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Selecting the "right" franchise.

For many people, the dream of financial independence starts with owning a franchise. But selecting the "right" franchise is not a simple task. According to the International Franchise Association (IFA), the leading trade association for the franchise industry, there are more than 3,000 franchise brands operating in the United States with more than 500,000 outlets, covering more than 75 industries. There is an old axiom that says that the three most important things for success in real estate are--location, location and location. Well, the three most important factors for success in selecting a franchise are--research, research and research.

Franchisers grow their companies by convincing potential buyers to purchase the right to sell goods or services under its brand name. But there should be no doubt that it is the responsibility of the potential franchisee to do his or her "due diligence" and to ensure that they have selected the "proper" franchise brand. Doing your "homework" is critical to making the proper selection. While there is no set formula, any potential franchisee should allocate at least 6-9 months to the "due diligence" process. Remember, in the process of selecting a franchise--haste, will not only make waste--it will cost you money.

Essential R-E-S-E-A-R-C-H elements include:

READ everything you can about franchising. Make use of the Internet to increase your baseline knowledge of franchising and the various franchise brands that you might want to consider as a future career.

EVALUATE yourself. Critical undertakings that should occur at the start of this process include an assessment of one's self, financial needs and current financial conditions. Most franchise agreements are for 10 to 20 years. These businesses are usually time intensive and they can have a tremendous impact on the franchisee's family life.

STUDY the market. Most prospective franchisees are interested in starling a business in their current geographical location. One must determine if there is really a need in the market for the product or service that the brand offers and the level of competition in the targeted community.

EXPLORE your choices. As indicated earlier in this article, there are a wide variety of franchises to be considered by anyone looking to start

ASK the "right" questions. Asking questions is an indispensable part of the due diligence process. The right people include: company's sales and operations staff, and senior management as well as current and past franchisees.

REVIEW all of the information. After all of the due diligence process has been completed, the potential franchisee must reflect on every piece of information he/she has been able to gather on each brand and if necessary, should do further research to fill in gaps.

CHOOSE your top franchise(s). At the end of the review process, a potential franchisee should reduce the choices to no more that three franchise concepts. If you have not already done so, you should begin to schedule personal visits with each of your chosen franchisers and setup meetings at their headquarters.

HIRE a franchise attorney and a franchise accountant. This is a very different business relationship and you want to ensure that you have experienced representation and advice before you enter into a franchise agreement.

LIBERTY TAX SERVICE

Liberty Tax Service continues to be the fastest growing international tax service franchise ever. In less than a year, the number of Liberty offices in the United States and Canada has increased 50%, from 611 to 919. In 6 years, Liberty Tax Service has grown to the size it took the other national tax franchises 12 years to realize.

Liberty's franchise opportunity is rising in the franchise industry rankings for solid growth, excellence, and affordability. Most recently, Entrepreneur magazine named Liberty Tax Service #50 on its list of Fastest Growing Franchises (May 2003). In 2003, Entrepreneur magazine named Liberty #50 on its annual Franchise 500, and #15 on its list of Top Low-Cost Franchises for 2003 in its Be Your Own Boss issue.

With nothing as certain as taxes, what other industry offers the perpetual product of tax preparation, and a growing market even in sluggish economic times? More people pay taxes annually with an increasing number willing to pay a preparer to do their taxes. Unlike many industries, the tax industry arena has been dominated for over 40 years by only one major competitor, H&R Block.

It's our goal to bring in franchisees of high caliber, who are motivated to grow with us as we reach the pinnacle of the industry. Liberty will explore all financing options to bring the best candidates into our system, and offers "Guaranteed Financing" to franchisees in complete compliance after their first tax season. We offer initial and ongoing training to thoroughly indoctrinate franchisees on every facet of the Liberty operating system. Liberty provides ongoing support in operations, marketing, tax and technical support, and a Very resourceful headquarters and management staff with over 300 years in the tax industry. Are you ready to join the Liberty team? Call 800-790-3863 ext. 3130, or visit www.libertytax.com.

THE ENTREPRENEUR'S SOURCE

THE AMERICAN DREAM

A very small portion of people who aspire to be self-sufficient ever realize their dream. Some fear the unknown, but most are simply confused by the many options, prematurely dismissing potential opportunities when all they need to realize their dreams is information, coaching and guidance.

