Breaking The Mold

Clueless?

You've decided buying a franchise is right for you. Now, how do you pick the right franchise? Investigate the industries that interest you the most; then assess your area of interest to see if there's a market for that type of business.

Have franchise companies in those industries send more information. But don't rely just on these materials; head to the library or go online for magazine and newspaper articles about each company you're considering. Are the articles positive? Does the company seem to be well-managed and growing?

Check with the Better Business Bureau and consumer or franchise regulators in your state to see if there are any complaints against the company or if it has been involved in lawsuits involving fraud or violation of Federal Trade Commission regulations. If the company is registered with Dun & Bradstreet, ask for a D&B report (800-234-3867), which details the company's financial standing, payment promptness and more. Also refer to Entrepreneur magazine's Annual Franchise 500®, the best and most comprehensive rating of franchises in the world, available at http://www.entrepreneur.com.

Lastly, if you live in one of the 14 states (California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin) that regulate franchises, contact the state franchise authority to see if the company complies with registration requirements.

Contact Sources

Complete Music, (800) 843-3866, http://www.cmusic.com

Computer Renaissance, (706) 854-9474, comprenaug@mindspring.com

Laund-UR-Mutt, 637 S. Broadway, Ste. P, Boulder, CO 80303, (303) 543-9592

Rita's Water Ice, (800) 677-RITA

Yogen Früz Worldwide Inc., fax: (905) 479-5235, http://www.yogenfruz.com

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This article was originally published in the April 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Breaking The Mold.

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