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How Franchising Is Empowering Women

January 10, 2020
How Franchising Is Empowering Women

The last decade has seen a dramatic rise in female leadership. Gender parity is finally starting to be addressed – in 2019, 29% of senior management roles were held by women, the highest on record. But some business structures are pushing equality forward more than others. Women in franchising are understanding this.

But why? How might buying a franchise do more for you than fighting for a place on the corporate ladder, or starting a business from scratch?

Here, we take a look at why the franchise industry is so appealing to the female sex.

You’re your own boss from day one – with less risk

Data company Visier has found that women are more likely to be labelled ‘top performers’ at work, yet less likely to be promoted. They suggest several reasons for this.

Some men in traditional positions of power may penalise you for having a child. Split maternity/paternity leave is one of the single largest factors contributing to women being overlooked. It can interrupt an annual wage rise and give people – including decision-makers – the impression that you aren’t committed.

You may want to swerve the employment route and think about starting your own business. That, at least, puts advancement more on your terms. However, it’s generally risky. 60% of new businesses fail within the first five years. They are unproven, take a lot of startup capital, and have to prove themselves in what may already be a saturated market.

A franchise, on the other hand, is much more dependable. According to a NatWest Franchise Report-2018, 93% of franchisees claim profitability. 6 in 10 turn over more than £250,000. It explains why 20% more women listed themselves as franchisees between 2015 and 2018 – the model is more secure.

If you want to lead a team and break away from a career stranglehold, women-owned businesses are the answer. And to avoid the same risk of failure early on, invest in a franchise. You get the freedom to set the rules of your development and unlock your earning potential with a tried-and-tested concept.

The work-life balance is better

A 2014 study found that 54% of women business owners felt they didn’t have a good work-life balance – more than the men surveyed. While women in franchising have to put the same amount of effort into their business, the schedule is yours to set. You can plan your own day, and reserve time for whatever else matters – like your family life.

Single mothers or those with partners who aren’t offered flexible working or paternity can find this very useful. You’re given the power to make the time back up elsewhere. And, eventually, you may not have to; chances are that long hours will feature more heavily in your first year or two, whilst you’re gathering funds to hire more staff and spread the workload, and then lessen as time goes by.

Franchising additionally doesn’t suck up as many hours as running your own SME because you have an established name to take forward. You have to market, network and promote on behalf of the business, of course. But you’re given the tools to do this effectively, and it’s less intense than building a brand up from nothing at all.

As a business model goes, franchising is kinder on the clock: you get the time you need to reserve for yourself and the people that may rely on you.

There’s a support network waiting

When you’re finding your feet, it helps to learn from other female franchisees who have been there, made their own success, and have several branches to show for it. Encouraging women aren’t just a source of advice and practical tips – they make the franchise’s culture more diverse, bringing added life experience that you can apply to your own situation.

Women in franchising have access to this support whenever they need it. You’ll be able to meet other female (and male) business owners through the interview and training stages. If you have any doubts, ask them what it’s like to work for the parent organisation.

Query these individuals on their skill sets, working days, margins, business plans and learning opportunities too. Remember – they were exactly like you once. They’re likely to give an honest response.

You can also run your flexible working plan past others. If, for instance, you want to split up your schedule to spend time with your family, you’ll find plenty of examples of people who have done just that. Another woman’s methods can inspire your own.

Funding is easier to access

A lot of finance is harder for women to gain. Why? Because men tend to hold the power, which may consciously or subconsciously affect their decision to approve or deny a loan request.

In the US, only 2.2% of venture capital funds were secured by females in 2017. This is strange when we examine – from a UK perspective – that the number of women who pay back SME loans on time is higher than that of men. There is no reason why the numbers should be so divergent, if what they are using the loan for is making them a success.

But a female franchise needs startup capital too – and in this respect, an international franchise can tip the scales back to a more balanced level of funding, irrespective of gender. That’s because specialist lending is part of many franchise deals.

The franchisor should have a pool of lenders to help you get started. They could cover a third or even half the cost of your opening branch. As long as the business plan is solid, you’re likelier to be approved given their strong relationship with the franchisor – and this is evidenced by the number of women in franchising already.

Get started in franchising

As a franchise owner, you have the freedom and scope to grow, without many of the limitations that may be placed on you elsewhere. The percentage of women in a franchise business – which is on the rise – speaks for itself.

But, to recap, here are the reasons why franchising is empowering women worldwide…

Franchise owners are able to bypass a ‘typical’ career and explore their own potential. Franchise opportunities allow you to do so without the same risk associated with SMEs.

If you have family obligations, you’re able to more easily manage your own time; franchising can enable you to obtain a work-life split that makes sense to you.

Other supporting women are always on standby for answers to your questions, expert guidance and first-hand experience.

There’s a greater chance of securing a loan when you need it. Women in franchising don’t necessarily have to work harder to secure trust in their ideas.

Read more thoughts on female-first franchising in another Rainbow article. Or, consider applying today. We have dozens of specialist cleaning and restoration territories throughout the UK, and we welcome applications from individuals of any background.