For some entrepreneurs, franchising offers an opportunity not just to compete with category killers, but to actually become one. In Fredericksberg, Texas, population 9,500, InTouchElectronics Inc./RadioShack hasn't faced much competition yet. And if competitors did come to town, Jeff McCoy says he wouldn't lose any sleep. After all, McCoy benefits from the power of Radio Shack's strong national brand name--stores are strategically positioned across the United States so 94 percent of Americans live or work within minutes of a RadioShack.
Unlike Adams, McCoy didn't investigate other franchises. He'd already spent 10 years working in a RadioShack owned by his in-laws in Van Horn, Texas. He liked the business and, in 1996, figured he was ready to branch out on his own. When he found out about the availability of the Fredericksberg location, he jumped on the opportunity and purchased the franchise for $60,000, which included a franchise fee, merchandise and fixtures.
McCoy says he was up and running pretty quickly. "Name recognition means a lot because it brings in customers who know what they're going to get as soon as they walk through the door," he says.
In a fiercely competitive business environment, franchising offers start-up entrepreneurs quick entry into an already established industry. It also offers the best of both worlds. You capture immediate acceptance by having the brand recognition of a well-known chain while still offering the personal service of an individually owned store. You also stand to recoup your original investment a lot faster than if you started a business from scratch. All told, that adds up to a compelling combination greatly enhancing your chances of success.
PartyLand Inc., (800) 778-9563, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pet Valu, (888) 564-6784, http://www.petvalu.com
RadioShack, (800) 844-3870, http://www.radioshack.com