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Opening your own small business is the basis of the American success story and is the best way to join the ranks of the super rich, but not every business is a success -- in fact, a majority of them fail. Opening a small business is, then, a very risky proposition -- whose risks are rooted in the fundamental differences between the 9 to 5 job that most new entrepreneurs are trying to get away from.

Stability, low-risk, a place to go to every day, a health plan, working for a known company -- just a few of the benefits that most workers welcome in exchange for knowing that unless they rise to the very top of their company, their chances of amassing anything remotely like a personal fortune are, well, remote. That's why the entrepreneur -- the person that wants to make the decisions and live and die by those decisions -- gets out and starts their own business.

But is there a middle ground between the low risk, low gain job and the high risk, high gain small business? Yes, and it's called 'Franchising.'

Franchising is built on the concept that some of the "intellectual property" of a large company that can help guarantee your success (although there really isn't any guarantee) can be shared with you for a fee. By buying into a franchise, you often get training, marketing, procedures and other services to set up your business -- or rather, someone else's business that you finance and put in or arrange the labor for.

Just like striking out on your own isn't for everyone, neither is franchising. Franchising often involves a lot of rules and regulations so that you do business their way. After

all, you are an extension of their business and they don't want you spoiling their reputation. But for people with a strong business desire who are short on experience running their own company, a franchise can be just the right thing. And once you've learned the rules of business, you will be better prepared to strike out on your own.

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