If you are a franchisor (or prospective franchisor), I know for a fact that right now you are all atwitter regarding the following concepts:

1) Franchising is a "low-risk" business model wherein the franchisee takes the majority of the risk.

2) You can make good money without having to invest significant capital in a bricks-and-mortar operation.

3) You can create a flock of "golden geese" that will eventually be-come the greatest annuity ever.

4) And--if you're already a small-business owner--you love the fact that you can grow your empire by leveraging the passion and en-ergy of other entrepreneurs who are just...like...you (you hope).

For you franchisees (or prospective franchisees) out there, your brain is preoccupied with champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

You're most likely rabidly passionate about dog grooming or the art of sandwich making or the magic of dry cleaning, or whatever floats your boat. You are obsessed with the idea that for the (relatively nominal) cost of a franchisee fee, you will be magically anointed with the "secret formula" that will guarantee your success and deliver you from evil.

You believe in your heart of hearts that you are way smarter than those other poor saps who tried to start a small business without the loving protection and guidance of a benevolent and all-knowing franchisor.

And last but not least, you firmly believe that franchisors always put their franchisees' best interests first, and that their primary reason for existing is to ensure the health, happiness, and well-being of their franchisees. Behind The Franchise Curtain

Well, guess what? I hate to rain on your parade, but like most things in life, it ain't that simple.

As a matter of fact, the dirty little secret that many in the franchising community don't want you to know is that operating a franchise (as either a franchisee or a franchisor) is actually much harder than it looks, and probably much harder than you ever imagined.