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Back in 1954, Ray Kroc was already in his 50s when he persuaded the McDonald brothers to let him be responsible for a franchising operation. He expanded their clean, efficient, assembly-line style of marketing hamburgers from one location to more than 200 in just seven years. When Kroc died a billionaire in 1984, McDonald's fast-food restaurants were found in all corners of the globe and Kroc was extolled as the “Father of Franchising.”

In recent decades, franchising has grown increasingly popular and widespread. Sales from franchises in the United States more than doubled during the 1980s, the period of the most extensive growth for this creative form of business. Especially prevalent in the retail sector, businesses where franchising has established a strong presence include fast-food outlets, convenience stores, automobile rental agencies, and service stations.

Franchising, in brief, is a system of business based on a legal arrangement in which one party---the franchisee---agrees with the franchise owners to produce and market their goods or services on a local or regional basis. The franchise owner provides operating systems such as advertising and accounting. This system has enabled many entrepreneurs to realize their dream of owning their own business where normally it would have been impossible for them to go it alone.

The reasons for the spectacular growth of franchising are not hard to identify. To begin with, a franchise operation has already identified a potential market and created a product to fit a consumer need. This is especially true of fast-food stores, which have kept pace with the changing outlook of modern societies.

In addition, buying a franchise from an established company, while not guaranteeing success, will at least diminish the risk of failure. While around 30 percent of independent small companies go bust within the first two years, the failure rate for first-time franchisees is only at around five percent.

Another reason why so many inexperienced entrepreneurs turn to franchising is the support usually provided by the parent company. Established accounting, management, supply, and control systems give franchisees the benefit of previously accumulated business experience while still allowing a limited amount of independence.

Franchising, then, is considered by many to be the ideal way to enter business for the first time. Prospective franchisees, however, are well advised to properly research the nature of the industry and the background of the franchise holder before committing themselves and their money. Get it right, and the rewards can be considerable. In the words of Colonel Sanders of KFC fame, “buying a franchise is probably the quickest, easiest, and most successful way of becoming an entrepreneur.” And he should know.

1. extoll v. 颂扬
2. prevalent a. 普遍的
3. outlet n. 批发商店,经销商
4. entrepreneur n. 企业家,创业者
5. spectacular a. 壮观的,戏剧性的
6. outlook n. 展望,前景
7. go bust phr.v. 破产
8. accumulated a. 累积的









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