Encouraging Women Into Franchising members explain why being a franchisee is a good career option for a woman
Franchising as a lifestyle choice for women is a fairly new workplace opportunity, but can offer a lucrative, flexible, sociable and stable career, according to Sam Petter of Tatty Bumpkin, which provides baby yoga classes nationwide.
“This new breed of women franchisee has a mixture of needs,” Sam says. “For women with families, they want and need an income, but since having a family they have become more nurturing, more socially aware and less materialistic.
“These franchisees are probably not going to earn six-figure salaries, but they will be there for their family, learn new skills and grow as a person along the way. Franchising is the perfect choice for women with families, as well as ambition. For women without families, it gives them scope to grow and extend their ambition beyond possible workplace dynamics that may have hindered their professional path in the past.
“Taking the Tatty Bumpkin franchise as an example, 90 per cent of franchisees have families and all are professional women, including bankers, ice dancers, models, scientists and lawyers. They want their own business and to be flexible, but they don’t have the time, energy or maybe the relevant expertise to set up on their own from scratch. Franchising offers a fantastic balance, with each member of a franchise team playing to their strength. Each person brings something new to the network, which helps everyone grow and become stronger.
“Franchising is the perfect opportunity for women to be their own boss, make decisions and grow both professionally and personally, while being part of a supportive network.”
Karen Sherr, Musical Minis
“As franchisor of Musical Minis pre-school music classes, our franchise is well suited to women and, in fact, has a totally female network of franchisees.
“A number of women who have taken a Musical Minis franchise have had a career break when they started a family and found their focus changed from work to family. Many of these women still either need to work or want to work. However, they also want the flexibility of fitting work around their family life and to be in control.
“Being a franchisee means they are their own boss and can fit work hours into times that suit them and their lifestyle. Obviously franchises vary, so research needs to be done on both sides to find a franchise that matches the work/life balance they are seeking. Becoming a franchisee enables a woman to own and run her own business and create the career she wants.
“Some of the Musical Minis franchisees, especially after having a career break to have children, find they have lost confidence in their abilities. Buying a franchise allows them to build up confidence, as they are buying a tried and tested business, and any uncertainties can be discussed with the franchisor, who should always be available for support and advice. So even though it is the franchisee’s own business, they are not alone.
“Running a franchise can be quite isolating, especially if the business doesn’t have staff. However, women are good at sharing information and tips with other franchisees in the network and asking for suggestions when they need ideas. Most women don’t feel they know all the answers and aren’t too proud to ask for help. Being a franchisee allows women to have a career, be their own boss and achieve the work/life balance they want.”
Tracy Townend, Puddle Ducks
“Running your own business, especially when you have children, takes commitment and motivation - and franchising can be a great option. It not only takes the risk out of setting up on your own, as you are investing in an already proven business model, but enables you to launch quickly and effectively.
“Buying a franchise delivers peace of mind that it is your business, but you are supported by a national network and experts based at headquarters. You will be guided and supported by a team who are there to assist and advise you every step on the way - from planning your launch to growing your business.
“By operating a franchise, you will work within an organisation that continually invests in the business - from marketing and programme development, to business processes and IT solutions. There is also more flexibility compared to being an employee, which is ideal for balancing work and family life. Home-based franchises suit women whose priority is to spend time close to their home and with their family.
“Franchising often provides the opportunity to gain more autonomy. The advantage of franchises for women is that they can find it easier to fulfil their ambitions in the franchising world than working their way up the corporate ladder. In franchising there is no glass ceiling - only the sky is the limit.”
EWIF is a not for profit organisation that has three aims:
* To encourage women to buy a franchised business.
* To encourage women with existing businesses to consider franchising them.
* To help existing franchisors recruit more female franchisees.
Run by volunteer co-chairs Louise Bruce of Big Red Box PR and Louise Harris, franchise director of Wilkins Chimney Sweep, the organisation offers 30 minutes of free telephone counselling from an experienced franchisor for any woman wanting to find out more about the industry.
It also holds regular meetings across the UK for members, supporters and guests to meet, network, share best practice and hear from a speaker from within the franchise industry. EWIF is not just for women. It has many male members and actively encourages men to join and share their experiences.
Full details of the meetings can be found on the Regional Meetings page of the EWIF website (www.ewif.org), by following the organisation on Twitter or Facebook or joining its LinkedIn group.