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Head of the Class

Your assignment: Buy a Franchise. Step 1: Take our crash course in finding the right franchise for you.

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

Settle down, class. Today we're going to explore how to locate and evaluate a good franchised business. Not all of you will want to hold down a job for your whole working life. Let's have a show of hands: Who's dreamed of owning your own business? OK, that's most of you. Buying a franchise is one way to get there; some even say it's the easiest way. So take notes, ask questions, and for goodness' sake, please stay awake!

Lesson No. 1: Is It in You?

Not everyone who raised his or her hand will be happy as a franchisee. Owning a business is tough work, and most franchises have to be run according to a very detailed, strict set of guidelines. If you're a high-spirited entrepreneur who wants to do it your way without following somebody else's rules, you may want to look for an independent business to start or purchase; owning and running a franchise may frustrate you. So the first thing to do is to know what you want out of a business and whether it will bring you fulfillment. If you like the idea of running a business where you deal with customers at your own counter or provide services to businesses, or if you love sales or have writing skills, then keep these skills and preferences in mind when you start looking through franchise ideas. They'll help you zero in on the right business for you.

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