Business Alliance, Inc. Franchise Consultant Review: Mariruth Kennedy

The flexibility working as a BAI franchise consultant affords and the satisfaction that comes from helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams is a win/win

As a Registered Franchise Consultant with Business Alliance, Inc. (BAI),the nation’s longest-running franchise consultancy firm, Mariruth Kennedy has found a business opportunity that will take her through to her retirement years as well as fostering her passion for helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams.

In this interview, Kennedy discusses why she became a Registered Franchise Consultant with our premier franchise brokerage firm.

As a former Vice President of Franchising at a company, you had experience with how franchise development works and how to help entrepreneurs navigate through that process when you joined BAI. Tell us a little bit about that.

The company I was with was in the direct mail industry, and I helped bring the company into franchising. So I learned about franchising via baptism by fire, so to speak, and stayed in that franchising leadership for four more years before I was ready to do my own thing. I then founded a digital agency with a business partner in 2009.

What attracted you to the idea of being a Registered Franchise Consultant?

Good question. I was looking for something to take me into retirement – I’m not quite there yet, but heading that way – and I was looking for a business that had some specific criteria. For me, it was something that I could do on my own, with a great deal of flexibility in terms of when and where I did it. Prior to the pandemic, I traveled a bit, and I wanted to be able to travel and still do my business. So I didn’t want to lock myself into a brick-and-mortar. I looked back over my career and thought about what I enjoyed doing the most, and the job that I enjoyed having the most was franchise development. I thought, “What can I do without going to work for a brand?” Because I refer to myself as hardcore unemployable. I don’t want to work for somebody else again. In fact, I’ve started two businesses since I turned 50 so I always tell people who are a little bit older, you can do it. That’s kind of what brought me to franchise consulting. It ticked all those boxes.

Helping people become entrepreneurs and realize their own dreams of this small business ownership is a really meaningful business to get into. Can you explain the appeal of helping people become business owners? 

I really enjoy being able to help people move from being an employee to an employer. I enjoy helping people in general and helping people realize their potential. When that means going into their own business, it can be scary and they need to have somebody who kind of walks with them through the process. Being able to help people and be a sounding board for them as they go through the process is also pretty meaningful.

How did BAI support you in helping you establish your business?

The support from BAI is tremendous. There’s training, there is obviously ongoing support, and there are roundtables, Zoom calls, and phone calls. They’re really very responsive, too. I’m on the East Coast and they’re on the West Coast and yet I’ve never had a problem getting ahold of anybody. I don’t know when they sleep because they always answer my emails, calls, or texts. They are very, very responsive.

What is your favorite part about owning a franchise consultancy business? You mentioned earlier that before the pandemic you were traveling a lot and I would imagine you had a high standard of living and you wanted to enjoy life. Does this business allow you to do that?

I have the flexibility to work when I want, where I want and how I want, so if I want to take some time off to do things that I want to do, I can do that. If I want to work a flurry, I can work a flurry. I can really set my goals and stay focused to reach them. But the beauty of this business to me is that nobody’s standing over my shoulder saying, “Hey, you have to do this.”

For those thinking about becoming a Registered Franchise Consultant, why is now a good time to become a franchise consultant? And specifically, why is it a good time to join BAI?

It’s a good time to become a Registered Franchise Consultant because we’re seeing some really exciting new brands come out. I’m excited about those because they are owned by good organizations who have good infrastructure behind them, but they also have a lot of territory available.

With the economy where it is, there are people looking to buy franchises and I think franchising has become more mainstream. There are a lot of people who are in their 50s with pretty sizable 401(k)s and the ability to use a 401(k) rollover either for themselves or to help their kids get into business. I think all of those things make it a good time to get into franchise consulting. BAI has been on a trajectory of growth and now they’re really looking for ways not only to grow, but also to help the existing consultants grow their practices. All of that is coming together in a way that really makes it exciting to see what the next steps will be. I’ve been with BAI for about three years, and I’ve seen a change in that time in terms of resources, in terms of speakers that they bring in to talk to us, and more virtual learning and experiences. The next few years will be pretty exciting.

Ready for a meaningful career?

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