Lady Bosses: Advantages, Challenges, and Opportunities in Franchising
On paper, things may seem that they’ve never been better for women in business. Yet that may be setting the benchmark rather low. Considering women constitute half the population, women-owned businesses are still in a substantial minority, and almost any woman will be aware that to get anything done they have to prove themselves far more than do men.
Here are some challenges that women entrepreneurs still face:
- Starting a business is hard work. You’re going to work long hours, nights you’ll bring work home with you and weekends where the workweek never really ends. For many women who still do most of the job of raising a family, if you’re going to go into business, then you need to choose a sector you’re passionate about – one that will keep you going through the long hours.
- Make sure you’re entering a business that you’re sure you can succeed in. You should look around for a franchise with a track record of success among people with backgrounds similar to yours. Ask lots of questions. Talk to the franchisor’s team and listen carefully to the manner in which they talk about their business. Measure their own passion for the business. It might be important for prospects of future happiness to find out how many women are in their leadership team. Then look for a system that includes many other female franchisees because they’ll understand the challenges you face both at work and at home, and they’ll be able to share their experiences and the lessons they’ve learned
- Their leadership team must be one that emphasises the products or service you’ll be selling to consumers, not one that’s merely in the business of just selling a franchise. Find out about the day-to-day flexibility franchisees can expect and how many hours the average franchisee invests in their business. Learn about the support network and the kind of access you’ll have to other women you can relate to and get particular advice on how easy it is for a woman to get the business off the ground.
- Find a strong mentor. Find someone within the system who is willing and able to take you under their wing while you learn the business and get it off the ground.
Proportionately, there are far more women franchisees than women entrepreneurs. This is because in franchising you’re never alone – franchisors are your partners in business and only really succeed when their franchisees do well. There is a culture of helping each other. Those other franchisees have seen and overcome the challenges of starting a business and many will be eager to help you do the same.
You want to find a franchise that shares your values and your goals from top to bottom. Through your research, you should look for a system that boasts success stories from female entrepreneurs from your background and one that fits your lifestyle.
It is for these advantages and opportunities that many women choose franchise ownership for their small business.
Yet the most common reasons women choose franchising are the same as those for men:
- The opportunity to join a business with a proven track record of success and is already well known in the market
- Turnkey operating procedures, HR policies, and vendor relations, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel on anything
- Marketing support is provided at national and local level to drive business into your franchise
- There is a built-in network of fellow entrepreneurs, meaning all you have to do is gauge how many women succeed
In conclusion, franchising aims to be a family-friendly business model. There can be more flexibility and control that allows female franchise owners to achieve the work-home balance they crave.
By Eamonn Ryan