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Hot New Franchise Opportunities

October 1, 2009 by inc.com

Franchisors and franchisees alike have found great success following their passions, their entrepreneurial spirits, and their instincts in building their businesses. Here we share the stories of a handful of standouts, whose experiences offer inspiration and advice to those entrepreneurs interested in pursuing franchising.

Each year countless entrepreneurs contemplate launching new franchise opportunities that they hope will become the next hot business. But how many are really new? More importantly, how many have the potential to become the next big thing?

Franchise consultant Michael Seid says that the uniqueness of a concept by itself is not the best way to assess the promise of a franchise opportunity. "What we're looking for today are things that meet market needs," says Seid.

Demographics drives two market needs Seid sees as ripe for new business opportunities. The first is our aging population. This creates openings for a variety of services tailored to meet the health and other needs of a mushrooming population of senior citizens. A second trend concerns the needs surrounding the proliferation of two-earner families that require assistance with the education, entertainment, and care of children.

To fulfill its promise as a future business star, a concept also needs infrastructure. That means a management team with the talent and experience to grow it, the standardized systems that will enable franchisees to emulate the success of others, and the capital to fund continued development of management, systems, and product offerings. Not many new franchise systems have that combination. Here are nine that might.

Games2U

Games2U is a concept that, on the other hand, brings itself to kids, in the form of mobile gaming theater--vans stuffed with high-end video gaming systems, plus outdoor activities like laser tag, air cannons that launch t-shirts and candy and giant inflatable hamster balls.Co-founder brothers David and Stuart Pikoff started selling franchises for the Austin, Texas, company in 2008 and already have 41 operating in 18 states.

The concept is a natural for kids' birthday parties, but also appeals to corporate training and teambuilding events, video game maker demonstrations, fairs, family nights, and many other events, David Pikoff says. They plan to continually expand the offerings, most recently with a patented six-anda-half-foot tall motorized gadget called the Ubot that lets kids climb inside and pilot a smoke-emitting, light-flashing robot. "It's a simple great way to throw a party," David Pikoff says. "However, we're never done. We're always challenging ourselves to do something new and different and keep it fresh and unique."