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Franchise/Business Forum to explore opportunities

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

To franchise, or not to franchise -- That is the question.

Persons who are considering the option of franchising a business, will be educated about opportunities to do so, during a free "Franchise/Business Forum," today, from 6 p.m., to 8:30 p.m., at the Morrow Center, according to Terry Baskin, Clayton County's tax commissioner.

The Morrow Center is located at 1180 Southlake Circle, Suite 100, in Morrow.

"It [franchising] would [be] another avenue for those who have lost their jobs ... [and] for those looking to franchise their business," said Baskin, during a phone interview.

"Why not get into a business of their own and become a blessing to others and hire others ... Why not start a business ...?" asked Baskin.

Yulonda Beauford, president and CEO of the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber, Baskin and FranchiseMart /Biz1Brokers, a franchise consulting service, partnered to bring the forum to the business community.

"I thought it would be a fantastic idea to get entrepreneurs an opportunity to [explore] various options of business creation," she said. Beauford said individuals at the forum will hear the speeches of about seven franchisors, who will share their experiences, and how they became involved in the venture.

Following the presentations, participants will be involved in a break-out session, where they will meet face-to-face with about 15 franchisors at exhibit tables. Participants will be able to ask any questions they may have, she said.

Beauford said the franchisors on-hand are involved in different industries, including restaurants and health care. "Franchising is an option that so many people don't think about, and we wanted to give them an opportunity to learn about the variety of franchising opportunities that are available," said Beauford.

Beauford said FranchiseMart/Biz1Brokers will be present to assist with financing options.

Sheila Reed, president and owner of What's Your Dream, Inc., said her business is a franchisee of FranchiseMart/Biz1Brokers, in Atlanta. She said individuals interested in franchising a business must have between $25,000 and $50,000, which is invested in several areas, including legal documents, branding and creating a web site.

She said if individuals don't have this amount of money, there are financing options through FinancialMart/Biz1Brokers. The loans offered have fixed, and variable, interest rates.

She said it is difficult to determine what type of interest rate an individual will obtain.

"It depends on the person's personal situation and what they qualify for," she said.

Reed said, at the forum, FinancialMart/Biz1Brokers representatives will do a detailed profile for individuals, to determine the type of business most suitable for them.

Potential franchisors will share a variety of information with attendees, such as their backgrounds, business skills and their investment levels.