The draw of buying a franchise is the chance to run your own business without having to build one from scratch. It?s like making a model airplane from a kit, instead of having to cast your own plastic pieces. To a lot of American business owners that kind of plug-and-play approach sounds pretty good. According to a forecast by IHS Economics for trade group the International Franchise Association, the total number of U.S. franchises this year will grow by 1.6% to 781,794. The IFA reckons those businesses ? selling everything from beer to auto parts to insurance to haircuts and massages ? will employ 8.8 million people and generate GDP of $521 billion this year, about 3% of total nominal US GDP.
If you?re thinking of buying a franchise yourself, you?ve got a lot of things to decide like, for instance, where to put it and how to pay for it. But your most important choice is which franchiser to sign on with. Some are great sponsors and cheerleaders who will support you with strong brands, innovative product pipelines, and creative marketing ideas. Others, not so much. The meh ones just leave their franchisees to sink or swim on their own. And the bad ones have been accused of actually making it impossible for their franchisees to succeed.
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