How to identify the right opportunities for first-time women business owners
Trust your intentions and be confident in your entrepreneurial pursuits
Colorado continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic and while it’s caused a health crisis, it’s also created an economic crisis for many of us.
Back in May, it was reported that Colorado’s unemployment rate for women rose to 11.74%. I became part of that 11.74% after I was furloughed from my corporate marketing job after 20+ years of professional growth and livelihood. Like many successful, and seemingly secure, white-collar workers, the pandemic disrupted my life and my marketing career. I was furloughed and needed to make some sizable choices; do I ride it out, hoping to return to a position and company I loved, do I solicit another corporate opportunity, or do I pursue a new and transformative venture of launching and building my own business.
In early September, my new franchise, Conserva Irrigation of Greater Denver opened for business and I am proudly building a business and a loyal customer base.
I’ve been a Denver resident for 15 years and witnessed an incredible entrepreneurial and resilient spirit in the Mile High City. That resolve is why Denver remains a thriving, and diverse economy well suited for small business innovators of all demographics and at any stage in their life. I hope my story can inspire others, who perhaps have found themselves in a similar situation to mine. You should trust your intentions and be confident in your entrepreneurial pursuits. You can take destiny into your own hands.
Join a franchise with a proven track record
I’ve had the entrepreneurial itch for some time, and after conducting much research, I recognized that joining an established franchise brand would serve me better than opening up an independent business. Within weeks after I was furloughed I began talking to franchisor Conserva Irrigation – the leader in water conservation and smart irrigation services. Just four months later, I opened my first two Conserva Irrigation territories in the Greater Denver area. It was a fast track to launch, and I couldn’t have been up and running that quickly without the help from an established group of leaders like those I encountered at Conserva.
There’s a good amount of risk in starting anything new and there’s a lot for first-time business owners to know and learn. I was looking to minimize that risk and franchising offers a track record of systematic success and support. It was also important to identify a proven industry, one that was recession-resistant and has made the necessary changes to adapt for a future post-pandemic. Finally, it was about wealth generation and the P&L fundamentals. With the necessary effort and investment, I wanted to grow the top line quickly, generating income in months rather than years, so I identified a low-cost-to-entry, low investment, no cap on growth trajectory type of business proposition.
Match your market
Water conservation is always top of mind for Colorado residents. That’s why Conserva Irrigation stood out to me and I saw an opportunity for the brand to grow and earn market share. My mission is to enable my business to help Denver families and businesses grow healthy lush lawns, and landscapes that conserve natural resources. In doing so, increase the value of their home and business, save them money on water bills, and give them a significant means to participate in water conservation. Identifying the right opportunity for you must involve a passion for the brand, but there also must be a need in your market for that company, as well as one that shows growth potential.
Navigate a male-dominated field
Going from a background in live event marketing to the irrigation industry was definitely a jump for me. Though, I feel strongly the operational principles are similar which are ‘be exceptional in product, sales, and service’. I knew I would learn the irrigation trade and it didn’t matter to me that the industry is considered male-dominated. My entire life, I’ve found myself in male-dominated spaces and knew that with hard work, you’re able to prove your capabilities. I’ve been eager to seek advice from my fellow franchisees and to learn and engage. I’ve also learned it’s never too late to reinvent and reinvigorate yourself. Joining a franchise system has made that transition easier for me by providing in-depth training and guidelines that are easy to follow. If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, and feel empowered to make inroads in a new trade, seize the opportunity to become a franchisee while learning to own your own business.
Nicole Hobby is a first-time franchise owner with Conserva Irrigation, the only national outdoor irrigation company founded on the concept of water conservation, owning two territories across the greater Denver area. Nicole draws from her marketing background with over 30 years of live entertainment experience, in various, general manager, sales, and marketing leadership roles, most recently SVP of Event Strategy and Management at Ticketmaster, a division of Live Nation Entertainment. With an exceptional and rewarding corporate career, Nicole takes on her first entrepreneurial venture for the last stage of her career.