Franchise Buyers Can Find Plenty of Warning
CHICAGO (MainStreet) -- In an uncertain business climate, the risks of starting a business from scratch are daunting. That's why the lure of a franchise business can be so enticing: You get the challenge and excitement of a start-up, along with the advantage of brand-name familiarity and (hopefully) national marketing.
Although the number of franchises in the U.S. fell over the past three years -- as did the number of new businesses overall -- things seem to be looking up this year. According to the International Franchise Association, the franchise industry as a whole is expected to grow 2% during 2012, creating more than 160,000 jobs. Nearly 85% of franchisors surveyed said they planned to increase the number of establishments during the year.
|Thanks to growing networks of outspoken franchise owners such as the Dunkin' Donuts Independent Franchise Owners, potential buyers know better what they're facing.|
Does that mean taking on a franchise business is a safer bet than starting up on your own? It's hard to say. There has been no single, comprehensive study comparing the fate of independent businesses compared with franchise businesses over the past five or 10 years, but various studies in the 1980s and 1990s did not find that franchises had a clear advantage. There are no guarantees either way.
But that hasn't stopped various franchise brokers from selling the dream of easy money. Web sites tout franchise opportunities in the language of get-rich-quick schemes, and those promises are a tempting draw for unemployed would-be entrepreneurs. The good news is that potential franchisees have more resources than ever to decide if they're making the right choice.