Franchise Outlook For 2012

Franchise opportunities are plenty so long as people have dreams that address other people’s needs.  A unique product or special service could be a great concept for a successful business if only you can find a financial partner.  Financing – that is where the difficulty lies.  Lending institutions, particularly large banks, should extend more loans especially to small businesses.  This was and still is one of the major challenges the franchising industry faces in 2012.

Franchises connect with their markets by networking through the Internet.  Customers, on the other hand, can easily and in a timely manner, search, identify, locate and contact franchise companies that they are interested in.  Even franchises that are home-based can be competitive with the help of networking partners.  The Internet sort of levels the playing field for all.

Through social media, non-IFA (International Franchise Association) companies can air their offerings and concerns as broadly and widely as IFA members.   The public can likewise be aware of the goods and services offered, developments, trends and issues in the franchise world.

For this year, franchise growth will continue to struggle as the US economy has not moved forward.  The IFA for its part is targeting two sectors – professional athletes and military veterans – to consider franchise opportunities.  Veterans returning from overseas assignments are suited to be franchise owners because of their discipline, leadership skills and technological know-how.  Some IFA members are even offering incentives like discounted fees and free training to interested veterans.

Professional athletes, on the other hand, do not have much problem as far as financing is concerned.  The industry will greatly benefit from the publicity brought by their involvement in franchising. has more on what to expect of the franchising industry this 2012.

There’s certainly no shortage of dynamic concepts to explore in franchising in 2012. Finding opportunities to get into a business of your own is the easy part. Finding a willing financial partner to help you invest in a franchise business is still a bit more challenging.

I’m still trying to decide whether the combination of social media, and the business transparency that tends to be associated with it, has turned the IFA into a more powerful industry force, or not. However, the growth of social media has evened the playing field in the franchise industry; now voices outside of the IFA–independent ones–can be heard loud and clear, too. The industry is changing, and anyone with an Internet connection can watch some of the changes that are happening in real time.

For 2012, the IFA has decided to focus on two areas in 2012; one is nothing new, but the other one…

1. Military Veterans

Veterans who are interested in possibly becoming franchise owners will undoubtedly run across the VetFran program. This program, founded in 1991, features 400-plus IFA member franchisors that offer training, mentoring and financial incentives to veterans interested in small business ownership and/or a career path in franchising. To date, approximately 2,000 veterans have become franchise business owners through this popular program.

2. Pro Athletes

There’s really only one reason that the IFA is courting professional athletes, and it’s pretty obvious; the athletes don’t need small business loans.

The thought of having 16,000 wealthy prospective franchise owners eventually searching for business opportunities in the world of franchising is a nice one.

2012 will be a very important year in franchising. If the U.S. economy continues to struggle, growth will continue to be sparse in the franchise industry. But if things finally do start to turn around, there’s a lot of pent-up demand for the great products and services that franchises provide to both consumers and businesses.

If lenders start making more loans available for people who want to start businesses, there’s a large pool of prospective franchisees sitting in the wings, waiting to take their shot at The American Dream. …

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