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How to choose new business


Q. I'm fed up with the corporate world and finally realize no one in it is going to hire this 58-year-old. Fortunately I have savings, severance pay and experience gathered during a long, successful stint with a good company. So now I want to start a small business, but can't decide what kind. Should I buy a franchise, and if so, how do I find the right one? Or do I start something independently-and how do I choose that?

Ans. You're wise to face those facts about rehiring, and entrepreneurship can be a very rewarding alternative. In either case you have to decide what will interest and excite you for the long haul and move in that direction. Franchises sometimes work out well, but you must be careful choosing the parent company. International Franchising Assn., www.franchise.org  , is a good place to look for guidance. If you decide to go it alone, and are looking for that business to really "light your fire," consider these tips from John J. Liptak, author of Entrepreneurship Quizzes:  Check yellow pages, magazines and books related to your interest, and consider businesses that are involved in it. Look around you. Walk the malls and town centers, visit shops that entice you and think about doing that. Most importantly, he says, think creatively about existing products you and your friends use. Consider ways to combine two existing products into one of your own, think what is available but too expensive. Fortunes have been made from small businesses that serve a need that wasn't identified before. Think Spanx and Snuggies.

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