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5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Franchise With dissatisfying careers and back-to-back layoffs, many people are choosing to take control of their personal and professional future by exploring franchise opportunities. Consider these five tips when looking at franchises.

By Paul Segreto Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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With dissatisfying careers and back-to-back layoffs, a lot of people are choosing to take control of their personal and professional future by exploring entrepreneurship.

Of those who realize their entrepreneurial potential, many choose franchise entrepreneurship as the vehicle to take them from employment to empowerment due to the already proven business model and built-in, ongoing support system, among other benefits.

If becoming a franchisee seems like the right path for you, follow the tips below to find the perfect opportunity.

1. Keep an open mind, then focus. No one wakes up and says, "I want to be in the septic tank industry," but I know someone making a lot of money and meeting his lifestyle goals doing just that. The bottom line is: Don't rule out a business without learning or seeing what the day-to-day will look like.

Related: Franchise Players: How This Franchisee Made Dumpsters a Family Business

It's important to find a franchise that allows you to reach your desired income, lifestyle, wealth and equity goals. For instance, think about a mom returning to the work force who knows she wants to interact with children on a daily basis. There are hundreds of options that allow her to do just that. Now, she needs to decide if she would like to be hands on as a teacher or if she would rather manage a facility that tutors children in math. Deciding between the two is easy if she considers which day-to-day position she would prefer and how that will impact her other goals.

2. Be proactive with your research. After you've determined what role you want in a franchise, it's important to start scouting different options. Physically visit many different franchise locations to see if there is a void in the marketplace and start thinking strategically about how you could fill it.

Next, browse the web to see what is available in other areas and determine whether or not it will be a fit in your community. For example, if your neighborhood has many well-run restaurants but none dedicated to ethnic food, it may be time to look for Mexican franchise restaurants within your budget.

3. Make sure the franchisor has experience. Before signing on to a franchise, it is essential to ask the franchisor about the executive team and its past industry experience. A potential franchisee should look for a company that has a corporate store -- or better yet several -- that have seen success that can be replicated. If this isn't the case, find out if the company leaders have had significant experience at another franchise and are now applying that knowledge to this concept.

Related: Franchise Players: How This Pizza Chain Power Couple Balances Business and Romance

4. Reach out to other franchisees. When asking other franchisees about their experience, it's important to take the good with the bad and to examine a large sample size before making a statement about the franchise in general. I call this the "dilution factor." If one franchisee says they can't turn a profit at their store, make sure it isn't because they refuse to clean the bathrooms and their customer service is lacking. By talking to a wide array of people you can get the best feel for the franchise as a whole.

5. Read the franchise disclosure document carefully. The first thing to look at is how much a franchise would cost to purchase. If the money is there, then check out "item 19," which lays out the financial fortunes representation. Make sure you have a financial advisor who can look at that item with you and see the type of profit a franchisee can make on average.

Finally, take a look at the post-termination clause in the agreement. I am a big believer in exit strategies, because sometimes you may later find a franchise is not the right fit and sometimes things just happen. In any case, it's important to protect yourself should there be a situation where you want to disembark from the franchise.

Related: 100 franchises for under $50,000

Paul Segreto

Entrepreneur, 30-year Franchise Industry Professional

Paul Segreto is the CEO of Franchise Foundry, a franchise-consulting company specializing in working with emerging brands, and host of the weekly internet radio show Franchise Today. For more than three decades, he has exclusively served the franchise industry as a senior-level corporate executive, consultant and coach, advocate, multi-unit franchisee, area developer and franchisor.

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