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All That Glitters

It's easy to be blinded by all the tempting opportunities out there. Keep these points in mind while doing your research, and you'll be sure to strike franchise gold.

This story appears in the February 2004 issue of Start Up.

Buying a franchise is a complicated investment-don't let anyone tell you it isn't. If you are new to the idea of getting involved in a franchised business, take your time, and have a good look around. No doubt you'll find some sparkling opportunities. But there are also some sinkhole investments you'll want to avoid. The trick, of course, is to tell them apart. As with most investments, there's no way to separate the gold from the fool's gold without careful investigation. Make sure it's for real, and reduce the risks of the investment as much as possible.

Here are the seven essential things you should know about going into a franchise program:

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