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It's a Brave New World For Franchisees in 2012
CNBC.com | January 13, 2012 | 10:03 AM EST

Guest columnist Brian Miller advises franchisees and franchisors to hone their technology skills in 2012.

With a large variety of brand categories and many different sized companies, franchising is hardly constant throughout. However, one immutable agent of change is currently affecting the entire industry: technology.

According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, the percentage of American adults using the Internet rose from almost 50 percent in 2005 to nearly 80 percent in 2011. Advances in technology means one thing for franchise companies hoping to be successful in 2012 and beyond — they must adapt.

Fifteen years ago, a prospective franchisee would have been drawn to a franchise by its potential for growth, brand power or geographic proximity to other like franchises. The individual would have called an inquiry hotline and been faxed or mailed information about opening a location. Furthermore, business would have been handled over the phone until the potential franchisee met with executives, prior to being awarded a franchise.

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