Skip to main content



) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. Franchises continue to grow faster than independent businesses.

Franchised businesses will continue to grow at a slightly faster rate than other businesses in terms of job creation, new business formation, economic output and GDP contribution, according to the

International Franchise Association's

first-quarter update to its economic outlook for franchising.

According to the update, the outlook hasn't changed much from the IFA's initial 2013 forecast released in December.

The IFA amended its industry forecast slightly in the latest report:

  • New U.S. franchised establishments will rise by 1.3% in 2013 vs. 1.4% originally predicted;
  • Franchises will add 156,000 jobs this year to a total of 8.2 million, up 1.9% from 2012, but slightly lower than the 2% originally predicted;
  • Output from franchises will rise 4.2% to $802 billion in 2013, down from the 4.3% initially forecast;
  • The gross domestic product of the franchise sector is projected to rise 4% to $472 billion, down from the 4.1% initially forecast for 2013 and lower than the 4.6% growth in 2012. This is approximately 3.4% of U.S. GDP in nominal dollars.

Within specific franchise industries, real estate will rank first in output growth and grow slightly faster than the franchise sector averages in establishments and employment. Business services and commercial and residential services franchises will rank as the top two sectors in both employment growth and growth of the number of establishments in 2013.

Quick service restaurants -- the largest franchise business line -- will rank second in the growth of output and will see growth rates of employment and new businesses that are slightly higher than the franchise sector average.

2. Multi-unit owners in these franchise brands are happiest.

Sotheby's International Realty


CertaPro Painters


Snap-on Tools




Auntie Anne's

are among the top 50 brands for multi-unit franchise owners, according to a report by

Franchise Business Review


Franchise operators who own more than one unit within a brand tend to be more satisfied overall than single-unit owners, the report says, which surveyed franchisee satisfaction of more than 6,600 multi-unit franchisees from more than 300 franchise companies to determine the best brands for multiple-unit ownership.

Multi-unit ownership has always been common among food franchisees, which benefit greatly from establishing economies of scale, but it has become increasingly popular with all types of franchisors and franchisees in recent years because of the many benefits that come with size. Prospective and existing franchisees recognize the significant revenue potential in owning three or more units and franchisors usually find it is easier to manage these relationships, Franchise Business Review says.

"Owning multiple stores within the same brand makes a lot of sense for the right business person, but it also involves a bigger investment and more risk, especially early on," Franchise Business Review President Michelle Rowan said in a press release. "People considering a multi-unit investment must do even more due diligence than single-unit candidates to determine if a brand can properly support them and if the culture is the right fit."

3. Your business needs a special sauce.


(MCD) - Get Free Report


Southwest Airlines

(LUV) - Get Free Report



(FDX) - Get Free Report


Whole Foods




(SBUX) - Get Free Report

are usually among the companies repeatedly found on the lists of those most emulated. But it isn't because they invented a new business category; rather they invented a better way of doing an already existing category.

Small businesses need to take that notion and apply it to their companies by finding their "special sauce," writes Drew Greenblatt, president of Marlin Steel in an article on


"Every company has to figure out the niche they should be exploiting, the belief, attitude, or trait that sets the business apart from its competition," he writes.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

Follow @LKulikowski

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to:


>To submit a news tip, email:



>>Test Kitchen: Smoothies

>>Lululemon's Reaction to Yoga Pants Mishap: Brilliant Marketing

>>Starting a Business? Move to One of These 6 Cities





and become a fan on



Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.