More than two years ago, the financial system crashed, leaving many Americans without jobs, including many bankers, traders and corporate executives. However, franchising turned out to be a welcome venue for these talented individuals to use their significant experience and business skills to toward successful endeavors.

Because of a desire to control their own fates and be their own bosses, owning a franchise opportunity has proven to be a particularly popular choice for this sector. For example, former Wall Street trader Suzannae DeMeo lost her job during the crisis and, after years of trying to get back into the industry, decided to open an Italian ice franchise.

In fact, franchisers and industry experts at last week's New York/New Jersey Franchise Expo at the Meadowlands Expo Center said DeMeo was the "prototypical entrepreneur interested in purchasing a franchise," the North Jersey Record reports. Additionally, experts added that it is this demographic that has helped franchises weather the recession and be prepared for a strong recovery in 2011.

The sheer variety of opportunity within the industry has helped it to remain strong as well. According to the International Franchise Association, there are approximately 1,100 franchisers worldwide, offering more than 100 formats, the source notes. Business choices range from food groups to auto repair to tax preparation franchises.

As a result of these factors, the franchise industry is expected to grow during 2011, and the Record reports such optimism was on display at Sunday's expo. Joe Smith, the chief executive of a deli franchise with more than 60 stores nationwide, said that he has eight more planning to open this year.

"The economy is getting slightly better," said Smith, reflecting on that growth.

While many franchisees cite being their own boss and having a degree of independence as primary reasons for opening a franchise opportunity, others were drawn to the security that franchises offer, with already cultivated brand recognition, successful marketing strategies and a structured business model.

"They don’t trust mutual funds or the stock market," Jamie Gregson told the paper. "They took a bath here and they took a bath there and they want to take their destiny in their own hands."

However, no matter how safe and profitable a franchise appears, prospective franchisees must ensure they do their due diligence and look into franchises' legal and financial histories before signing on.

The Liberty Tax Service franchise opportunity is #1 in the tax franchise category of the 2011 Entrepreneur “Franchise 500”. Liberty Tax Service is the only tax franchise on the Forbes “Top 20 Franchises to Start.” Our tax franchise is an affordable and viable business choice. Each office provides thorough, computerized tax preparation coupled with superior customer service. For the best small business opportunity in the income tax franchise industry, choose Liberty!