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Should I set up dealerships or franchises in order to expand my company?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I have created a garage improvement company in Boise, Idaho in the past six months. I considered purchasing a similar garage improvement franchise, but decided that I did not have to go that route. My company is ready to be launched and I have interested parties in other parts of the US. Although my company is new, I have little doubt that if I structure the business operations right, we could quite possibly exceed outfits like Premiere Garage.
<P>Whether to use dealerships, franchises or some other strategy to expand your business is a very big question and the correct answer is that it depends. There are any number of factors to consider and your personal and professional situation, combined with the goals you have for the business, will drive your decision on the growth strategy that's best for you.</P>
<P>My advice would be to start first with an initial consultation with an experienced franchise and business opportunity attorney. You can get referrals easily from the International Franchise Association or other sources, but make sure the attorney has a practice specializing in these forms of legal entities. Initial consultations are usually free or low cost and you can find out what the legal requirements and projected costs are to get your business set up to franchise or have dealerships or other forms of business opportunities. </P>
<P>You can also discuss what the business pros and cons are for each option and get other thoughts and advice. On a final note, I'm pretty confident that any experienced franchise or dealership attorney or advisor is going to tell you that six months operating experience in a single independent operation is likely an insufficient foundation for forming a franchise or dealership company, unless you have extensive prior experience in forming such a company in some other business. As Ted Turner was quoted in his biography title a few years ago, "It ain't as easy as it looks." So proceed with caution and make sure you've got plenty of extra capital, regardless of what route you choose.</P>
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