To an attorney, a franchise is a lengthy contract, but to an accountant, it is a financial relationship. To a banker, it is a relatively secure investment, but to a government regulator, it might be a red flag for consumer fraud. From a cultural perspective, the franchise phenomenon is both a driving force and a reflection of public tastes in food, fashion, and lodging. In some way or another, franchising has managed to make its way into almost every corner of the earth. From Bangor, Maine to Bangkok, Thailand, franchising has captured the public imagination and, in doing so, recruited to its ranks hundreds of thousands of erstwhile entrepreneurs.
     Franchising is often referred to as a dual-edged sword. At its best, it is capitalism's finest hour, a time for transforming simple ideas and bold ambitions into fulfilled dreams of personal enrichment and financial independence. At its worst, it is "vulture capitalism" run amok, in which every conceivable type of quick-buck scam and pyramid sales scheme is foisted on an unsuspecting public. The difference is often less visible than the writing on an oral contract.
        Dennis L. Foster is one of America's most knowledgeable authorities on franchising, with over thirty years experience as a franchise developer and consultant. Franchising: The Inside Story, was written to help you sort out the facts about franchising in the current economy and to distinguish the signposts of success from the danger signals of fraud or failure. Completely updated and expanded for 2010, this essential guide begins with a broad self-evaluation of your mental, physical, and financial preparedness for franchising and concludes with a systematic procedure for evaluating a franchise opportunity.
        Each chapter includes a set of self-tests, checklists, or work sheets to help you organize your search for the ideal franchise. Examine just what franchisors can, and can't, do to influence a prospective franchisee to sign an agreement. We'll also take an in-depth look at the processes of researching opportunities and negotiating a franchise agreement. You'll learn about the psychological strategies that franchisors use to sell their franchises, then find out how to turn the tables to your own advantage.
        Explore the mysterious regions of the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC), translating it into plain English, then dissect a franchise agreement to see how it affects your rights as a business owner. You'll also examine the contents of a typical franchise operating manual and learn how this important tool both guides and governs the day-to-day operation of a franchise outlet. You'll also learn how to plan, finance, and organize a business, including things they won't tell you in franchise training school. Finally, we'll examine the critical factors that influence a decision to buy a franchise and ultimately determine the likelihood of success.
        Along the way, Franchising: The Inside Story will help you answer the following questions:

Is franchising right for me?
What type of business will I be successful in?
How can I find the right franchise opportunity to fit my own objectives, budget, skills, and personality?
How can I spot franchise come-ons and rip-offs, and avoid the usual pitfalls that typify a new business startup?
How can I negotiate the most favorable franchise agreement?
What should I look for in a franchisor's background?
What kind of earnings can I realistically expect?
What are my rights and obligations as a franchisee?
What are a franchisor's rights and obligations?
How can I raise the money to build and develop the business?
What steps can I take to optimize my chances for success?

"Essential reading for anyone involved in or thinking about becoming involved in franchising."
James Ulman, franchise attorney)