Last year marked the first positive growth in franchise businesses since 2008, and 2013 is expected to be an even more active year for existing owners and entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur magazine reported the results of IFA's annual Franchise Business Economic Outlook report, which was compiled by IHS Global Outlook. The results project a 2013 growth rate of 1.4 percent, which may also outpace the private sector. As the economy continues to show new signs of life, franchise opportunities are abundant and many people are building strong and profitable companies across the country. If you're in the beginning stages of opening up your own franchise, there are several key tips that can help you gain success, build a solid reputation and remain competitive in whatever industry you're involved in. 

1. Prioritize customer service
Several retail studies conducted over the last few years have demonstrated that a positive customer experience is crucial to acquisition and retention, and often trumps other consumer loyalty factors, such as location and price. Small behaviors, such as greeting customers, offering complimentary coffee and maintaining a friendly and informative staff can make customers feel like their business is important and help establish relationships. In the advent of social media, providing customers with a positive experience can lead to glowing reviews and help drive more business your way.

2. Solicit feedback
Whether positive or negative, feedback from customers, vendors and suppliers is important to knowing what elements of your franchise are working and those that need to be tweaked. Therefore, provide simplified channels for your customers to provide insight into how your company is operating and take this feedback seriously. You may receive insight on an unnoticed aspect of your company that is driving away business.

3. Get involved in the community
It doesn't matter if you're a new franchise in your area or one of many; community involvement is important. Simple activities, such as getting involved with the chamber of commerce, sponsoring a little league team or making donations to local schools can help get your name out there and show that you are willing to invest in the community. Doing so may also open up more networking opportunities and help you business grow.

4. Reach out to franchisors
Many franchisors offer tools, tips and resources to help you establish a profitable and successful franchise, so don't hesitate to reach out for ideas. From training videos and webinars to marketing tips and proven advertising strategies, franchisors may offer a range of resources to help you evolve and grow.

The Liberty Tax Service franchise opportunity is appealing to a diverse America, and ranked highly for its affordability and potential.   Entrepreneur magazine has ranked Liberty Tax Service on its "Franchise 500" list of best franchise opportunities since 1998.  Liberty Tax Service is the only tax franchise on the Forbes magazine's "Top 20 Franchises for the Buck."  (2012)  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!