According to a recent global entrepreneurs report published by BNP Paribas, millennials are opening businesses much earlier than their predecessors and at almost twice the rate.
If you speak with 25-year-old North Carolina Smoothie King franchisee, Adam Cozzolino, you’ll find this trend makes perfect sense.
“People my age are looking to be their own boss,” Adam said. “They want to be involved with something that gives them purpose, and they don’t want to be stuck in a miserable 9-to-5 job. Franchising provides a great opportunity to do both of those things. ”
How Franchising Aligns with Millennials’ Goals
Adam, one of the youngest franchisees in the Smoothie King system, has had entrepreneurial tendencies his entire life:
- He began his career mowing lawns at 12 years old
- He progressed to selling items on eBay
- Eventually, he sold cars in college
Once he graduated from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, in 2014, Adam knew that franchising was the next logical step for him.
“Franchising has allowed me to own my own business and have a little added support and guidance at the same time,” Adam said. “I didn’t need the decades of experience – all I needed was a proven concept to get behind and my entrepreneurial drive.”
The franchise industry gives millennials like Adam a way to hit the ground running when it comes to business ownership. Franchising provides them with a proven business model, helping them to establish their stores quicker than starting from scratch.
“There are so many people involved to help you along the way,” Adam added. “A corporate team and the entire network of franchisees are just a phone call away. There is so much collaboration involved to help you toward success – as a millennial, that is exactly what I was looking for.”
Finding the Right Franchise Concept
After a failed attempt to open a tax preparation franchise, it became evident to Adam that he needed to become involved with a business that he truly believed in. He quickly realized that Smoothie King was his answer.
“With the tax franchise, I really felt like it wasn’t my real purpose, and I had to reassess my options,” Adam said. “I remembered how much I enjoyed going to the Smoothie King near the UNC-Charlotte campus after my workouts, and I became compelled to really give it a closer look. The brand really drew me in with its business model combined with the fact that I genuinely enjoyed the product.”
Adam did his due diligence, secured financial backing, and got his application approved by Smoothie King corporate, and he was well on his way. Although Adam’s first choice market was Charlotte, the territory was not available. To provide an alternative option, the real estate team proposed a well-researched and far less saturated location in Hickory, North Carolina. Hickory was a previously untapped market for the brand, and Adam knew it was the perfect place to leave his mark.
“I instantly fell in love with Hickory,” Adam said. “I knew I was taking a risk by entering a new market, but I trusted their research process, and I knew that the brand would do really well here. It proved to be the right move because we had a very strong opening and a phenomenal first year.”
The Hickory location opened on June 9, 2016. Now just a little over a year later, Adam is beginning work on developing his second location. He has also been able to use his time to focus on his passions outside of the brand.
“It’s been an awesome experience,” Adam said. “I’ve hired the right people, and I have my store operating smoothly. This allows me the time and opportunity to pursue things like travel and get involved with other business ventures that have always interested me.”
Adam was able to take the business knowledge he learned in college and apply it directly after he got out. Knowing there was no minimum age he had to be, he was able to achieve the life he wanted for himself with no ceiling for the future.
“Honestly, I’m still very young, and the possibilities are limitless,” Adam added.
If you’re a millennial looking to join a franchise system that can help you meet your goals, learn more about the Smoothie King franchise opportunity by downloading our franchise kit here.