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Established name recognition. Cooperative marketing. Bulk purchasing power. Training and management expertise. They are some early advantages of buying a franchise rather than building your own business. They're the types of advantages solo entrepreneurs might reap -- if they're lucky -- after years of hard work in the trenches.

Naturally, franchising has its drawbacks, too. Agreements between franchisors and their franchisees can seem pretty rigid, especially to eager, innovative self-starters who expect to grow their companies as they see fit. However, a growing number of savvy franchisees are learning how to manage creatively and profitably -- within the established rules of the mother company.

So what are you waiting for? Dive into this collection of articles, tips, and tools and get franchising.

Investigate Franchisors Thoroughly

Information to Secure from a Franchisor
Here's a helpful checklist for investigating franchise opportunities.
Franchise Site Evaluation Form
When trying to evaluate suitable site locations for your potential franchise, use this form as a guideline.
Ten Common Mistakes of Prospective Franchisees
Thinking of buying a franchise? Avoid these common mistakes.
Franchise Boot Camp
Several workshops have popped up around the country to help prospective buyers of franchises evaluate their options more thoroughly.
Rude Awakenings May Await New Franchisees
How much do you really know about that franchise you're planning to buy? These tales from the field show why you need to carefully investigate ownership and operational issues before signing a contract.

Develop Your Business Plan

Plan for Success
Want to create a winning business plan? First, check out inc.com's latest guide to online resources that can help.
The Complete Franchise Business Plan
A franchise business plan is similar to a traditional plan except that the former has to combine components of both the franchisee and the franchisor, or parent company. Use these plan writing guidelines to get you started.
Are Your Franchise Expenses in Line?
This work sheet calculates the percentage of your business expenses in relation to revenue, and compares them to peer franchisees' expenses. Unusually high percentages for expenses may indicate areas to look for cost savings.

Understand Franchise Agreements

The Collectively Bargained Franchise Agreement
To make its system more attractive to ambitious franchisees, Taco John's took a radical step: It brought them in on the development process

Get Managing!

Here's a roundup of case studies and Inc. classics about franchise management.

(Re)born to Be Wild
The roof leaked, the financials were sketchy, the employees were unmotivated, and the customers were disgruntled--so Mike Schwartz decided to buy the place. Now his Harley-Davidson business is a $53 million-a-year phenomenon.
How Ideas Rise at Franchisor Great Harvest
To allow people to create their own enterprises, Great Harvest faciliates both the casual and formal sharing of ideas and information.
Extreme Managing
Jack Hartnett, head of 54 Sonic restaurants, demands that employees follow his orders unquestioningly and assumes responsibility for their personal and professional lives.
Inner Beauties
Here's how Children's Orchard, a franchiser of children's discount stores, uses an intranet to alert franchisees to news about new products and unite them under a common corporate identity.
Franchisees Thrive with Open-Book Management
Two Chick-fil-A owner-operators share tips for opening the books in a franchise.
The Automatic Daily Scorecard
A group of savvy Terminix franchises shares daily operational data and information with a computer-generated scorecard. Here's how.




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