Terry Powell started The Entrepreneur's Source in 1984, creating the premier international source for information about a wide range of self-employment options, education and coaching. They represent their clients at all times bringing total objectivity to the process of finding career alternatives. Using informal interviews and profiling instruments, E-Source consultants guide clients through the process of selecting options that meet their requirements.

Becoming an E-Source consultant requires intensive training at the E-Source Academy where candidates are immersed in the unique philosophy and proprietary techniques of The E-Source. On-going training and support from national and regional support offices enable continued growth for consultants as they strive to help clients achieve their dreams.

E-Source clients are typically individuals who are tired of the corporate world and dream of self-sufficiency. With The Entrepreneur's Source, they enjoy a no risk, no obligation process providing a wealth of information and guidance in achieving their goals.

If you are interested in becoming an E-Source client or consultant, visit us on the web at www.theEsource.com; e-mail us at info@theEsource.com; or call 800-765-4492.

GOLDEN CORRAL

Franchisees tell Golden Corral Corporation that they enjoy the best of both worlds.

On the one hand, they are CEOs of their own businesses, generating earnings for themselves and creating wealth for their families.

On the other hand, they receive continuous support from Golden Corral that starts long before the first restaurant opens.

The Wall Street Journal noted that the life of a Golden Corral franchisee "is a blend of entrepreneur and traditional manager."

That's because franchisees have a relationship with Golden Corral that is like that of partners who share in and contribute to each other's success.

Golden Corral contributes to the success of its franchisees by offering them the company's most valuable assets: a powerful brand name, proven operating system and ongoing assistance provided through real estate, construction, equipment, operations, marketing, food and beverage, training and human resources experts in the regional and home office support centers.

All of this is the product of a company that has grown and prospered during the past thirty years and is a national leader in the foodservice industry. There are nearly 500 restaurants in the Golden Corral system and dozens more open each year.

Of particular importance, more than 100 of the nation's Golden Corrals are company-operated, which means that corporate management is closely attuned to day-to-day market conditions and guests preferences. New menu items, improvements in operations, building remodels and equipment changes are tested in company restaurants and not released to the system until they are proven successes.

Innovation and creativity are central to Golden Corral and reflected in the company's statement of beliefs, which begins with this commitment: "We Never Stop Striving to Improve."

Golden Corral has built its business on service to others, treating customers as guests. Golden Corral pledges that it is honest in all that it does.

And it values the diversity of its franchisees, employees, guests and suppliers by demonstrating respect for the individual and providing meaningful work opportunities.

For more information, please visit us online at www.goldencorral.com.

JAN-PRO CLEANING SYSTEMS

For the past ten years, JAN-PRO Cleaning Systems has been building a national reputation for customer service, while establishing a solid support base in urban and rural centers. We continue to expand and welcome new franchisees in all levels of the business. As the nation's premiere commercial cleaning company, JAN-PRO's franchise program is designed to assist you every step of the way. You become your own boss through the guidance and support of an established franchise organization.

Three years ago, Diane Gist of Charlotte had dreams of owning her own business. A friend referred her to JAN-PRO and Diane purchased the smallest franchise package available. "Coming into the business, I had management and customer service skills, but no experience in the technical aspects of commercial cleaning management. JAN-PRO's training program provided me with everything I needed to know, and their reputation in the industry paved the way for my success," claims Diane.

In just three years, Diane has experienced tremendous growth. She is currently at $500,000 gross volume per year and adding to that each month with new customers. "Customer service is a top priority at JAN-PRO. Since focus on our customers often leads to referrals and high retention rates, it's easy to grow the business."

The JAN-PRO program is designed for the individual owner, like Diane, to grow in manageable steps, with various investment programs. It's also a program built on teamwork, credibility and customer service. There is no limit to how large you can eventually expand your business.

With over 2,500 franchises nationwide, JAN-PRO is poised for continued growth and urban expansion. We are committed to helping you succeed. For more information, please visit www.jan-pro.com or call (800) 668-1001.

GLASSDOCTOR

GlassDoctor--the only Auto, Home and Business glass replacement franchise in the United States, brings you a one-of-a-kind opportunity in this industry.

You may ask, "Why would I get involved in the glass industry?" Some things to be aware of about the glass industry are that it is repetitive and it is a needed service. It's not glamorous. It's not high tech. But glass will always break! When you have a piece of broken glass, it's not about the glass, it's about security.

