10 Franchise Categories Poised for Growth in 2012

What does the future hold for the franchise world? Some industries on Entrepreneur’s list of 10 trends for 2012, like child care and senior care, have been going strong for years–thanks to the ever-growing demographic groups they serve–and show no signs of stopping. Others, like spa services and health services, have just started taking the franchise world by storm in recent years. Whether they’re new or old, these are the franchise categories that are primed for continued growth over the next year–whatever the economic circumstances may be.
This list is not a ranking and is not intended as a recommendation of any particular franchise company. Hot or not, all opportunities should be researched thoroughly before you jump into one. That means carefully reading the FDD, consulting with an attorney and accountant, and talking to current and former franchisees to find out if the franchise is a good fit for you.
The new breed of “better burger” restaurants is on the rise, while more seasoned fast-food franchises expand and experiment with their menus in order to compete.
Child Care
Child care is a need that’s not going away, and franchises offer parents a variety of options, ranging from nannies and babysitters to educational child-care centers.
Children’s Enrichment
Kids are more active than ever, and whether they’re interested in arts and crafts, sports and fitness or computers and science, there’s a franchise out there that will appeal to them.
As long as there are New Year’s resolutions, the fitness industry will keep going strong. And resolution-makers will find a plethora of franchised fitness options, including dance classes, martial arts, boxing and more.
Health Services
Recent years have seen a surge of companies looking to draw physicians into the franchise fold, with offerings as diverse as weight loss, physical therapy, chiropractic services and urgent care.
Resale Stores
Resale stores are experiencing a renaissance thanks to consumers looking for ways to make their money go further. Clothing stores dominate the category, but you’ll also find electronics, sporting goods and even musical instruments.
This year Subway overtook McDonald’s to become the biggest quick-service chain in the world–a testament to just how popular sandwiches are. And even with that titan in their midst, smaller sandwich franchises are still finding plenty of room to grow.
Senior Care
With the first baby boomers turning 65 this year, the already-strong market for senior services is set to explode. Franchise offerings have expanded from simple companion care to include medical care, assisted-living placement, transportation and more.
Spa Services
Bucking expectations, franchises offering luxuries like massage and spa services thrive in tough economic conditions, thanks in large part to membership-based business models.
Education is one area where parents aren’t willing to skimp, so it’s no surprise that tutoring franchises number in the thousands and continue to grow.
Lee Thomas
“Helping People into the RIGHT Business/Franchise for THEIR SUCCESS
Franchise Paths to Success a dba of
Integrity Business Ventures, Inc.
888 701 6413

Franchise ownership could provide a route back to work in the face of high unemployment

It’s clear that the effects of the “recession” are still with us, and unemployment is still at unacceptable high levels.
Despite the doom and gloom, many of those who have found themselves unemployed have taken control of their own futures by seeking to start up new franchise businesses. Franchise ownership can give you the benefit of establishing your own business but with the added help of founding it on a proven, franchised business model along with the support and training of the franchisor.
If you are one of those affected by the recent rise in unemployment and facing the difficulties and frustrations of applying for new job vacancies with increasingly greater competition, starting up a franchise business could be your ticket to get you back on track.
If you have come out of a previous position with a redundancy package, then it could be that you decide to invest some of this capital into starting up a new franchise business venture. Though some franchises do require fairly substantial upfront franchise fees, there are others which are also affordable to those with lesser available capital.
Whatever your financial situation or preference, you will almost certainly be able to find a franchise business to suit your needs. There are hundreds of different franchises available in the UK in almost every conceivable industry sector from technology to manual labour, from business consultancy to children’s parties, from office based to home based, from retail store to mobile van sales, the list goes on.
If you want to take control of your future and think a franchise business might be an option for you, you could start by using a “franchise matching” service which is a quick way to find franchise opportunities that are available in your area and that match your preferences. The service is usually free, and can accelerate your search for the right franchise business ownership.
Lee Thomas
Helping People into the RIGHT Franchise/Business for THEIR SUCCESS
Franchise Paths to Success a dba of
Integrity Business Ventures, Inc.
888 701 6413

Operation Enduring Opportunity Encourages Veterans and Franchises

After military retirement or separation, veterans face a challenging transition from the consistency of military pay, military bonuses and military perks such as housing and Commissary discounts, to civilian life and the civilian job market.

