Franchising Dreams: The Lure of Entrepreneurship in America
Peter M. Birkeland worked for three years in the front-line operations of franchise units for three companies, met with CEOs and executives, and attended countless trade shows, seminars, and expositions. All this firsthand experience gave him unprecedented access to the hopes and aspirations of franchisees. His book closely traces different franchisees and follows them as their dreams of wealth and independence buckle beneath the weight of frustrating logistics and contractual technicalities. Through extensive interviews and research, Birkeland not only discovers what makes franchisees succeed or fail, he uncovers the difficulties in running a business according to someone else's system and values. Bearing witness to a market flooded with fierce competitors and dependent on the inscrutable whims of consumers, he uncovers the numerous challenges that franchisees face in making their businesses succeed.
Birkeland, who is the CEO of his own institute as well as a professor and lecturer (at the Universities of Minnesota and Chicago, respectively), tells the story of franchising by engaging us through dialog. Though he uses pseudonyms for company names, his book is based on extensive research culled from interviews, attendance at seminars, and participation in the day-to-day operations of three different franchises. After a brief history of the franchise system, he gets down to the nitty-gritty of this entrepreneurial endeavor. Birkeland offers a balanced perspective as he teaches us about the risks, pitfalls, and challenges for both franchisee and franchiser. In addition, the reader gets an overview of the different types of franchise systems, the components of franchise fundamentals (royalties, trademarks, and long-term contracts), social profiles of franchisees, and, for the franchiser, consideration of the question, "Who controls?" This is a useful, readable book, especially for those considering the idea of entering the franchise system for the first time. Recommended for marketing and business collections in both academic and public libraries. Bellinda Wise, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. "Franchising Dreams illuminates the complexity and diversity of this rapidly growing segment of small business. As this highly readable account reveals, franchises are neither a transitory phenomenon nor the death knell of the familyowned business. Instead, they represent a form of industry that is essential to our understanding of the new economy." - Robert D. Manning, author of Credit Card Nation
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