A franchise opportunity can mean the difference between an entrepreneur realizing her dream of becoming a small business owner or remaining an employee for life. Working for oneself is an extremely liberating feeling, so picking the right company to invest one's money and life in requires quite a bit of homework and a lot of sleuthing.

Most franchisors are more than willing to furnish potential franchisees with all sorts of informative literature. This is crucial to collect and research, but sometimes the best tool for exploring the possibilities of a franchise come from doing some leg work. Here are some alternative routes to explore that can unlock a franchisee's future.

A company's track record is not always something that's worn on its sleeve. This isn't necessarily because of some sordid past or scandal - it might simply be that in the fast-paced media environment in which we live, old ad campaigns can conflict with modern images. Doing one's homework by researching a company's history can reveal quite a bit about where a company has come from and where it can be expected to go. Of particular interest should be the role that franchisees have played in the growth of a company.

Abstract information is all well and good, but nothing compares to actually visiting a franchise's locations. This means visiting more than one, since the franchisees responsible for those stores or offices might do things slightly differently from one another. Seeing enough separate locations will create an appreciation for how the company is run as a whole and indicates what a future franchisee might have to look forward to.

While onsite, it is always helpful to speak to others who are in the situation that a potential franchise owner would want to be in. Seek out people who have taken the plunge and find out what they like and do not like about the entire situation. The odds are that simply by being willing to speak to interested parties, the managers and owners will show that they're content with their decisions.

One of the most important steps to take to evaluate a franchise should usually be the last one. When an image or vision of a company has been formed in the mind, it is time to seek out that company's competitors. If they have none, it is a good indication of future success. If there are numerous competing locations that are also franchises, find out how those franchises operate to get a sense of what sets the original franchise apart.

About Liberty Tax Service

Liberty Tax Service is the fastest-growing retail tax preparation company in the industry’s history. Founded in 1997 by CEO John T. Hewitt, a pioneer in the tax industry, Liberty Tax Service has prepared over 8,000,000 individual income tax returns. With 42 years of tax industry experience, Hewitt stands as the most experienced CEO in the tax preparation business, having also founded Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

Liberty Tax Service is the only tax franchise on the Forbes “Top 20 Franchises to Start,” and ranks #1 of the tax franchises on the Entrepreneur “Franchise 500.” Each office provides computerized income tax preparation, electronic filing, and online filing through eSmart Tax.