Mandy Bagot, franchisor of Cloud Bookkeeping and a regular speaker at Encouraging Women into Franchising events, explains why women should consider investing in a franchise
Franchising appeals to women because they’re good at following systems, are attentive to detail and have the ability to multi-task - all the skills needed to run a successful franchise based on a proven business model.
So why are there not more women in franchising? According to the 2009 Encouraging Women into Franchising franchisee survey, 70 per cent of those surveyed felt there were barriers that made it more difficult for women to own or operate a franchise, compared with men. However, while women possess the right skills to run a franchise, they are often held back by family commitments, a lack of child care and often a lack of confidence.
Investing in a franchise instead of starting your own independent business is a great way to boost confidence because of the support system offered by franchisors in the form of:
* The training and mentoring received.
* Telephone and email support.
* Visits from a dedicated franchise manager
* Access to fellow franchisees.
* Franchisee meetings.
In addition, becoming a franchisee is an excellent way for women to work around family and other commitments.
Buying into a franchise based on a tried and tested business model provides more stability than starting out on your own and knowing you’re an integral part of a bigger team is a significant benefit.
One of the things a woman needs to consider when buying a franchise, especially those offering a good work/ life balance, is that it’s important to remember a franchise may offer part-time work but being a franchisee is not a part-time job. A franchise is your business 24/7 and you must be prepared to put in considerable hours and work hard.
It’s just as important that a woman prepares a ‘commitment plan’ as well as a business plan, answering such questions as:
* How passionate are you about running your own business?
* What do you want to get out of running a franchise?
* Can you commit 5-10 years to running your franchise before selling it?
* What hours are you willing to dedicate to your business to make it a success?
* What is the minimum amount of time you need to take off for holidays, etc, especially in the first year of trading?
* Do you have a dedicated quiet place at home to work if needed?
* If you have children, do you have adequate child care provisions in place?
Often a woman is nervous about the first meeting with a franchisor, but they can always take along a partner or friend for support. Also, ensure you speak to other franchisees in the network -preferably ones you choose to speak to, not the ones the franchisor selects.
Nowadays, franchises provide a lot of information on their websites, which allows you to carry out very detailed research. At many of the UK franchise exhibitions that take place throughout the year, exhibiting franchisors will have some of their franchisees in attendance, which gives you an excellent opportunity to further your research face to face.
Encouraging Women into Franchising is a not-for-profit organisation with a mandate to inspire, educate and support:
* Women looking to become franchisees.
* Women business owners looking to franchise their business.
* Franchisors that have an under-representation of women franchisees.
EWIF provides a free half-hour telephone support, advice and mentoring service.