Franchise ownership is a perfect fit for veterans who want a head start on a successful business after a military career.

In November 2011, the International Franchise Association (IFA) teamed up with First Lady Michelle Obama to create Operation Enduring Opportunity, an industry-wide recruitment plan designed to help veterans choose a career in franchising.

Operation Enduring Opportunity even offers incentives for veteran franchise ownership through IFA’s VetFran program.


As opposed to starting a business from scratch, franchise ownership enables newly-separated veterans to become financially self-sufficient in their business life sooner. In addition the skills needed to run a successful franchise are the same management and leadership skills honed during military service.


The unique opportunity for financial success in franchising is especially appealing in an economy that lacks both jobs and corporate job security.

Veteran-owned franchises tend to thrive in a troubled economy where many small businesses are shutting their doors. The reason is often the resolve of the veterans themselves: military veterans have the training necessary to run a successful franchise including initiative, determination, leadership, and ability to stick to an operation and see it through to success.

These skills that military service members develop during military training and service also fit the profile of a successful businessperson.

Other military skills that translate to franchise success include developing budgets, managing people and inventory, and leadership skills.


Franchises are proven successful business models, with normal business start-up work already completed such as product development, purchasing, marketing, and market research.

With an already successful operating system and proven brand name plus ongoing franchise support, veteran franchisers are able to bypass many of the initial risks necessary when starting a business from scratch.


As a veteran, your military career has armed you with the skills to succeed at a franchise business; now it’s up to you to choose from among the thousands of franchise opportunities available, from food to sports to health and fitness.

Choose your best franchise opportunity by finding a franchise that offers products and services that align with your passions.

Remember that well-established franchises, those that have longevity in business, are well-funded and well-established and are backed with proven brand success often lead to faster business success for veterans who choose them.

Research different franchises, and find resonates with you, and build a meaningful business career once your active duty military career has ended.
Lee Thomas
Helping People into Franchise/Business for THEIR SUCCESS
Franchise Paths to Success a dba of
Integrity Business Ventures, Inc.
888 701 6413



President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said “the buck stops here” To manage effectively, we must have the ability to lead others, and people will follow only those whom they respect. Respect is earned by accepting personal accountability. The words “I don’t know” are ok to have in an effective manager’s vocabulary. The key is to have adequate self esteem so we are comfortable in saying, “I don’t know, and being able to get the answer. Prompt follow-up with our staff is the key to gaining and maintaining their respect. This type of action requires a great degree of emotional maturity. The closer the public image we project is to our concept of self, the greater our emotional maturity.
We must have a clear understanding of the definition of management. An effective definition of management is the skill of attaining predetermined objectives with and through the voluntary cooperation and effort of other people.

Management should focus on results. It is not the art of doing it like “the pros”, it is a skill of achieving like “the pros”.


Management has a major purpose: to provide for the continuation of the business over time, personnel change, and in our absence. To accomplish this purpose, a manager must understand the difference between characters and character.

Characters refer to the actions or acts of the people being managed. Characters are found in theatrical play. Character is the core of “persona” of the person being managed. Too often management is influenced by the “role” a staff member is “playing”. Effective management looks beyond the role playing, and into the character of the individual. If management can get close to the “character” of a staff member it will be more effective in obtaining the objective of management (attaining predetermined objectives with and through the voluntary cooperation and effort of other people).


Even though the effective manager must be results oriented, the method of achieving those results is critical. The objective must be to see that every staff member is successful. The successful person is the one who has developed the habit of doing the things unsuccessful people to not do. The role of the manager then is simple, guide their people into forming habits of doing things that successful people do.

Management often spends a great deal of time attempting to help their people develop good work habits. Unfortunately, the results are poor because management has focused on activities not on the thought process behind successful habit patterns. The chain of success relative to developing good work habits is: THOUGHT> FEELINGS> ACTIVITY> HABITS> RESULTS = SUCCESS. Physical performance improves in direct proportion to mental discipline. Increase productivity is the direct result of thinking. By simply dealing with the external (actions/activities) you cannot successfully inspire people to develop the habit patterns of success or increase their productivity. It is not wonder we have OSHA. Half of its cumbersome mandates are nothing more than pathetic attempts to regulate good work habits, when the culprit is lack of proper thinking.

