It’s no news flash that unemployment and particularly youth unemployment is a massive problem in South Africa. Total unemployment for the fourth quarter of 2012 was at 24,9%.
While this can be attributed to incomplete or poor education, there is still a serious problem of lack of employment for the country’s graduates. In a study by Adcorp (2012), around 600 000 graduated are unemployed, owing to graduate inexperience and overall lack of jobs in the market place.
But enough of the doom and gloom. A growing trend in the US franchise industry could help alleviate South Africa’s graduate unemployment problem: Dad-grad franchising.
Here’s the conundrum. A graduate will nine times out of ten lack the necessary experience to start their own business, and lack the capital to buy their own franchise.
Their parents, on the other hand, may have the capital, but not the energy and drive to run a business. People are also living longer than they’d planned for financially, meaning retiring at 65 poses a great challenge for income generation. Enter the new dad-grad combo.
Franchising tag team
Across the US, there is an increasing trend of parent-child partnerships to run a franchise. Mom or pop executives have the relevant experience from their corporate positions, as well as the financial resources. And since job offers can be poor as age increases, they’re looking for new careers. Their under-25 kids, on the other hand, have the passion, drive and energy to pour into a business.
While concrete figures on multigenerational franchises are hard to come by, Rick Bisio, a franchise consultant in Florida, US, states that between 10 and 20% of the franchisees he places start as parent-child pairs and the numbers have risen in recent years.
Dividing work and roles
If parents aren’t keen on just being a piggy bank, examples have shown that the parents run the front desk, while the children are responsible for marketing, sales, technology and social media, and any other energy-intensive duties.
This division of labour is not unique to franchising, but something seen across multigenerational business owners, with parents typically handling jobs that require local connections and the kids taking care of the da-to-day operations and online marketing.
Warning: Family dispute ahead
But one thing to be aware of is that family dynamics can also be tricky to navigate. Parents can find themselves watching over their children’s shoulders and micromanaging, while children might feel criticised and ‘babied’ when their decisions are questioned by their parents. It’s important to have clearly defined roles in the business and not bring the personal into the business and vice versa.