It is important to have an informed understanding of what franchising is and how it works in practice. As we address the basics, we will also start exploring why franchise ownership is an excellent way for women to realise their business goals.
Basics of Franchising
Franchising is a business structure where franchisors grant franchisees the right to operate their business system under a franchise agreement in return for ongoing fees. Ideally, a franchise should be a fully operational business concept with established and clearly documented processes. The franchisee becomes an individual business owner, and uses a pre-developed framework, typically in the form of training, operational guidelines, and marketing support, to refer to or use for ongoing guidance.
In a franchise partnership, the franchisor obtains the capital from the franchisee as well as their drive and commitment to the success of the brand and their own franchise operation. In return, the franchisee gains important benefits in terms of established branding appeal and the advantages of an existing developed business model to guide them.
Franchising can offer ambitious women the opportunity to successfully and profitably run a business while achieving their personal and professional goals.
Characteristics of Women in Franchising
According to Iain Murphy in his book “The Franchising Handbook; The Complete Guide to Choosing a Franchise”, women are in certain ways better suited to franchising and make an even more attractive group as potential franchisees:
- Women are often considered to be skilled activity and people coordinators; it follows therefore that women franchisees are naturally inclined to manage their chosen franchise opportunity even more productively and profitably
- Women can be skilled at setting priorities; this skill complements the franchising industry in terms of planning, staffing, financing, and people management responsibilities
- Women usually strive to work toward common goals and enjoy networking; female franchise operators aim to make their franchise a success, working well with the entire team, and ensure effective communication between franchisee and franchisor
“When you look at the demographics, there are more women than men. We tend to live longer, so we certainly need to have some options in business ownership,” adds Miriam Brewer, the Senior Director of Education and Diversity with the International Franchise Association (IFA).
“Women make very good business owners, as do men,” Miriam says. “But we need to have some other opportunities. Sometimes we leave the workforce to take care of children and then we come back and the jobs may not be there, so why not be your own boss? In franchising, we like to say that ‘you’re in business for yourself but not by yourself’, and franchising is attractive to women for that reason.”
Furthermore, Dina Dwyer-Owens, Chairwoman and CEO of The Dwyer Group says, “I think women bring so much value to franchising because we are big collaborators. We do not mind meeting with a group and saying ‘what’s the best way to do this’. And when you are with a franchising community you need to listen to those franchisees. They are out there doing it on the frontline doing it day in and day out. You need to be willing to sit down and hear what they have to say and figure out, how do we make this better, than we already have. So I think women are a natural fit for franchising.” Dina goes on to explain how Franchising suits the needs of women, “It spans more than 300 industries. Whether it’s beauty care, or frankly, home services, we have women franchisees who own Mr. Rooter plumbing franchises. There’s something for everybody.”
Statistics reveal that women will continue to have a dramatic impact on business in the Western developed world. Based on The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute's projection, women owned small businesses will generate more than half of the estimated 9.72 million new small business jobs ahead, and roughly one third of the 15.3 million total new jobs anticipated by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics by 2018. Unfortunately in Mauritius and the Indian Ocean territories at large, women have not advanced quite as far as their Western counterparts. Much of the developing world is still dominated by a patriarchal society but the will does exist to break through these barriers and sometimes it is simply the means that is missing. Now with the Franchise opportunities available, women can take up a valuable opportunity to end the cycle of male dominance and prove their worth in business.