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How to Succeed in Your Own Business

Propelled by pink slips, more workers are flying solo.

Wayne Salk was worried about whether he'd saved enough for retirement. But at 64, he wasn't sure how much longer he wanted to work as a distribution manager for a real estate magazine. "I'd been looking for a business for some time," says Salk, who lives in Sebastopol, Cal. Then he got a nudge in the form of a pink slip. "The door opened and I was pushed out." Now Salk, an avid birder, is scouting a location for a Wild Bird Center franchise. The stores sell seed, feeders and other accessories for backyard bird buffs. He likes the proven formula of a franchise: He can draw on expertise from the main office and enjoy bulk-buying discounts in exchange for a percentage of his sales. Salk estimates the store will cost $140,000 to $150,000 to set up.


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While the credit crunch makes it harder for those without severance packages or savings to strike out on their own, franchisers are offering incentives. And economic-stimulus efforts could loosen the financing logjam.

Mentors are easy to find. Score has 12,000 mentors nationwide who will advise you for free, in person or online. Small Business Development Centers, a joint effort of the Small Business Administration, colleges and local governments, offers management assistance at some 1,000 locations. You can network at your local Rotary Club and chamber of commerce, at, and at sites devoted to small-business communities, such as