Go Figure

For one couple, finding the right franchise match was as easy as 1, 2, 3.
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This story appears in the September 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Thomas Cotten set out to find a franchise, he had a seemingly impossible order. "I was looking for a business that didn't require a lot of startup capital. I didn't want to carry any inventory, I wanted a service business, I wanted to be able to work out of my home, and I didn't want any employees," he says. Today, Thomas, 41, and his wife, Michelle, 38, do have employees, but otherwise, their Columbia, South Carolina, AccuTrak Inventory Specialists franchise met their personal criteria--and more.

As genius as Thomas, a former polymer chemist, and Michelle, a stay-at-home mom, are, their most important skill in owning an AccuTrak Inventory Specialists franchise is just knowing how to count. After all, physically counting inventory is the service the Cottens have been providing various companies since they opened for business in 2000. They currently serve clients ranging from small grocery stores to hospital pharmacies and even a plant nursery.

Over the years, the Cottens have repeatedly demonstrated AccuTrak's value to their clients and, in some cases, have even saved clients thousands of dollars by identifying missing merchandise due to theft by dishonest employees. Their service is also helpful in providing clients with an unbiased inventory value for an accounting audit or IRS review. Meanwhile, with 2005 sales of $225,000, the Cottens are happily busy counting profits alongside their clients' inventory.

Edition: July 2017

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