In this article, the last of our 6-part series, we will discuss; 1. Raising capital for your business; 2. Buying into a franchise; and 3. A recap of all our topics from this 6-part series. Let’s get started!1. Raising Capital for Your Business: This is one of the most challenging issues that befall a business owner, especially in today’s difficult economic times. Whether you own a small stay-at-home business, or you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, business is business regardless of size. My first and foremost advice to any entrepreneur starting out is to try fund your business yourself as much as possible. It may be a challenge, but you’d be surprised at how easy it becomes to improvise on a small budget. Besides, it will help you to respect the value of money, which will help you immensely down the road. And with technology so readily available at our fingertips today, entrepreneurs can promote their businesses for very little up front cost. Your first goal is to start earning money as quickly as possible, while keeping your debt as low as you can. Keeping your debt low will help you to become profitable more quickly.Now, if you already have a small business, but you just can’t grow it to that next level without some seed money, you may wish to consider obtaining a loan or line of credit. While I am not a huge fan of credit, there are times when it can be beneficial when properly managed. These days, loans are much harder to qualify for. Even with good credit, it can be a challenge. If obtaining a traditional loan is not an option, you may wish to obtain private money financing through a friend or colleague. But be sure you are able to pay it back as agreed. Nothing burns a bridge faster than not paying someone back. Also, if you go this route, make sure to make your payments on time. If you run into financial trouble, notify the lender immediately so he or she can work with you. The worst thing you can do is hide from your responsibility. This will only make the situation worse.Another popular thing that happens during tough economic times is that companies will sometimes merge together to grow their markets together. There is power in numbers, so it might be something to consider doing. Joint venture merging and/or marketing is growing in popularity these days, so don’t be afraid to investigate where that train of thought may take you. Consider talking to competitors about the idea of teaming up. If not permanently, perhaps for a few joint venture projects. This could be the difference between failure or success for you both.2. Buying into a Franchise: Do you have your eye on a particular franchise you would like to purchase? They can be quite lucrative. However, there are many issues and considerations to contend with when doing so. The upshot is that you are buying an established business model rolled into one big turnkey package. You may be thinking you can simply buy in and wait for the money to roll in, right? Wrong! It doesn’t work that way at all. That is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about franchises. As with any business, you will have to work hard to make it thrive, and you will have to answer to the franchise owner about business protocols.If you like the idea of buying into a franchise business, great! However, there are many pitfalls to avoid before committing to such an endeavor. You will definitely need to get educated and informed first. I suggest you contact a business attorney before jumping into this type of commitment. If you think an attorney is expensive, it’s nothing compared to a business deal gone wrong. Don’t go it alone! If you are inexperienced in this area, get professional help with buying a franchise. You’ll be very glad you did. Keep in mind owning and operating a franchise is not for the faint of heart, nor is it a get-rich-quick scheme. Like anything else in life, it takes hard work and dedication to make it successful. So learn all you can, and get informed before investing a single dime into anything.There are a variety of resources like the Franchise Expo (FranchiseExpo.com) and other venues that can help you find a franchise business right for you. Owning a franchise business can be very lucrative and rewarding, but make sure to plan it out first. Most franchises require a lot of up front capital and financial reserves in the bank. If you do not have that kind of money, franchising is not for you. You will want to consider other business options instead.3. Recap of Articles in This Series: Throughout my 6-part article series, we have addressed nearly every topic crucial to starting a successful business, or growing the business you already have. I hope this article series has shed light on how to start and sustain success, and has appealed to your entrepreneurial spirit. There is always a way to make a good living in nearly any economy.