Ultimately, the answer to the question,\u00a0\u201cShould I franchise my business?\u201d is a personal one. But what most profitable franchise systems excel at that all small businesses can learn from is their systematized, replicable way of doing things. If you're seeking to franchise your business, you'll need to document your own systems. Even if you're not seeking to franchise, documenting your systems can be a good way to go. And maybe the thought of franchising right now sounds like too much, when all you\u2019re trying to do is survive this economy.\u00a0 Well, dreaming is free, and strategic dreams are smart.\u00a0 The \u201cfranchise my business" dream just might get you moving on documenting your systems. The immediate reward is better business today, followed by expanded business tomorrow. How Close Are You to the Dream? Regardless of the business structure you choose, Susan L. Reid suggests that you stay within two degrees of separation when starting a business. She is concerned that your dream will remain a dream when "the gap between where you are now and what you need to learn to start a business is more than two degrees of separation." Not that you can\u2019t learn something new, but if you are looking for a business that can pay off sooner rather than later, then Susan feels that you may need to go for what you know or something near it "because if you extend beyond two degrees, it is likely that you'll end up feeling overwhelmed with all that you'll need to learn just to get up to speed." While you are figuring things out, consider the following question: Are You Losing Out if You Don\u2019t Franchise? Scott Shane highlights the numbers in, "How Much Does Franchising Contribute to the Economy?" \u00a0Not every industry uses franchising, but for those that do, the franchise system is a power tool employing millions, generating billions in payroll, and accounting for $1.1 trillion in annual sales. When directly compared to independent companies, Shane says, the numbers vary drastically by industry. "Independent establishments have higher average sales, payroll and employment in automotive parts and accessories," Shane notes, "but in convenience stores, franchisee-owned establishments are higher on all three measures." The personal decision about whether or not to franchise your business will be based on something more than numbers (i.e. the freedom, the structure, the passion and the numbers). Joel Libava, the Franchise King,\u00a0 points out the 5 reasons fitness franchises keep growing.\u00a0 He says, "After two solid years of pretty negative small business news, seeing businesses with solid growth is quite energizing." If you find the one that is right for you, the niche is king.\u00a0 If fitness is your business niche, Libava says, "the fitness franchises that continue to innovate will be the ones that continue growing." The small business landscape is diverse. It takes effort to find what works for you. If it works for you, franchising can be the way to go.