Thursday, May 2, 2013

EB-5 visas and franchises: All franchises aren't created the same, and neither are all Business Advisors.

Now that regional centers are effectively blocked from the EB-5 visa market, a lot of shady characters are offering franchises to EB-5 visa seekers as a route to getting EB-5 visa through Direct Investment Business Category.

EB-5 visa seekers should remember that a Papa John's or Dominos franchise may be great for Pizzerias, while Marco's Pizza may be a risky investment due to an unproven model and customer preferences. Similarly, a McDonalds or 5 Guys franchise may be great for burgers, but Elevation Burgers may actually be quite risky for reasons stated above. A final example would be Subways being a great option while Quiznos not being so great. Quite often, unscrupulous franchise brokers may try to solicit EB-5 visa seekers to invest in a business with a risky business model, in order to earn commissions from the franchisor at the expense of the EB-5 visa seeker.

An easy way to find out if a franchise is a good option or not, is to ask a lender bank if they will finance that franchise. If the lender says no, then the EB-5 visa seeker should avoid the franchise. Another easy way to find out is to ask the franchisor to provide audited financial statements from 10 of the closest franchisees to see what was the annual NOI per store, and in case the stores are making losses or very little profit, the EB-5 visa seekers should avoid the franchise. EB-5 visa seekers should also ask Franchise brokers and promoters to disclose in a notarised affidavit the commissions they will receive from all sources, in order to make an informed decision on whether to invest or not in a particular franchise. Finally, EB-5 visa seekers should seek the help of reputed and experienced Business Advisors who offer a written guarantee of freedom from conflict of interest to their clients, to help EB-5 visa seekers make an informed decision.

All business brokers and advisors are not alike either. The unethical ones promote risky, third rate franchises to EB-5 visa seekers, while we've helped our clients buy / start only reputable franchises such as 5 guys, McDonalds, KFC, Subway, etc., due to which our clients have never had to face operating losses or capital loss, while those who invest in dubious franchises are usually encounter capital losses and operating losses. Our competitors usually don't offer written guarantees of full disclosure and freedom from conflict of interest, while we do so confidently and proudly. Our competitors don't have 9 years of Business Brokerage and Advisory experience helping investors buy / start businesses to qualify for the EB-5 visa, while since 2004, we've helped 48 investors get their EB-5 visa approvals so far.

We offer a full fee refund guarantee in case our client's EB-5 visa petition is denied due to our fault. We also offer a written guarantee of full disclosure and freedom from conflict of interest, and none of our clients has suffered operating losses or capital losses. For more information, please call or visit our website

Yours truly
Mohammed Shaikh, MBA, CFE, Licensed RE & Business Broker (CA & FL)
Phone: 407 535 0616

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