an ad and I was trying to [finish] it, so I e-mailed it to him,” explains Mickle. “He’s in Iraq and fixes up my ads and sends them back to me.”
Mickle says it makes good business sense for The Athlete’s Foot to tap into the increased purchasing power of minority communities. “Athlete’s Foot, somewhere down the line, made a strategic choice that black people were better suited to own some of the stores in the urban areas and that there is a lot of money to be made off of shoe stores in those areas because our children will oftentimes spend their money on shoes and clothes.” If the majority of franchisors are recognizing the benefits of this strategy, it will bode well for minorities, women, and young entrepreneurs looking to enter the marketplace as franchise owners.
Each year, BLACK ENTERPRISE compiles a list of top franchises that offer the best opportunities for African Americans (see B.E.’s 2005 Franchise Honor Roll). To help prospective franchisees identify the right business, the BE Research division conducts a national survey of more than 400 members of the International Franchise Association, a trade organization in Washington, D.C. From there, we identified companies that have the most affordable startup costs and offer the best opportunities for African Americans. The survey includes the following criteria: a significant number of African American franchise units, startup costs, revenue growth projections, and minority franchise outreach programs. This year’s list represents our editors’ choice of the top 20 franchise opportunities. They are the best prospects across a range of the hottest industries.
Franchising is not a new concept. According to the IFA, there are more than 767,483 business establishments in all domestic franchise systems (owned either by franchisors or franchisees), that employ almost 10 million people, with direct output close to $625 billion, and a payroll of $230 billion.
Becoming a franchisee begins with deciding which franchise you want to operate. Start by taking some personal inventory. Determine what level of investment you are willing to make and possibly lose. No matter what venture you pursue, there’s always risk involved, so make sure you are in a solid financial position to make the purchase.
Once you find a franchise you like, review the company’s Uniform Franchise Offering Circular. A UFOC contains information about the franchisor, their system, and copies of their agreements. Before signing on the dotted line, have a lawyer review the document.
So where are the hot spots in franchising? Fast food, for the most part, ignores economic trends, performing well in any environment. Commercial cleaning services remain a hot area as companies look to keep costs low. To save on payroll and escalating healthcare costs for full-time employees, these businesses outsource their janitorial needs. For that same reason, staffing services are also continuing to ride the wave of this trend. Low interest rates continue to heat up the real estate market, to the benefit of home inspection franchises. The overall economy continues to stagnate, prompting individuals concerned with job security to