NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Franchising in the United States is an $800 billion-a-year concept. Some 600,000 franchised small-business owners provide jobs for more than 8 million American workers.|
There is virtually no product or service that can't be bought through a franchised business. But it's not for everyone, and it is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
Here are some tips from the International Franchise Association in Washington, D.C.:
- Talk to as many franchisees as possible.
- Talk to the franchiser; get to know key players.
- Consult any and all advisers you feel can help you.
- Ask all the questions you can. No question is too trivial.
- Compare other franchise systems in the same field.
- Evaluate yourself. Make sure you'll be comfortable doing what the business requires.
- Read and understand the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular, and know all the terms of your contract.
- Check the history and experience of the franchise's officers and managers.
- Research, research, research. The more you know, the better your decision is likely to be. Remember, only you can determine if owning a particular franchise is right for you.
- Hurry. Short-cutting your research will increase your likelihood of failing.
- Overextend your finances. Always plan for more expenses than you think you'll have.
- Skip consulting the professionals. Skimping on fees will deprive you of critical information.
- Take anyone's word. It's your risk and opportunity.
- Settle. Get the business you want, not the first one that comes along.
Contact the International Franchise Association at 1350 New York Ave., NW, #900, Washington, D.C. 20005-4709; (202) 628-8000; e-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. The Web site is http://www.franchise.org/.
(Excerpted from 201 Great Ideas for Your Small Business, Copyright 1998 by Jane Applegate. Published by arrangement with Bloomberg Press. Excerpts appear each Saturday on CNNfn.com.)