You don't need to install the glass yourself. We're looking for people who have the capability to lead an organization and execute a marketing and a business system in an exclusive franchise territory. If you are serious about building a business for yourself, but not by yourself, then take a closer look at GlassDoctor.

CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL

Choice Hotels International[R] is one of the world's largest franchising companies with over 5,000 hotels open or under development worldwide. The company franchises under the Comfort Inn[R] Comfort Suites[R] Quality[R] Sleep Inn[R] Clarion[R] MainStay Suites[R] Econo Lodge[R] and Rodeway Inn[R] brand names.

Choice Hotels[R] is focused on providing franchises with a solid return on investment by offering a proven portfolio of resources ... All designed to help you create and maintain the best hotel for your unique needs.

Choice Hotels provides:

* Strong reservation delivery through our state-of-the-art system.

* Effective property management systems that ensure cost efficiency.

* Strong national marketing and advertising.

* New hotel services to assist with every detail of opening your hotel.

* On-going training and continuous field support.

In recognition of the under-representation of certain groups in the hotel industry, Choice Hotels launched an incentive program. The incentive was launched to attract African-American and other minority entrepreneurs who wish to build a Choice-branded hotel, convert an existing hotel to a Choice brand, or purchase an existing Choice-branded hotel.

Approved applicants will receive up to $125,000 in development loans for a midscale brand hotel or $50,000 for an economy brand hotel. To be eligible for the incentive, minority owners must hold a 51% ownership stake in the franchise and meet all other terms and conditions, including franchise criteria.

We are committed to recruiting new minority franchisees and invite you to join the Choice Hotels family. For more details regarding this incentive program and its terms and conditions or to learn more about franchise opportunities with Choice Hotels, call Brian Parker, Director of Emerging Markets and Business Development at 301.592.5041, visit choicehotelsfranchise.com, or email us at franchise sales@choicehotels.com.

Limit one incentive per individual franchisee, franchisee entity, or their affiliates. We may discontinue this offer at any time.

SUBWAY

With more than 19,000 independently owned and operated restaurants in 74 countries, the Subway restaurant chain is the undisputed leader in the submarine sandwich category serving fresh, great tasting made-for-you sandwiches and salads, many of which have 6 grams of fat or less. Offering a healthful alternative to traditionally fatty last food has made Subway Restaurants a popular destination for health-conscious consumers around the globe.

The Subway restaurant chain has been offering entrepreneurs an opportunity to build and succeed in their own business since it began to franchise in 1974. Through the years the Subway chain has developed a well-structured franchise program--one that keeps the investment/start-up costs low and the operation simple and efficient. Additionally, the brand is recognized worldwide. It is associated with the highest standards of quality, service, convenience and cleanliness.

The reduced risk of taking a proven business model and reproducing it is a powerful inducement vs. heading out on one's own, which may account for the fact that a high percentage of Subway franchisees become multi-unit owners. In fact, more than 70% of new franchises sold are purchased by individuals already in the Subway system, which indicates not only satisfaction with the franchise system but profitability as well.

At Subway, when you purchase a franchise you are joining a team. Franchisor support and training is the lifeblood of any strong franchise system.

In 2002, the Subway chain surpassed McDonald's in the number of restaurants open in the U.S. and Canada. The Subway chain was also named the number-one franchise opportunity by Entrepreneur magazine, in its Annual Franchise 500 ranking for 2003. This is the 11th time it has been so honored in 15 years.

For more information about the Subway restaurant chain, visit us fit www.subway.com.

CHURCH'S CHICKEN

HUNGRY FOR AN OPPORTUNITY?

As a member of the AFC Enterprises family, Church's Chicken[TM] has over 1,500 locations in 25 states and international presence in Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. The Church's success story began in 1952-across the street from the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. Since then, Church's clearly defined, strategic business system and our customer's passion for great tasting chicken have made us one of the global leaders in the quick service restaurant industry. Our chicken has flavor through and through, which keeps our customers coming back time after time for a unique, homemade taste that only Church's can provide. Our signature Honey-Butter Biscuits, jalapeno peppers, and fried okra are delicious compliments to our marinated fried chicken.

