You need to assess the overall opportunity cost; that is, the total cost in terms of time and money and what else you could be doing with both.
For example, franchises can be lucrative, but they often require a cash outlay of several hundred thousand dollars. What else could you be doing with that money? Are you prepared to take on that level of financial risk?
They also require a constant time commitment -- often 60 hours a week at least. Are you prepared for that? What will you miss out on if you're at your place of business that much? Time with the kids? The wife? Friends?
This is how you should think of things when you determine what the opportunity cost is. Because of this assessment, the best business model for me was a home based internet one in an industry known as affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is simply leveraging off other companies and selling their products without having to create your own, or store or ship any yourself. The company does all of that. I simply sell them -- and all in the privacy of my home via the web.
I never have to talk to anyone!
Because of these advantages, affiliate marketing requires very little capital to start up and run -- around $50 dollars a month for web hosting and some domain registration. I get to spend a lot of time with my family -- in fact, I am a work at home dad to 3 children.
Granted, there are possible downsides as well. For example, some people like to work in an environment where they are around other people. If you need daily human interaction, affiliate marketing may not be the best business model for you as you will likely become very lonely.
I offset this by sometimes choosing to work in coffee shops and then working at home when I feel like it.
Also, another thing to consider is income potential. Affiliate marketing and many types of internet marketing have no income ceiling. You can make as little or as much as your desire and talents dictate.
The same cannot be said for many other businesses which are often tied to how many hours in the day you have or how many items you can stock.
The best business model for the future will also depend on the industries you believe will experience the greatest growth. For example, if you believe there are big opportunities in the green sector you can look for programs to align yourself with, whether online or offline.
There are many green and eco-friendly products available to sell and I am involved in some of these industries myself, like water filtration products that are in high demand.
In the end, find markets that you are interested in, learn to control your risks, and treat your endeavor as a real business and you'll go a long way toward becoming successful.