FRANCHISES

Congrats, Graduate. Here's A Franchise.

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Happy graduation! I got you a business. Hiring a kid to work in the family business after graduation is one thing. Buying them a business for graduation is quite another. According to the Wall Street Journal, more and more parents are buying businesses, especially franchises, for their kids to take over when they graduate. According to the story, "many parents see business ownership as a better bet for their kids' future than a graduate degree," and they believe franchises have a built-in marketing system and brand recognition. Though there are obvious risks involved, one parent who bought his son an internet-consulting franchise told the Journal, "As a parent, the best gift you can ever receive is to see your children happy and successful."

Study shows dismal outlook for small-businesses. The National Small Business Association released its 2010 Mid-Year Economic Report yesterday, and the picture it paints isn't pretty. According to the report, small businesses are facing the most difficult business climate they've seen in the last three years. In a survey of 400 small-business owners, 59 percent said they expect the U.S. economy to remain flat in the coming year, while 29 percent expect a recession. Only 11 percent of small businesses hired new employees in the last 12 months, while 25 percent were forced to cut jobs. To put it plainly: "Despite a slight increase in optimism just six months ago, small businesses today report decreases in nearly every indicator including business confidence, revenues, job growth, and growth projections."

In social-media news... The location-based service boom isn't such a blowout. In fact, only 4 percent of online adults in the United States use any kind of location-aware service, according a Forester study, Mashable reports. Who is really wired? Residents of the U.K., a PR firm finds. Nearly 65 percent have social network profiles; 60 percent read blogs. And what does it mean that a hedge fund acquired a 1 percent stake in LinkedIn for $20 million? That the site could be worth more than $2 billion, Bloomberg reports. And if you're looking to boost your social-media presence, check out advice from entrepreneurial blogger Maisha Walker, who was featured on an Inc.com live chat this morning.

Honest Tea staying honest. Two years ago, we pondered whether Honest Tea CEO Seth Goldman had gone to the dark side after selling a 40-percent stake in his organic teamaker to Coca-Cola. But in this interview with The Wall Street Journal, Goldman challenges critics to find ways in which his product has changed for the worse. "[L]ook at where we are now: none of our drinks have gotten sweeter; none of our [ingredients] have gotten cheaper." And as a winner of our top workplaces contest, it seems Honest Tea is still a great place to work. Next year, though, Coca-Cola has the opportunity to buy the rest of the company. Goldman says he expects that to happen. The true test could start then.

10 Chinese brands invading U.S. shelves. Watch out, inventors and manufacturers. Business Insider has a slideshow of 10 Chinese brands shouldering their way into the U.S. market, and they're based on innovation rather than competitive pricing. These companies sell everything from household appliances and cars to commercial airline flights - and if they're in your industry, you should steel yourself for some stiff competition in the coming decade.

Apple charges up. Amid an array of product releases yesterday, including faster iMacs and Mac Pro computers and a "Magic Trackpad" that some bloggers are calling a "mouse killer," there was a tiny new iProduct. It's a battery charger. Not for computer or iPhone batteries - just for regular AAs. Well. The Unofficial Apple Weblog called them "deceptively cool" and MacRumors called it one of the most interesting product announcements du jour. The Los Angeles Times' Mark Milian was underwhelmed, though, writing: "We're just hoping to see a commercial with some colorful, dancing silhouettes replacing batteries in their TV remotes."

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Last updated: Jul 28, 2010

CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN | Staff Writer | Senior Writer

Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is a senior writer at Inc.




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