By Rieva Lesonsky
Starting your own business from the ground up is a daunting task, especially if you’re creating your own management, marketing and operation systems. Instead, many small business owners decide to go with a turnkey operation that offers expert (and ongoing) support, by buying a franchise. In fact, franchises account for close to 800,000 business establishments in the U.S. alone. When searching for a small business loan, you might be surprised to know that the government has specific loans set aside to help people buy franchise business opportunities. Here are three websites to help you in your research:
The oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide, the IFA says its mission is to “protect, enhance and promote franchising through government relations, public relations and educational programs.” Always a vital stop in franchise research, the IFA reports the latest news in franchising, holds events around the country (the next IFA Annual Convention is in New Orleans on February 22-25, 2014), and provides information on over 1,100 franchises in its online directory. Check out the IFA’s special programs for veteran, women and minority franchisees.
Joel Libava is a franchise guru, a franchise advisor and actually, the Franchise King®. Author of Become a Franchise Owner!: The Start-Up Guide to Lowering Risk, Making Money, and Owning What you Do, Libava’s website offers straightforward information about franchising, including a popular blog, a franchise quiz to help you determine if franchising is the right path for you, a free Intro to Franchising guide, an e-newsletter and more. If you want personal advice, Libava is also available for advisory services (which come with a money-back guarantee).
For a plethora of franchise information and lists of franchise opportunities, check out FranchiseDirect.com. Franchises are categorized by industry and then narrowed down even further by business type. If you see something you like, you can click directly from FranchiseDirect to request more information. Also helpful are links to franchise attorneys, franchise consultants and special reports on categories such as food, fitness and beauty franchises.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.