Jobs are scarce these days, but the bleak employment market could be just the kick in the pants you need to strike out on your own.
An easy way of becoming a small-business owner is to open a franchise. This niche has been growing for the past 50 years and led the recovery during the slumps in the 1980s and 1990s, says Michael Seid, coauthor of "Franchising for Dummies."
He predicts that it'll be the same for today's economy.
"As people lose their jobs or are threatened with losing their jobs or simply because the pressure of doing more for the company with less personnel pushes them to obtaining their 'great American dream' of business ownership, 2009 should see a strong increase in prospective franchisees," Seid says.
Before you sink your retirement savings, keep these seven tips in mind:
Are you the right fit? Being a franchisee takes a certain personality. You need to be ambitious but willing to execute the brand strategy designed by the franchisor. You need to be a go-getter but also able to follow orders. "If you want a job, get a job," says Scott Evert, director of franchise sales and resales at international business brokerage firm Sunbelt. "If you want to own a business but want structure, then you're a good franchisee. You also have to be a good listener and a fast learner."Consult experts: If this is your first stab at being a small-business owner, consider working with a broker, who gets paid by the franchisor to locate new franchisees, or a lawyer who specializes in this niche. They can help you narrow down what companies you would like to partner with. After all, there are thousands out there, from pet stores to auto services