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Diversity in Franchises: What You Need to Know

Diverse Work GroupTake a look at data from the U.S. Census Bureau and you’ll see that minorities are quickly becoming the majority in America. By 2045, the census predicts the majority of the United States will be non-white.

The United States has long been known as the melting pot of the world. Now, these predictions for a fast changing landscape shows that we’re not slowing down in terms of diversifying the nation’s population. Can your franchise follow suit? It should.

Obstacles of Diversifying the Franchising World

In our recent Prospective Franchisee Survey, we found that the “typical” franchise seeker on our website is a white male between 36 and 45. With the changing demographics of our nation, we expect to see that prospective franchise seeker evolve. Still, in spite of the direction of our population, there are a few obstacles that stand in the way of that evolution.

Limited Information Resources

One of the biggest reasons it’s so difficult to diversify the franchising world is because of a lack of information. Minority communities tend to receive less information about franchising opportunities, making it harder for these communities to realize the American dream through working in, or starting, a franchise.

Websites, such as Franchise Direct, aim to make this information more accessible to people from all backgrounds. By continuing to shed light on the franchising industry, we are able to offer information online to people seeking a new path.

Another organization bridging the information gap offline is DiversityFran through the International Franchise Association. This group offers offline educational opportunities to serve as a catalyst to the minority community’s involvement in franchising.

Weak Relationships

Another reason franchising is such a struggle is the lack of relationships that currently exist in the minority communities. When franchisors and potential minority franchisees don’t talk, it’s harder to let these communities know about the possibilities available to them.

There are several professional organizations that target minorities, such as the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Black MBA Association, aiming to bridge this relationship gap. These organizations, and more, have a strong pulse on what’s happening in minority communities. They have the connection points to put franchisees and franchisors in touch with each other and/or potential employees.

Less Capital

Historically, minorities have had a harder time entering the franchising world because many are at a disadvantage economically. This makes it hard to build a thriving franchise, which in turn leads to less diversity in the franchising world.

What’s Being Done

New programs have emerged to assist minorities and others in starting a franchise. Programs through organizations such as the Minority Business Development Agency, the NAACP, and the Association of Small Business Development Centers have helped reach more low income, disadvantaged communities. The goal? To share the opportunities available through franchising to help diversify the industry as quickly as the United States is diversifying its population.

Franchisors are also playing a big role by offering financial assistance and incentives to help overcome the initial large fees. There is already a tremendous amount of support offered by franchisors, but in many cases, this support is increasing in an effort to reach, connect with and assist minorities who might not be aware of the opportunities available in franchising.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She’s written three business books, including How to Get More Customers With Press Releases, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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