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Best of the Best

We've compiled the world's biggest and best franchise listing--now it's up to you to get started.
December 20, 2006
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/172026

In today's longevity-challenged society, when something not only lasts for 28 years, but also evolves and grows stronger during that time, people invariably want to know its secret. There's no big secret. OurFranchise 500® ranking may have started almost three decades ago, but not for one year have we rested on our laurels. Honestly, we don't even rest. We take special care and invest thousands of hours of work in each and every Franchise 500® listing-researching, compiling, crafting, assessing and even over-assessing. (If you knew the staff here, you'd know that assessing things is one of our passions.)

Our goal is to not only maintain the Franchise 500®'s position as the world's best and most comprehensive franchise listing, but also to honestly say that this year's listing is our best ever. And as our commitment grows, so does the Franchise 500®. This year, our 28th Annual Franchise 500® listing includes franchise companies boasting a total of more than 358,000 units and $400 billion in sales worldwide.

So why have we made it a point to monitor the world of franchising for longer than some franchisees have been alive? For the very same reason we launched the Franchise 500® in the first place: We believe franchising provides invaluable opportunities to people who dream of owning their own businesses. We know that franchising can help you start and grow a business successfully, even when you don't know the first thing about a particular industry or business. Franchising can provide valuable training, both initially and continually as your business grows. Last but not least, franchising can instantly make your business part of a powerful system-maybe even a worldwide empire-so that no matter how small a scale you're starting out on, you still have the strength of a household name behind you.

Of course, given that franchising is such a huge economic juggernaut, we also realize that the prospect of choosing the right franchise from the thousands of companies that offer an opportunity can be overwhelming. That is why a major part of our goal in putting out the Franchise 500® is to help you navigate your way through what will most likely be one of the biggest life decisions you'll ever make.

This year, we do this by offering a step-by-step guide to researching a franchise ("Meet Your Match"). We have also enlisted a franchise expert to reveal everything you need to know about the top four keys to franchise success, so you can decide if you've got what it takes ("Are You Franchisee Material?"). Finally, in "Show Me the Money", we tackle one of the most common questions that prospective franchisees have: How do I get the money I need to buy a franchise?

Still, perhaps one of the most hotly anticipated articles in this issue is the one in which we reveal our No. 1 franchise for 2007. It's the final piece snapped into our Franchise® 500 puzzle, the culmination of our months of research, the fill-in-the-blank we started wondering about months ago when we mailed out our first Franchise 500® form. Curious? Unlike us, you don't have to wait months and months to find out who made it to the top of our Franchise 500® ranking-read "Full Speed Ahead" to find out who it is.

Of course, all these articles are just opening acts to the Franchise 500® itself-the massive ranking we have compiled that provides you with everything you need to know to begin investigating hundreds of franchisors. From contact information to startup and royalty costs, it's all included in an easy-to-read format, making the Franchise 500® ranking the perfect first step in your franchise search.

Think of our purpose in creating the Franchise 500® this way: Once you find the right franchise, your franchisor guides you through the startup process. But before you find the right franchise, we're here to help guide you through the franchise selection process. It all starts as soon as you turn the page-so what are you waiting for?

To view the 2007 Franchise 500® listing, click here.