If buying an existing business doesn't sound right for you, but starting from scratch sounds a bit intimidating, you could be suited for franchise ownership. What is a franchise--and how do you know if you're right for one? Essentially, a franchisee pays an initial fee and ongoing royalties to a franchisor. In return, the franchisee gains the use of a trademark, ongoing support from the franchisor, and the right to use the franchisor's system of doing business and sell its products or services.
In addition to a well-known brand name, buying a franchise offers many other advantages that aren't available to the entrepreneur starting a business from scratch. Perhaps the most significant is that you get a proven system of operation and training in how to use it. New franchisees can avoid a lot of the mistakes start-up entrepreneurs typically make because the franchisor has already perfected daily operations through trial and error.
Reputable franchisors conduct market research before selling a new outlet, so you'll feel greater confidence that there is a demand for the product or service. Failing to do adequate market research is one of the biggest mistakes independent entrepreneurs typically make; as a franchisee, it's done for you. The franchisor also provides you a clear picture of the competition and how to differentiate yourself from them.
Finally, franchisees enjoy the benefit of strength in numbers. You'll gain from economics of scale in buying materials, supplies and services, such as advertising, as well as in negotiating for locations and lease terms. By comparison, independent operators have to negotiate on their own, usually getting less favorable terms. Some suppliers won't deal with new businesses or will reject your business because your account isn't big enough.