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  • Are You Thinking of Buying a Franchise?

    Game Plan

    In-Depth

    How to Spot Franchising Opportunities

    Franchising is one sector of the US economy that is growing. According to the International Franchise Association’s Franchise Business Economic Outlook for 2014, the franchise sector is growing faster than the overall industries where franchises are concentrated. That may bode well for anyone considering investing in this trending opportunity.

    Fast food enterprises may be what most people associate with franchises, but there are more than 75 industries that operate within the franchising format, including automotive, electronics, retail, food, financial services, sports and recreation, travel, and many others.

    According to Entrepreneur.com, the top ten franchises as of 2014 are:

    • Anytime Fitness
    • Hampton Hotels
    • Subway (also the fastest growing franchise for 2014)
    • Supercuts
    • Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches
    • 7-Eleven Inc.
    • Servpro
    • Denny’s Inc.
    • Pizza Hut Inc.
    • Dunkin’ Donuts

    While food makes up half the top ten and more than a quarter of all ranked franchise companies, aging baby boomers and the expansion of technology in our lives are two reasons why categories on the rise (in 2014) include:

    • Health and fitness, such as dance, martial arts, jazzercise, massage, and kickboxing.
    • Senior Care, including non-medical independent living, medical care and staffing, companion care, and transportation.
    • Personal Electronics, including sales, repairs, and accessories for smartphones and tablets.

    Finding a Franchise Business that Fits You
    To choose the right franchise, you need to be brutally honest about your expectations and goals. Will this be your primary source of income, or just a hobby? Are you willing to work long hours? How much money are you able to invest and is your credit score high enough to qualify for financing? Do you have expertise in a particular field, or do you want to work outside your regular area of knowledge and try something new? The answers to these and other questions about your reasons for getting into a franchise will help to narrow down your choices within certain industries.

    There are many ways to find franchise opportunities. The Internet is a good place to start. Franchise expositions let you stroll from booth to booth, talking to real people and comparing many options all under one roof. You might get incentives from exhibitors to attend promotional meetings where you can learn more details about any opportunity you find interesting.

    Franchise brokers can help match you with franchise companies that align with your financial capabilities and business experience. Brokers work much like realtors or travel agents—they get paid by the franchisors they represent, so their consulting service is free to you.

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    Game Plan

    • The International Franchise Association (IFA) is the largest organization representing franchising worldwide. IFA’s mission is to protect, enhance, and promote franchising through government relations, public relations, and educational programs. Both franchise companies and individual franchisees are represented. Their website has detailed information on over 1,100 franchises, a comprehensive library of franchising information, and a complete list of subject matter experts.
    • To get an idea of the breadth of franchise industries and opportunities, check out this list of the top 100 global franchises with links to detailed information about each one.
    • If you decide to use a franchise broker or consultant, the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Guide offers tips on using a franchise broker.
    • Consider a franchise that is approved by the Small Business Administration (SBA). This may get you expedited loan processing if you apply for financial assistance through the SBA.