In a world of uncertainty, franchising keeps proving it's a business model that works. Franchises had been closing their doors, one after another from 2008 to 2011 for a total loss of 23,000 establishments. But all of that changed last year. In 2012 there was a 1.5 percent growth in units - up from 746,828 to 757,055 for an increase of 10,227 - according to the International Franchise Association (IFA).

Entrepreneur Magazine,which has been publishing the "Franchise 500" list for 34 years, paints a rosier picture. Companies on its list added 19,197 franchise units between 2011 and 2012, almost doubling the previous year' growth. Entrepreneur and the IFA also report anticipated revenue growth in franchising for 2012 at 4.9 to 5.2 percent, which is:

  • On par with the middle market according to data from the NCMM

  • Impressive when compared to the forecasted 3.5 percent rate of growth for the S&P 500, according to Bloomberg

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