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5 Hot Franchises for 2014

Contributed by Franchise Financing Partner Guidant Financial Group.

Looking ahead to 2014, quick service food and cleaning services are perennially popular and lucrative franchise opportunities. Here are five white-hot franchises that may surprise you.

Painting with a Twist

Art, friends, and wine. Painting with a Twist is burning up our Facebook feeds and growing at a tremendous rate. Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney began franchising their Corks N Canvas business as “Painting with a Twist” in 2009 and there are now 106 locations to enjoy social art instruction.

School of Rock

Good times or bad, people will always spend money on their children, making kid-centric businesses virtually recession-proof. School of Rock combines music education and rock n roll with the added benefit of an unofficial tie-in movie (2003’s The School of Rock starring Jack Black). Franchising since 2005, there are over 100 schools worldwide with more than 10,000 little rockers enrolled.

Liberty Tax Service

Taxes may not be sexy, but they’re unavoidable. What makes Liberty hot? It’s on both the Entrepreneur list of Fastest Growing Franchises (#5) and the Forbes list of Top Ten Franchises for the Buck (#7). There are over 4,000 franchise locations in the U.S.


The company was founded in 2000 in Richmond, Va. and began franchising in 2008. Currently there are 123 franchise units in the U.S. ShelfGenie franchisees design and install custom shelving featuring the trademarked Glide-Out shelves. This business can be run from home and is an Entrepreneur Top 10 New Franchise for 2013.

HUMAN Healthy Vending

Everyone from the media to educators to the First Lady of the United States are waging a war against fatty, nutrient-poor food. There’s never been a better time to jump into the health food business, and this company does it in an innovative way: through vending machines. Founded in 2008, HUMAN Healthy Vending has been lauded in the press as one of “America’s Most Promising Companies” (Forbes) and Entrepreneur Magazine’s “100 Brilliant Companies” of 2011.

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Personality Test: Are You Fit to Work From Home?

Have you had daydreams of working from home? Of course you have! Whohasn'timagined lazily rolling out of bed, pulling on their slippers, brewing a cup of coffee, and casually strolling into the next room to start “working from home"? It may sound like a fantasy, but working from home (running a home-based franchise or other home-based business) isn’t as easy as it's often made out to be.

Strategic and Structural Alternatives to Franchising

These are difficult decisions. The solutions are not clear cut from a business or from a legal perspective. It is critical that a company in this position work with qualified counsel to identify an alternative that will have a reasonable basis for an exemption and still make sense from a strategic perspective. The balance of this chapter will look at the many alternatives currently being tested by many U.S. and oversees companies. As you can see, the lines of demarcation are not always clear. The differences between many of these alternatives may in fact be in name only. Some of these concepts are truly innovative and have not been truly tested by the courts or the regulators. In these borderline cases, a regulatory “no-action” letter procedure is strongly recommended. Other concepts are not very innovative at all and merely borrow from long-recognized and analogous legal relationships such as chapter affiliation agreements in the non-profit arena or network affiliation agreements in radio and television broadcasting.

The Importance of Setting Clear Expectations

So my recommendation is as follows: As early in the relationship as possible, invest the time necessary to clearly describe the shared expectations for how you will work with your customers and, and how you will work with your employees. If you do this well, everyone will be on the same page and when you deliver something a little bit better than they expect, the will see you as someone they trust, like and want to be loyal to – a strong driver of success for any business.