By Helen Venables of House of Colour
Franchising is becoming an increasingly attractive choice for women to meet the growing need for flexibility and work/life balance that comes with having your own business.
Whilst women want to be successful at work, they additionally face unprecedented and constant pressure to be a super mum, expert house organiser, social genius and perfect wife and are increasingly overwhelmed at what is expected of them and what they expect of themselves. Add to that many of us will need to work into our 70s so the pressure is on to keep a steady income for longer, and we have quite the complicated melting pot.
Having your own business, a good wage, satisfactory flexibility and the unwavering support from a formal and established franchisor is extremely attractive when you look at the issues facing women in the workplace including lower wages than men for doing the same job. Companies can be reluctant to hire 30-something women because of the complications of maternity leave and so in her twenties a woman who might want a family in the future can feel a perceived urgency to climb the career ladder as quickly as possible. In the meantime, it is estimated that on average women in Britain lose 9% of their wage after their first child and 16% after their second child.
There is good news though because franchisors are stepping up their efforts to recruit and enable women franchisees. Good franchisors offer extensive training programs to new franchisees, as well as continued support for any concerns that might arise during the day-to-day operations of the business. Franchisors welcome the wealth of experience from a previous successful career and what it brings to a different business. House of Colour has ex teachers, marketing and sales executives, media consultants, HR’s, IT professionals, NHS and journalists, as well as those with a fashion background. Diversity is very valuable.
Women are also generally incredible networkers which is an invaluable skill for franchisees to engage with their market and build their business. Many franchisors would like to see an increase in enquiries from women more than any other specific group.
Prior to having her own franchise Claire Bannister ran her own procurement consultancy business working with the financial services sector in London for 17 years. She loved the corporate life, but she needed more work life balance, wanted the autonomy of being self-employed, whilst having the support, brand assurance and training a franchisor provides. She is now House of Colour’s number one stylist in the UK.
Franchising is an exciting, profitable opportunity but do your research. Don’t just go for the cheapest franchise in the sector that you are interested in. Find out what exactly you will be getting for your investment. Ultimately choose a franchise that you know you will enjoy. Trust your instincts and work out where your passions and talents lie.
Benefits of being a franchisee
- Running your own franchise can offer flexibility and good work/life balance.
- There are usually low start-up costs yet big rewards.
- A franchise can offer a new career for those who want a change and the opportunity to grow personally.
- You can utilise the experience of a working business plan and gain all the goodwill of a strong, recognisable brand. Put your own spin on things but use all the advantages of the franchisor’s experience and expertise.
- Franchisors usually offer extensive training to ensure complete confidence in running your own franchise.
Top tips when choosing a franchise
- Make sure your franchise location is convenient for customers, has a steady stream of possible business nearby and the demographics of the area that matches what you’re trying to sell.
- If you are after an exclusive area, make sure there are clear boundaries from other franchisees in the region.
- Every business owner will need to have an understanding of sales and accounting so ensure your franchisor offers solid support in these areas.
- The sales and marketing of your product can make or break your franchise. Make sure you analyse the effects of each strategy and see what works well or not so well. Check and use what your franchisor additionally offers in terms of marketing support.
- Every so often look at your competition to find out what they are offering and offer something different and better!
- Exceptional customer service is essential if you want a successful franchise. You will always notice the benefits.
Set clear goals, and make sure they are realistic. Have long term aims for your business as well as short term more modest goals. Don’t go in with the expectation of being an overnight millionaire!