A person must truly believe they can succeed. A manager cannot just tell a person they can succeed. Words alone will not change the person’s perception as to the degree of difficulty of a task. A manager’s real hope for a person’s success is to change the person’s perception of self in relation to the task. It is also important to be sure that the person’s understanding of “what is the value to me” is emphasized by the manager. This is really a self esteem issue, and one of the roles effective management is to enhance the self esteem of every staff member.


When a staff member refers to management as “they”, he/she is not mentally affiliating with management, and does not see himself/herself as part of the organization’s team. Management must change this person’s perception of their relationship with management. This is especially important because this is a contagious condition. This staff member will spread this perceptions among other members of the organization, and before long there is no chance that the organization’s goals and objectives, let alone it mission may be accomplished.

Loyalty among staff is imperative to the welfare of the organization. Loyalty means not that I “agree” with everything you say or that I believe you are always right. Loyalty means that I share a common ideal with you and that, regardless of minor differences, we fight for it, shoulder to shoulder, confident in one another’s good faith, trust, constancy, and affection.

Establishing mutual respect among all members of the organization is the key to solving the “fatal pronoun they” problem. “THE KEY IS WE”.


The manager who tries to manage everyone on his/her staff the same way, using only one technique, can prepare them self for great disappointments. Management is a one-to-one proposition. If you say something to an audience of one, no one doubts who you aim at. Everyone desires be recognized as an individual, and to manage without taking this into consideration is futile. Different individuals require different approaches, and the effective manager will have developed several effective management “styles” and employ the appropriate one in any given situation. There are four basic management styles; Autocratic, Bureaucratic, Democratic and Idiosyncratic. Each style has its effective place in the manager’s “bag “ of managerial tools.

The manger must be available to each and every staff member. “Management by walking around” pioneered by Hewlett Packard years ago, is the key to effective people management and motivation.

To avoid this management error, the manager must know each employee as well as he/she knows their own family, and do the thing that works to motivate each individual.


Profit is not a bad word or concept. Indeed, without it, the organization will not be able to sustain itself. A different perspective might be to describe profit as an “economic efficiency index”. This index determines that amount of surplus left after expenses.

Every member of the staff must “buy into” the concept that the organization must develop a profit, and part of their responsibility is to see that the areas over which they exercise control make a contribution to profit. “Short term” profit should not be the objective of management, and the motivation for all staff should be directed to building long term stable profit.


Turning “lemons into lemonade should be the theme for management. Turning problems into opportunities for growth and enhancement is management’s objective.

The opposite of concentrating on our problems and losing sight of our objectives is “creativity”. When we focus primarily on our problems, and lose sight of our objectives, creativity dies.

Creativity is the ability to understand the forces impacting upon you, plus being able to use those forces to help you reach your objective. It is simply the ability to understand your environment or conditions and use your environment or conditions to your advantage.

We only have so much energy to devote to our managerial tasks, and it is important to stop dissipating our energy by becoming obsessed with problems and fighting against the situation. When confronted with a problem situation, the creative manager asks how can I use this situation or condition to my advantage to attain the organization’s objective.

Strangely enough, this means that effective management is a THINKING, not a DOING job. The lifeblood of any organization lies in ideas and creative thinking. The truly successful manager not only learns to view the environment as the vehicle for reaching their goal; they train their people to share this creative perspective.


So often managers want to be the employee’s buddy after hours, then come into the office and manage them tomorrow—and the employees will not allow it. It is an either-or-situation. It is like marriage; you either are or you are not.

A good guideline for employee-manager relations is: never do anything with an employee that you would not do with your firm’s number one client or customer. As a manager, you want to give your employee the support they need. In return you want you want them to give you the performance you need so as to attain the objectives of the organization. This implies that there is a relationship of mutual respect.