Church's has grown successfully in both International and U.S. markets. Multi-unit development is a fundamental element of our global strategy and a requirement for establishing brand presence. Church's also continues to focus on growing the ranks of minority and women franchise partners. "Church's will continue to create opportunities that benefit the people and communities who are at the heart of our customer base," says Hala Moddelmog, President of Church's Chicken. Remaining consistent with AFC's vision, Church's has positioned itself as a brand for the future. By focusing on cultivating relationships with suppliers and communities, attracting valuable employees, and expanding franchise ownership opportunities for minorities and women; Church's has the formula for success. Worldwide, a proven strategic business system, a framework for diversity, and a great product that equals a valuable brand--are you hungry for an opportunity?

Contact us today: 1-800-639-5495 or www.churchs.com

Church's Chicken

980 Hammond Dr. #1100

Atlanta, GA 30328

Phone: 770-550-3840

Web Site: www.churchs.com

MERRY MAIDS

To be your own boss and take control of your own destiny is almost every American's dream. But, what type of business? A very large part of one's initial due diligence should be performed to ensure that the business fits the person, and vice versa. As America moves more and more toward a service economy, the type and focus of franchises has also headed more to service based businesses. The residential cleaning business is presently over $12 billion and still growing. The market leader in this segment is Merry Maids with over 875 franchise territories in the U.S. and over 500 internationally.

At a time when the economy is forcing more and more corporate professionals to reexamine their job security and future, Merry Maids is attracting a larger share to franchising. Why would professional managers want to be involved in the home cleaning industry? Because experienced management and marketing is what drives a successful Merry Maids franchise.

Over the past 18 months, Merry Maids has experienced a much larger than normal diversity growth with the licensing of several young, well educated, corporately honed African American entrepreneurs. New licenses have recently been granted in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Birmingham, Cleveland and New Orleans to just such owners. And Merry Maids hopes that this is just the tip of the iceberg!

So, what is so attractive about the residential cleaning industry? As more and more dual income professional families become affluent, they seek to buy back their leisure time by paying others to do the chores they find tedious and unrewarding. Would you rather play golf or clean windows? Tennis or scrub bathroom floors? Most people would rather outsource that type of work and concentrate on other more enjoyable family activities.

A Merry Maids franchise can be acquired for a surprisingly low initial investment that includes complete training, supplies, equipment, marketing materials and custom software to run the business. For more details, please call us at 800-798-8000 and find out why we always say "It's a great day at Merry Maids."

COLBERT/BALL

Tax preparation is a multi-billion dollar industry that has proven to be both recession-proof and a necessity. Better than 57% of American taxpayers already use a preparer to complete their taxes and over 40 million people file electronically. The IRS projects that over 80% of the nation will file electronically by 2007. Striving to fill the need for fast, efficient electronic tax preparation, Colbert/Ball Tax Service is quickly becoming the fastest growing, largest minority-owned service in the nation.

Colbert/Ball has over 90 locations in 22 states and are signing more every day, making an indelible imprint in minority franchising. New prospects for high volume, high profile locations in major chain stores nationwide have begun opening up to those wishing to join the Colbert/Ball franchise family. In addition to tax preparation, they also offer year-round solutions in additional financial services.

All franchises receive a complete turn-key system, with a yearly schedule of training not only in sound business practices, but the latest in tax preparation and tax software as well, is a pillar of the support structure at Colbert/Ball. No previous experience in taxes is required. Further, they maintain an in-house technical support staff of seasoned tax professionals and computer specialists to assist any franchise who may encounter a question.

Colbert/Ball Tax Service is dedicated to providing Superior Service, Superior Products, and Constant Innovation, not only in their franchises, but within the community as a whole. Encouraging strength in the community encourages strength in business.

Offering year-round financial services, Colbert/Ball is expanding their franchise opportunities. The potential for making Big $$$ is staggering. Be in business FOR YOURSELF, instead of BY YOURSELF For additional information about the opportunities available with Colbert/Ball Tax Services, please visit www.colbertballtax.com or call the Sales Department toll free at 888.288.8675.

TAX CENTERS OF AMERICA

Tax Centers of America (TCOA) establishes persons in business as authorized IRS E-file providers preparing lax returns and offering same-day fast refunds. They offer the same service in competition with H & R Block and Jackson-Hewitt, at franchise fees substantially less in comparison. You can create significant first quarter income by offering this service in addition to your existing business. TCOA is proud of the success of the American black entrepreneurs in their franchise system:

My connection with TCOA has enhanced my tax business, and eliminated a lot of the risk. ?COA has provided me the opportunity to work with an organization concerned with the growth of my clientbase, and meeting their tax needs. No longer do I feel alone in my business. I now have a consulting, advising, troubleshooting, and professional development firm that works right beside me.

