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Where the Money Is

The path to financing a franchise may not be easy. But if you know what lenders are looking for, you'll be well on your way.

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This story appears in the January 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you think franchisees have it tough these days, think back to 1979, when Deena Yaris opened her first storefront franchise, a beauty salon called Lafemmina, in New Hyde Park, New York. The Federal Reserve's basic interest rate had doubled in a matter of months to 14 percent, and there was no ceiling in sight. Any new business would have to be hugely successful just to meet loan payments on start-up capital, let alone generate income for its owner.

But Yaris had confidence in the concept and her business acumen-a faith that was ultimately borne out. She went on to open one more Lafemmina salon and two The Lemon Tree salons. Five years ago, she did what most franchisees only dream of: She bought out the company's founder and became the franchisor. Today, 58 franchise salons from Connecticut to Florida carry The Lemon Tree name, and Yaris has plans for another 100.

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