Because, starting a business from scratch can be a challenge, many people seek out franchise or business opportunities to help ensure their success. While both offer support, training and a proven business model, it’s important to know the key differentiations both so that you can decide which system will work best for you.

Below are a few of the key differences:

1. Business name. All franchise owners operate under the same name as opposed to a business opportunity where you are free to use any name you chose for your business.

2. Operating system. Franchises require that every operator follows the exact same operating system. Business opportunities provide detailed suggestions about the most effective way to run your business but you are free to deviate from the business model and incorporate your own ideas.

3. Territory. Franchise owners are restricted to operating in a specific territory. In the case of a business opportunity, you have the freedom to operate in any market, expand and/or move your business without any type of penalty.

4. Royalty payments. Franchisees typically have a contractual commitment to pay the franchisor ongoing fees (royalties). Royalties can be a fixed periodic amount or may be expressed as a percentage of your sales. Business opportunities generally don’t charge any ongoing fees.

5. Ongoing support. Both business opportunities and franchises typically provide ongoing support to business owners. Franchises sometimes offer structured support with different entities within their corporate offices as opposed to business opportunities that offer more informal support on an as needed basis.

6. Investment. The cost to start a franchise can be tens of thousands of dollars in addition to proving that you have liquid assets at hand to support your business. Business opportunities are much less expensive and don’t require detailed financial information.

When it comes to choosing a path for business success, there is no right answer in terms of which strategy is better. It depends on your personality, goals and what you’re able to commit financially. In either case, do your research to determine what business is right for you.