W. C. Mitchell

N. Little Rock, Arkansas

In 2001, I became the owner of a TCOA franchise in Leland, MS, and had such success that I purchased a second one the next year for Clarendon, AR. TCOA's marketing system and customer support is of superior quality. My experience with TCOA has been a rewarding and money making adventure. It has allowed me to provide quality service to my clients, and get them the largest refunds possible. TCOA has made it possible for me to fulfill my dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

Earl Glass

Leland, MS

In addition to operating your franchise tax office, TCOA is the only company in the tax industry that provides franchisees the right to open additional offices at no additional cost to them. Consequently, you are able to multiply your business services and income potential. Franchise territories are available in most states. For information about how you can become a TCOA franchisee, call 1-800-555-9956 or visit www.tcoa.net.

MEINEKE

As leaders in an automotive aftermarket approaching $195 BILLION in annual sales, Meineke's nearly 900 domestic and international storeowners are charging into the new century with a spirit of accomplishment and expectation.

This chainwide enthusiasm is reflected in the slogan: "Meineke-Our commitment to you begins with me." These words are especially relevant to new franchisees because the promise behind the phrase is one of support and guidance--from each and every Team Meineke member.

These and other components of the Meineke System are all geared toward helping each storeowner to open smoothly and build momentum using time-proven business and operational procedures.

A prime example is Meineke's site location assistance program that includes in-depth market analysis using the most up-to-date technology and current real estate listings. A Meineke New Store Development Manager is available to assist new franchisees in site selection.

New Meineke franchisees also undertake a four week training program of hands-on technical, operational and sales instruction. Further support comes from our staff of in-house and field based Operations Managers. Each store is assigned a specific field representative to assist in getting the shop open and operational. The Operations Manager then stands ready to offer ongoing support in day to day operations.

To this add Meineke's instant name recognition, multi-media advertising, and broad based purchasing power to form a truly solid franchise opportunity. A recent name change from Meineke Discount Mufflers to Meineke Car Care Centers solidifies our position as a leader in the automotive aftermarket. For those eager to attain their personal goals, a Meineke franchise can represent an exciting opportunity. There is no better time to MAKE YOUR MOVE WIT MEINEKE!

For more information, please call 1-800-MEINEKE or visit us online at www.ownameineke.com.

COVERALL SUCCESS STORY: JACQUELINE PRUDE

Coverall Cleaning Concepts[R] Franchise Owner

Four years ago, Jacqueline Prude wanted to find a business where she could be her own boss. After conducting extensive research, she decided to pursue a franchise in the commercial cleaning industry. She chose Coverall Cleaning Concepts because of its superior training, its incomparable reputation and its ability to help her manage her entrepreneurial goals.

In 1999, Prude opened her Coverall Franchise in the Detroit area, while working a full-time job. Her perseverance allowed her to quickly quit her job and focus solely on her business, which has grown tremendously over the past four years.

Prude attributes a lot of her professional and individual success to her community involvement. She has become a certified and an active member of the Michigan Minority Business Development Council, as well as the Women's Business Enterprise. These organizations have allowed her to make great connections, and in turn have helped her in operating her Coverall Franchise.

Since its inception in 1985, Coverall Cleaning Concepts has offered individuals the opportunity to join the best team in the industry, by providing the opportunity for financial independence and unlimited growth potential. For more information, please visit www.coverall.com or call 800-557-5571.

RESOURCE GUIDE--WEBSITES

National Minority Franchising Initiative (NMFI) (www.minorityfranchising.com)

International Franchise Association (IFA) (www.franchise.org)

BLACK ENTERPRISE Magazine (www.blackenterprise.com)

Wall Street Journal (www.startupjournal.com/franchising)

Small Business Administration (SBA) (www.sba.gov)

Resource Guide--Books and Periodicals

NMFI's Minority Franchising Guide

IFA's Franchising Opportunity Guide

Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC)
COPYRIGHT 2003 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Special Advertising Section
Author:Wallace, C. Everett
Publication:Black Enterprise
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2003
Words:4222
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