It is important to understand that you cannot be responsible FOR people; however, by necessity, you must be responsible TO people. When managers become responsible FOR people, they overstep their managerial boundaries and adopt those individuals. This is perhaps one of the most difficult lessons for a manager to learn. We all want to be accepted, admired and loved. This can be accomplished by building a relationship based on mutual respect not being a buddy. Valuable people with high self esteem seek to be treated as mature adults. Management is true reality therapy. You allow people to contribute like adults, or you allow them to leave.

To manage effectively you cannot put the welfare of any individual above the welfare of the organization. To do this is sometimes hard, but not to do it will cause the manager great heartache and loss of effectiveness as a manager.


Setting clear, standards is often not a favorite task for managers. Often standards are viewed as a means of making up punitive rules used to punish those who fail to produce or who avoid conformity. The guidelines a company makes need not aim at forcing compliance to a list of regulations, but should have the goal of building personal and corporate pride. Each time a manager feels tempted to bend the rules, he/she must realize that he/she will not actually bend the rule, but will make a new one. Rules that do not apply to all, shatters pride.

Standards are essential to good decision making regarding personnel management. In addition to increasing employee pride, standards may serve as a great asset in eliminating management pressures. Properly utilized, they remove the personality from the tough decisions.

We should view standards as a covenant between the company and its employees. A covenant goes one step better than our present understanding of a contract. The company guarantees the employee that by its upholding of the standards, the employee will enjoy a certain quality of worker environment and career opportunities. In turn, the worker will uphold the standards in order to enjoy the benefits those standards assure. When all involved view standards as a covenant, a pledge of quality, pride in the organization grows stronger and stronger– and management becomes easier and easier.


The real job of management is to induce our people to behave properly, that is, to get them to CONSISTENTLY perform at a level of PAR (performance at a level at or above our minimum standards). Managers must get their people from entry level to PAR and maintain PAR performance.

PAR performance consists of three areas: Precedents, Action and Results.

Precedents come before action, serve as guides or standards in evaluating future behavior, and form the foundation of performance. Examples include job descriptions, training, policies, objectives, or other people’s actions.

Action is what employees say or do. We see it in activities of the job, such as typing a letter, making a sales presentation, giving an injection, cashing a check, or operating equipment.

Results are the consequences of the action, which cause the employee to repeat, modify, or in some cases discontinue the action. Recognition, a compliment from the boss, increased pay all serve as meaningful results. Negative results, which cause people to modify or discontinue action, include ridicule from co-workers, lost sales, customer complaints, and reprimands.

The formula for maintaining PAR performance is Precedents > Action > Results > Future Behavior.

If the hiring manager has not made a mistake in selection, only three basic reasons remain for why a person does not do his or her job at PAR. They are:
the individual does not know what the job is,
the individual does not know how to do the job, or
someone or something interferes with his or her desire or ability to do the job.

All new people are incompetent until they know your policies, procedures, and objectives. A written job description for every position is essential. It tells the employee exactly what you expect of him/her, and it tells you exactly what you expect of the employee.

When you bring a new person onto your staff, do not expect him/her to think. Employ them to do, and you do the thinking for them initially. When the new employee learns your approaches, when he/she learns how you think, he/she takes the first step toward becoming a good employee, meaning one who will do what you want them to do.

To develop the skills and talents of new employees a manager must understand the difference between education and training. Providing knowledge is the purpose of education. Training does not provide knowledge, but uses it as a tool. Training must be more highly organized than education, because the result of disorganized knowledge is confusion. Confused people will not take action, so a training program that does not clarify defeats itself. We need to understand that skill is the ability to readily and easily utilize knowledge in order to perform.

Training and skill building is a continuous process. It begins with the hiring of a staff person and continues throughout their course of employment. The effective manager must become very proficient at training or facilitating training of their people.

Once incompetence is detected, it must be corrected. Too often, because of the desire to avoid confrontation, or because we are “too busy”, incompetence is allowed to continue and even thrive. This is a disservice to the organization and to the individual. Once detected, incompetence must be corrected as soon as possible. Doing so, will preserve the value of the organization and enhance the integrity of the individual.

