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Fast Company magazine popularized the phrase free agent nation and was its biggest booster. But in the March 2004 cover story, “What We Learned in the New Economy,” the magazine compared predictions about the “new economy” with the reality. It noted the undesirable lack of job security and low earning power of free agents, contrasting the “Boom Time Buzz” with the “Cold Reality: Free Agent Nation is a jungle.” Similarly, a late 2003 Time magazine cover story found that free agents “in the trenches often employ a different F word”—fear, not freedom.


Prospective entrepreneurs frequently consider buying and operating a franchise. But in general, a go-it-alone approach is likely to be more rewarding, and a better use of your time and money, than operating a franchise.

The benefits of purchasing a franchise are well recognized:

  • The business model is proven, so the associated risks are generally viewed as lower than when starting a business from scratch.

  • By their nature, franchises are repeatable systematized businesses. The most important part of a franchise is the operating manual that details what a franchisee must do.

  • Franchisees benefit from the marketing materials that have already been created by the company for local advertising efforts.

  • Franchisees benefit from the nationwide advertising efforts and brand recognition of the company.

  • Franchisees typically have access to supplies at lower costs because the national operator buys them for all of the franchisees in bulk.

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GO IT ALONE! Copyright 2004 by Bruce Judson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.