The answer is seemingly obvious: A franchise is a system of uniformly branded and operated enterprises. Think McDonald’s, Great Clips, Planet Fitness and The UPS Store.

No matter which location you visit or where you interact with the brand, everything looks, feels and runs the same: The logo, signage and decor, the employee uniforms, the services and products offered, the customer service polices, and in particular your experience as a customer. The uniformity and consistency makes the brand instantly recognizable.

But hold on, you say – there are a multitude of retail chains (like Target and Macy’s) and restaurants and other companies that fit this description and they are not franchises – so what gives?

How Franchise Businesses Are Different

What makes franchising truly unique — and certainly different than, say, Costco and Chipotle — is the relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee. More specifically, the franchising business model works like this:

* You as a franchisee owner are awarded a license to operate a business using the name, trademark, logo, branding, products and business systems of the franchisor, usually within a defined geographic area

* Your relationship includes not only access to proprietary systems and assets but also year-round support & training from the franchisor for you and your team

* In exchange, you pay an upfront, one-time franchise fee plus ongoing royalties (usually a percentage of your monthly sales) and other fees to the franchisor

The business is entirely yours. You own it. When you sell it, you get the proceeds. But while you are part of the system, you agree to “follow the rules” and be a team player.

Less Risky Path to Business Ownership

Your franchise investment buys you a proven, ready-to-go business model. You skip the risk, headaches and trial-and-error of having to figure out a business from scratch. Some liken it to starting on third base

Financially, you have the potential to strike a trifecta with an annual income stream, tax advantages that boost your cash flow and equity growth that can result in a substantial profit when it comes time for you to sell your business.

You’re Autonomous But Not Alone

As a franchise owner, you enjoy the best of two worlds: Independence and interdependence. You get to be your own boss, build wealth and enjoy financial freedom. But you are also part of something bigger: An organization with resources to back you and a collaborative community of fellow franchisees who exchange ideas, intelligence and mutual support.

That’s why it is said of franchising, “You’re in business for yourself, but never by yourself.”

Affordable & Attractive “Non-food” Categories

You might associate franchising with fast food and lodging. In reality, about half of the 4,000 franchise brands in the U.S. are in “non-food” business sectors. These include under-the-radar brands in fast-growing, in-demand home, pet, children, seniors, wellness, automotive and business services.

These opportunities are oftentimes more affordable, practical and lucrative for most investors.

Since the pandemic, many of us have reassessed our career and lifestyle goals and opted to go into business for ourselves. In fact, the number of new business registrations surged to record levels in 2021 and 2022 – 10.4 million in total, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Franchising has been a conduit for this growth. Regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, franchising is now an $800 billion industry, with nearly 800,000 franchise locations and nine million employees. Franchises account for about 11% of all businesses, the U.S. Census Bureau says.

This is not to say that franchising is for everyone. That’s a determination we help you make early in our conversations.

But for most aspiring owners, franchising provides an established business model — a “business in a box” — that reduces risk and paves a simpler, more turnkey path towards creating wealth and financial independence.

Learn More About Franchising

The International Franchise Association is an excellent resource; you may find their FAQ section especially helpful.

These books provide terrific history, insight and advice about franchise ownership:
* The Franchisee Handbook: Everything You Need to Know about Buying a Franchise
* Adventures in Franchise Ownership: 4 Pillars to Strengthen, Protect and Grow Your Business
* Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s

Want Help Evaluating Franchise Opportunities?

We can help you identify and invest in the franchise business that is right for you. Our personalized ownership recommendations help you save time, reduce risk and invest confidently – with no fee or hidden costs.

Our process starts with a free 15-minute conversation during which we introduce ourselves, learn about you and give you a sense of how we’d work together. You can then decide if you’d like to proceed.

No obligation, no catch – we invite you to chat when you’re ready. You can schedule easily online for the date and time of your preference.