Lee Thomas
Helping People into the RIGHT Franchise/Business for THEIR SUCCESS
Franchise Paths to Success
A dba of Integrity Business Ventures, Inc.
888 701 6413

From Employee, to an Entrepreneur

Many unemployed are becoming self-employed.
The recovery in the job market just hasn’t happened. So, many people who lost their jobs well after the recession ended in June 2009 have decided not to look for work. They’ve gone into business for themselves.
Starting a company can be daunting. Some entrepreneurs have made the process easier by buying a franchise business. But they still have challenges. There’s a steep learning curve — maybe many learning curves — in making the transition from employee to entrepreneur. It’s a completely different lifestyle, often requiring longer hours. And many new owners are trying to work out personal difficulties while trying to build a business.
Here are the stories of two people who started companies in the last year.
From advertising to senior care
Chris Blaine was the vice president of branding and advertising at an insurance company in Omaha, Neb., when he was laid off in December 2009. He decided to open his own business, one that would give him more control over his future. So he chose a Home Instead Senior Care franchise.
Unlike Muzal, Blaine opened a business in an industry that was entirely new to him. So the idea of having a ready-made business model was appealing. “Rather than try to do everything from scratch, it made more sense for me to leverage the model,” he said.
He chose a health care-related business because it is a growing industry. Blaine noted that 10,000 people are turning 65 each day, which means demand for home health care will keep rising.
Blaine decided to buy an existing franchise in Branson, Mo. That operation was struggling, but Blaine, who took the business over on Nov. 1, 2010, has been turning it around.
He does face challenges. Even though health care is growing, the economy is still a problem for businesses like Blaine’s. Health insurance generally doesn’t cover home care for seniors, so Blaine’s revenue, while up 22 percent from a year ago, isn’t what it would be in a stronger economy.
And uprooting his family has meant an adjustment. Blaine and his wife have four children ages two to nine.
But Blaine sees the decision to take on a business as the right one after having worked for corporations for 15 years. He says that by buying the franchise, “I could marry my desire to make a difference in people’s lives with my business acumen.”
From information services to bookkeeping
Alison Muzal knew several months ahead of time that she was going to lose her job at in the information technology division of a big corporation. So she began looking into the idea of running her own company. She had an accounting degree and an MBA, and had more than 20 years of experience in bookkeeping and accounting. So it made sense to her to go in a field she was familiar with. She decided to buy a BookKeeping Express Franchise. She opened it last October.
Many entrepreneurs choose to open a franchise because it comes with an established business model. A franchise that has been around for a while already has name recognition. And if the corporation owning the franchise is well-run, it will provide support and assistance to franchisees.
But even with a franchise, Muzal has had the same kind of adjustment period as most people who start a business after working for someone else. “In the corporate world, I have a very specific focus. Now, it’s not only am I doing the books, I’m doing the marketing and I’m managing my own business accounting,” she said.
Marketing has been especially challenging. Even a franchise owner has to go out and find customers or clients. And Muzal said, “it was new to me and outside my comfort zone.”
She has gotten help from other business people. She took advantage of the services offered by SCORE, which gives free advice and runs workshops for small business owners on all aspects of business, including marketing. She has become active in her local chamber of commerce and attended networking events.
There have been other challenges. Muzal learned that owning a business requires “a lot of discipline and a lot of time. If you’re used to 40 hours work a week, you should at least double that time.”
The weak economy hasn’t helped. “I wish I could say everything is wonderful and rosy and I’m making more money than I expected, but I’m not.” And Muzal has had a tremendous personal challenge, the recent death of her partner.
But a year into her venture, Muzal says, “I’m enjoying it. I still feel it was the right decision to make.”
Lee Thomas,
“Helping People into the RIGHT Franchise/Business for THEIR Success”
Franchise Paths to Success, a dba of
Integrity Business Ventures, Inc.
lee@myIBV.com 888 701-6413

