Ask Entrepreneur

Where can I get the money to start my franchise business?

I just finished my MBA and want to start my own company. I'm currently doing an internship in Munich, Germany, where I saw a restaurant I fell in love with. I want to buy a franchise and take it to Guatemala, where I come from. I need at least $600,000 to start. Would angels or private equity companies invest in a franchise business? What other options are there?
Jeff Elgin

Can I get compensation for a franchise product I created?

I created, tested, produced and marketed a successful new product in my store. Now the franchisor may be interested in rolling it out to the whole system. Is there an industry standard to compensate franchisees for this type of enhancement to the system?
Jeff Elgin

Is there a national convention/show that people can attend to see franchise opportunities?

It would be nice to be able to converse with people, not just read about franchises.
Jeff Elgin

How long must you be in business to start a franchise?

I know that the last three years are supposed to be included in the UFOC, but what if you have been in business for a lesser amount of time?
Jeff Elgin

How do I determine the resale value of a Curves franchise?

I'm interested in purchasing an existing Curves franchise that is being sold. I've looked at her financials, and I'm not sure what the resale value of the franchise is. She's not pulling in much money after all the bills are paid, but there is tremendous potential she hasn't tapped into yet. Her territory is very large, and she doesn't market. I'm told that she will accept lower than her asking price, but I'm not sure how to figure out what I should offer.
Jeff Elgin

I want to expand and would like to know the least expensive way to franchise my company.

I have an awning cleaning company that's been expanding in the past two years. In the past few months I've received three calls requesting information on how to begin an awning cleaning company from as far away as New York. I think my best bet is franchising, but can I do it it at a low cost, or can you suggest an alternative? I'm a sole proprietor. I've been servicing California, Nevada and Arizona for the past six years.
Jeff Elgin

As a wholesale distributor, how much should I offer a franchisor on the front end to service its franchisees?

We serve frozen dessert retailers (ice cream, frozen yogurt, etc.), and we've been given the opportunity to service a franchise company. This oppurtunity would be huge for us and we are scheduled to present our proposal in two weeks. I understand it's customary for distributors to give the franchisor a "kickback" or front-end commission based on sales. If this is true, is there a standard rate in terms of sales, and what percentage is reasonable?
Jeff Elgin

How do I buy out my employer's new, failing business?

I'm currently in school for skin care, scheduled to graduate in September 2008. However, my current employer owns a spa that isn't doing very well because of poor marketing and business ethics. I feel that with my marketing and business administration background, I can make this spa a success. I'm the last employee left, after only a month since the spa opened. How do I go about taking over this business?
Nina Kaufman

Can you help me understand the difference between various franchise fees?

A franchise I'm interested in mentions a fee of $20,000 and then lists capital requirements of up to $235,000. Can you clarify the difference between the two and explain the initial setup costs a franchisee is expected to pay?
Jeff Elgin

How do you recommend a slate of people to be elected to the board of directors at a shareholder meeting?

We are an internet company with 61 shareholders. We have our first shareholder meeting coming up in a few weeks, and I am wondering what is the proper way to elect our new board of directors. We have a list of names we would like approved and elected, but how is that presented to the shareholders?
Brad Sugars

Am I too old to buy a franchise?

I'm a 56 year old female that has worked in a corporate setting for the past 34 years. I'm in the process of doing my due diligence on a franchise. Except for maternity leaves I was never off for illness, worked in a management role, and was in a high stress envirornment. I'm very concerned that I won't have the physical stamina to be at my peak to run a successful business over the next 10-15 years. Do you have any statistics on how many females over 55 start their own businesses or other advice for me?
Bonnie Price

How can I get honest feedback on a new business that incorporates social networking?

I am working on an online company that will assist companies with marketing on Facebook using the most recent tools and opportunities made available by the Facebook team. I have all the resources and experience I need. I understand that many companies don't have have enough insight in social networking to know what users want and need. I can help them, but I want to talk to someone with experience that can give me some honest feedback. Where do I look? I am just a young entrepreneur who loves creating.
Lena West

Any advice for a group of friends who want to start investing in a group or entity?

I have a small group of friends with a wide range of expertise interested in forming some sort of investment group or entity. This group includes friends that want to keep their day job as an investment broker, ER doctor, accountant, fundraiser, political consultant, IT consultant, land developer, multi-family housing builder, restaurant owner, and a dentist. We're not sure what kind of business opportunity would be most beneficial for our situation--venture capital, consulting, investment banking or maybe something else.

What advice do you have for our group?
Tim Berry

How much of the capital invested in a franchise is deducted?

I have been doing research on the tax deductions that associate with the capital necessary to start and run a franchise. I am familiar with the Schedule C, but, am not sure how much I can depreciate each year on my taxes.
Jeff Elgin