Find the Right Franchise in 2007 Our 28th Annual Franchise 500® listing is here. Take a look--we're sure you'll discover which franchise is the perfect match for you.

By Kristin Edelhauser

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Does your New Year's resolution have anything to do with starting a new business in '07? If so, we're making it that much easier for you to keep that resolution with our 28th Annual Franchise 500® listing.

Our editors have worked their fingers to the bone to bring you the best, most comprehensive franchising list ever. In fact, this year's listing includes franchise companies that boast more than 358,000 units and over $400 billion in sales worldwide.

While the numbers speak for themselves in terms of business success, what exactly sets franchising apart from starting something from scratch? To begin with, franchising can help you start and grow a successful business even if you don't know the first thing about a particular industry. It can also provide valuable training at the very start of your business and as it continues to grow. Most important, though, is the fact that franchising allows you to operate your own business, on as small a scale as you choose, but with the powerful strength of a household name behind you.

So what company had the magic ingredients to make it to the spot at the top of the list?

We can finally reveal our pick for the number-one franchise for 2007--discover what it is here and how the winning franchise reached this coveted spot.

OK, you've read about how they did it's your turn! Follow these five simple steps to find out if franchising could be in your future.

First: You need to determine if franchising is the right venture for you. Read up on this advice from a franchise expert who lets you in on the top four keys to franchise success in "Are You Franchisee Material?" To help you better understand who makes up the franchise buyers of today, check out the four major buyer categories our survey results discovered in "Look Who's Buying." From second-career executives to minorities, these dynamic groups are dominating the world of franchising.

Second: Make sure you read our step-by-step guide to researching and buying a franchise called "Meet Your Match."

Third: Get smart advice from our franchise expert, Jeff Elgin, on exactly what you need to know to choose the best franchise for you.

Fourth: Once you've decided that franchising is the way to go, it's time to research some franchises of interest. Visit our Franchise Zone, where you'll find information on more than 1,200 franchise opportunities, including startup costs, financing options, training and support, and more.

Fifth: To find the funds you need to buy the franchise of your choice, check out "Show Me the Money" to see what options you have for tracking down the cash.

Wavy Line

As's staff writer, Kristin Edelhauser writer features, blogs and other pieces for the site. She previously worked as a writer and researcher for the NBC San Diego affiliate.

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