Mobile Franchises Are Becoming More Popular

Mobile Franchises are Becoming More Popular
A lot of franchise buyers are looking to get into the driver’s seat. Literally.
Over the past several years, there’s been a rising interest in mobile franchises, whose owners work out of a van, truck or trailer, driving around their territories to meet customers in their homes or elsewhere.
These businesses—which offer everything from flavored ices to drug testing—have a simple appeal to buyers: low start-up costs. With financing tight these days, potential owners are eager to save on leasing and building out real estate.
But with the lower costs come potential headaches. Owners and franchise experts say that there are hidden hassles to look out for, such as dealing with local parking restrictions or figuring out how to market a business that doesn’t have a fixed address. And, of course, the mobile setup isn’t for people who want a controlled work environment. It’s best suited to people who like being on the road constantly, meeting with customers.
“I enjoy the lifestyle,” says Shane McClements, a franchisee for auto-repair service Touch Up Guys in Scottsdale, Ariz. “You’re out and about and not in the office or store looking at the same scene all the time.”
New mobile brands have been popping up and expanding in recent years. USA Mobile Drug Testing, for instance, has grown to 42 franchisees in 20 states since launching in mid-2010. FRANdata, a research firm in Arlington, Va., looked at a sample of 57 brands and found that they grew more than 19%, to 20,734 units, from 2006 to 2010.
In some sectors, growth in mobile units exceeded that in the overall sector, which includes home-based and storefront franchises. For instance, in FRANdata’s sample, the number of mobile units in handyman services rose 19%, compared with a decline of 5% overall. Mobile bathroom-remodeling franchises grew 26%, compared with 13% for the entire sector, while mobile units in plumbing and electric services rose 25%, more than the 17% overall growth rate.
“Every time we turn around, there’s another that’s getting into the [mobile] space,” says Stephen Caldeira, chief executive officer of the International Franchise Association trade group in Washington, D.C.
Cost is a key driver of growth. The typical price tag for starting up a mobile franchise is less than $150,000, compared with a far larger amount, sometimes exceeding $1 million, for a storefront franchise, explains Mr. Caldeira.
At Game Dudes, which sends out vans equipped with videogames to kids’ parties and other events, the initial investment ranges from $115,000 to $140,000, says owner Michael Carter. The total includes a 24-foot Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, training and marketing support for a grand-opening event.
Some mobile franchises cost even less than that. A franchise for dog-grooming service Pooch Mobile requires an upfront investment of $59,000 for a franchise territory, a trailer outfitted with a water-pressurized dog bath, two weeks of training, marketing materials, grooming tools and shampoo to wash 100 dogs, says Annie Ellmers, the U.S. franchiser for the company, which started in Australia.
Along with lower start-up costs, a mobile franchise can bring higher profit margins because owners don’t have to shoulder costs associated with real estate. Most mobile franchisees handle back-office duties and paperwork out of a home office. Franchisees may also end up storing supplies in their basement or renting a commercial storage locker.
A mobile franchise carries other costs that may not be obvious at first. For instance, marketing. A franchisee might think that driving around town in the vehicle, usually emblazoned with the company logo, is enough of an advertisement. But it isn’t, franchisees say.
Unlike a storefront franchise, a mobile franchise “is not stationary so that people can see you and remember you at 123 Rose Avenue,” says Mr. Carter of Game Dudes. “The truck helps, but if people see you, they can’t go back and find you.”
So, like any other franchisee, mobile franchisees need to spend to promote their businesses through the local newspaper and Chamber of Commerce, direct mail and online marketing.
Then there’s parking. Many neighborhoods don’t allow commercial vehicles to sit overnight on the street or even in a driveway, so the franchisee who doesn’t have an enclosed garage may have to pay for an off-site commercial parking spot. In that case, the franchisee would probably also have to pay more to insure the vehicle and install a security system.
Working on the customers’ stomping ground also has its pitfalls, such as the client who stands and chats while you’re trying to work. “It’s their area and they’re comfortable there, and you can’t direct them to the customer lounge,” says Mr. McClements of Touch Up Guys.
And when an awkward situation crops up, franchisees have to grin and bear it. Mr. McClements recalls a car-repair job in a customer’s particularly smelly garage. “I think she had mold, and maybe some garden mulch in there,” he recalls, laughing.
Ms. Lee is a writer in Belmont, Calif. She can be reached at reports@wsj.com.
Provided by
Lee Thomas,
“Helping People into the RIGHT Franchise/Business for THEIR Success”
Franchise Paths to Success, a dba of
Integrity Business Ventures, Inc.
lee@myIBV.com 888 701-6413