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It's Here!

Dig in to the 29th annual Franchise 500® to find the best business for you.

To go directly to the 2008 Franchise 500® listing, click here.

When you've been honing a craft for 29 years, it can become somewhat of an art. Our Franchise 500® listing is indeed part craft, part art. The craft comes from nearly three decades of researching, surveying, compiling, analyzing and cataloging information on thousands of franchises. The art comes from our personal expertise, which takes our listing above and beyond any set of numbers and cold calculations, as well as from the heart and soul our team put into this 29th Annual Franchise 500®. For the months leading up to our ranking, our hardworking Franchise 500® team--Tracy Stapp and Emily Weisburg--was consumed with, occasionally even monomaniacal about, the work involved.

We started with dozens of huge bins of forms and UFOCs, then whittled them down to the 88 pages you have before you--in the process, tasks such as lugging those bins around the office became as central to us as eating and drinking are to you.

Why do we care that much about this annual listing? Because we see it as much more than that. This section is personal for us, because we know how personal it is for you. You're not reading this just out of curiosity, but because you dream of owning your own business and believe that with the right franchise, you can finally achieve your dream--and even change your life. It is this quest for the right franchise that we consider the core of the Franchise 500®. This year, we received an overwhelming response to our survey, from more than 800 franchise companies with over 436,250 units across the globe. And the companies that ranked in the Franchise 500® earned $305 billion in revenue worldwide. Just as you believe franchising may be the path toward your future business (or future empire), we believe we can help you sort through the flood of opportunities and information--so that you, too, can be the right person in the right place at the right time with the necessary information and preparation, and ultimately buy the franchise that's perfect for you.

Our goal to guide you extends even beyond our ranking. In the following section, we show you how to find real answers to your most difficult research questions, track the latest franchise trends inspired by societal needs and wants, learn about innovative programs that will help you get into franchising even when money is an object, and more. The climax of this section is the article in which we profile our No. 1 franchisor. This year, that franchisor is . . . 7-Eleven, dethroning Subway from the No. 1 spot for the first time in seven years.

We knew the first person we had to tell was Joanne Webb-Joyce, 7-Eleven's senior director of national franchise sales, who has diligently filled out our Franchise 500® information forms for as long as we can remember. Her reply: "You've made my day! Being No. 1 makes me very proud for 7-Eleven, as it has been a goal for the company--and me--for many, many years. Every year I filled out the survey, I had hoped it would be the 'winning' year. This is an honor that every franchise company should strive for, as it recognizes the organization itself and all their franchisees. Nothing could be more important."

It's that kind of spirit that makes franchising the economic powerhouse that it is--and makes our Franchise 500® the world's best and most comprehensive franchise listing.

Like this article? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kindle Fire.

This article was originally published in the January 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: It's Here! .

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