Can a franchising business be beneficial to an OFW?

by Armando Bartolome

Posted at Jun 27 2014 04:14 PM | Updated as of Jun 28 2014 12:14 AM

Editor's note: The Business Mentor is a weekly business column by Armando "Butz" Bartolome, president of GMB Franchise Developers Inc. and chairman of the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc.

MANILA, Philippines -- Exactly three decades ago, I was an Overseas Contract Worker (OCW).

At that time, all Filipinos leaving the country under a contract were known by those three letters.

A world of opportunities suddenly opens up not only for the Filipino worker but for his entire family as well.

The primary reason why Filipinos migrate is due to the lack of job opportunities at home. There is an oversupply of skills and talents, and a lack of demand on the other hand.

Instead of trying to force one’s self into the crowded market, many opt to take their chances overseas. This may be done through legal means or the so-called TNT (Tago Ng Tago) or always hiding.

The journey begins when family and friends go to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to bid farewell to the OFW. Tears, hugs, kisses and high 5’s can be seen all over the departure area.

With the hope of a better future, the immediate goal of the OFW is to uplift his family's standard of living, In the provinces, there is a surge in the sales of house-and-lots. Caravans of real estate agents from different companies would conduct selling missions in almost all OFW-occupied countries.

However, OFWs need to seriously plan for their future. Many countries nowadays are implementing "nationalization” programs, which aid their citizens getting jobs, which have previously been occupied by foreign workers.

One alternative for OFWs is to explore the franchising business.

But can the franchising business be beneficial to an OFW?

By definition, franchising is a method of getting into business under an existing brand and provided support by the owner. Compared to a start-up, the trial and error is much less. The owner, otherwise known as the franchisor, faced many obstacles during the initial stages of the business. During such process, he was able to arrive at identified products, services, the right procedures, customers and most important is the profitability.

One challenge for OFWs is making a firm commitment of managing the franchise. This is a crossroad. Most OFWs would still want to return to their jobs overseas and earn more money. For his family to manage may mean giving their commitment as well. The success of the franchise business is total confidence in the business concept. It is not enough to like the product and give the required investment. The franchisor expects a firm and serious commitment.

From my experience meeting many OFWs, I noticed most of them like "cramming." Like during schooldays when the exam dates are getting near, it is the only time one forces one’s self to study.

There are OFWs who like procrastinating or postponing for tomorrow what is important. There are those who are afraid of even discussing such scenario. One thing I learned in my overseas exposure is there is always an end to everything. The great and fantastic benefits will soon end. If no savings and preparation are done for the unexpected return or end of contract, it may be too late. There are those who enter into any business just so to earn.

One great benefit franchising may offer is having a business under an established brand. There is also back-up support by the franchisor and his team.

However, the OFW must do a careful study as well as exerting effort in learning about franchising. This is not like going to a supermarket and picking up the business of choice.

Unfortunately because of the lack of study, the impulsive action leads to a greater mistake and at times falling victims to some franchise scams.

On July 5 (Saturday), I am giving two half-day sessions of seminars. The first session is focused for those who are planning to invest in a franchise business. The second will be for entrepreneurs exploring how to further expand. The venue will be at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). Seminar fee for each session is P549 or US$12. For further information go to


For questions and more information, you may contact Armando "Butz" Bartolome by email: [email protected] His website is