As 2010 comes to a close, it’s fun to dust off the proverbial crystal ball and predict what the coming year may hold in store for the franchise world. But first, a quick review of the upheaval that the franchise industry has endured in the past two years is in order.

Since 2008, the U.S. has seen a huge increase in unemployment, the worst recession since the 1940s and the near disappearance of the credit market for startup loans. These conditions are now being referred to as the “new normal.” It might be some time, if ever, before the economy and franchising
return to the boom days that were the norm for most of the past decade.

As an observer of market ups and downs over many years, I’ve learned to never discount the entrepreneurial spirit. Though starting a franchise has become more difficult than it was just a few years ago, I see some compelling signals that the industry may be turning a corner despite continued weak consumer confidence and economic uncertainty. Read on.