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Many franchisors recognize that not everyone interested in buying a popular franchise can afford the purchase price outright. Don't neglect to diligently research the best franchises regardless of their financing options.
Remember not to immediately write off the idea of buying a top franchise because you don't have the cash. Instead, find out whether the franchise you've identified as the best franchise for you offers any financing options. Franchisors are often times looking for people with the drive and energy to succeed, not necessarily the people who can afford to finance a business from scratch.
The best franchises aren't really the best unless the franchisors that operate them are up to par as well. The legal requirements necessary to become a franchisor don't at all prove that a particular business is ready and able to become a good franchisor.
Profitable franchises need to stem from a business that can be sensibly franchised. Equally as important however, is the need for skills to mentor franchises--not just run individual businesses. In other words, someone may be able to run a successful business, but not have what it takes to package that success on a larger scale and create a top franchise. A successful franchisor needs to have the resources, staff, and knowledge to support its franchises.
It can be helpful to check out the management running the franchisor of the top franchises you are investigating. Find out the names and employment history of the managers. Do they have prior experience in running a franchise operation? Also, check out any indication of shady business deals. In other words, look for criminal records, bankruptcies, and a lawsuit histories related to your top franchises. Alternately, look for past examples of meeting obligations, behaving honorably, and earning stellar reputations.
When you invest in a franchise, you want to be sure it's of top quality. You are relying upon the franchisor to meet their obligations to you so don't ignore omens presented by their past business dealings.
Whether or not a particular category is consistent with top ten franchises can and will change repeatedly. Look at what the top ten business trends are and find franchises in those areas. Fitness and weight loss are perennial favorites, as are businesses related to children and seniors. However, don't choose a franchise solely based on its placement in the top ten franchises when you're doing your research.
Always remember that trends come and go. Be sure to ask your franchisor about their predictions on new trends as they come up. Make sure you don't buy into a top franchise only to find it last year's fad by the time you need to make a profit.
The use of a franchise broker is tricky. Many brokers will tell you they help buyers find a top franchise. Use them for advice but be aware that most brokers are getting paid by the franchisor after the purchase of a franchise. When they are advising you, always remember that they have a financial incentive to get you to close the deal and purchase that top franchise. In other words, make sure to get advice from a franchise attorney and an accountant on the technical details.