5 Best Franchise Opportunities for 2013

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Interested in running a franchise? Consider starting a hair salon, becoming a business coach or opening a gym if you're looking to get the best bang for your buck.

Franchisees are always looking for the next "big thing." Yet, following consumer trends is one of the best ways to keep tabs on the services and products that could do well as business investments.

"Particularly because of this economic downturn ... more people are looking to take control of their own destiny," says Brian Miller, president of The Entrepreneur's Source. "Industry sectors that are growing is certainly something that franchise candidates are interested in" for long-term success.

Miller's firm helps franchise candidates understand potential opportunities within specific industries. The company works with more than 200 franchise brands, but it represents the candidates, not the franchisors.

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While turmoil in Washington and a sluggish economy mean franchise establishment will be moderate this year, there are a few sectors that stand out, according to the International Franchise Association's 2013 business outlook.

Experts say businesses driven by catering to specific demographics (such as baby boomers), health and wellness, personal services (hair care or auto servicing), and service-based businesses will continue to thrive.

Here are five strong franchise industries for 2013.

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