B.E.’S 30 Hottest Franchises For 2006. Is one in your future?

Minority outreach programs and trendy businesses make these franchises the best opportunities for your money

seven suppliers. Franchisee recruitment is the first initiative of the program, and participating companies receive training and information on diversity issues as well as access to contacts at participating organizations that have reach within minority groups. Through MinorityFran, franchisors receive the exposure, education, and contacts needed to increase the number of minorities within their systems.

A VARIETY OF OPTIONS
There is no such thing as guaranteed success within the franchise universe. A good way to stack the cards in your favor is to identify viable business concepts and pinpoint the underlying trends that lead to sustained growth. Here are six areas that fit the bill:

Health and Beauty: In addition to spas and hair care franchises, fitness concepts, such as Liberty Fitness, and anti-aging specialists such as Sona MedSpa are franchises in this growth sector.

Food and Dining: Consumers crave choice, quality, and affordable luxury. This has translated into growth for several food and dining niches. Casual restaurants like The HoneyBaked Ham Co. and Café offer busy families an alternative to fast food. Multiple brands under one roof such as YUM! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, etc.) fill this demand by offering an array of menu items. Juice It Up! serves up specialty beverages and smoothies — great for health-conscious professionals and moms on-the-go.

Business Services: Outsourcing has become big business as large and small companies search for ways to save on increased healthcare and payroll costs. Services franchises fill the outsourcing needs of various businesses regardless of size. This high-growth category also consists of staffing concepts such as Link Staffing and commercial cleaning brands like Coverall Cleaning Concepts. Technology consultants such as CM IT Solutions are also part of this group.

Home Services: Interest rates may be rising but real estate remains a flourishing industry. Homeowners continue to invest in their homes, both to increase the value and to create a safe haven. The home services category caters to the needs of busy homeowners. Interior decorating franchises such as Décor & You, home inspection service providers such as WIN Home Inspection and maintenance specialists like Handyman Matters fit into this expanding category. Home services also include in-home senior care concepts such as Comfort Keepers and lawn care specialists like Lawn Doctor.

Consumer Services: If you’ve ever dreamed of being a wedding planner, Sweet Beginnings wedding planning and consulting requires a low investment and offers flexible hours. If you’ve considered owning a pet grooming day care service, now is a great time to brush off your business plan. With Americans spending an estimated $38.4 billion on their pets this year, Happy Tails Dog Spa and Gulliver’s Doggie Daycare take advantage of America’s love of pets. For customers who want to capture personal memories with a family portrait, Grins 2 Go offers portrait photography; FastFrame provides expert framing services.

Children’s Services: Economic conditions necessitate dual incomes in many families. Children’s services organizations have stepped in to fill the gap left vacant by working families. From supplemental education providers such as College Nannies to enrichment programs like Abrakadoodle, an

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