Before exploring why franchise ownership is a good way for women to accomplish business goals, it is important to have an informed understanding of what franchising is and how it works.
Franchising is a business structure where franchisors grant franchisees rights to operate their business system under an agreement in return for ongoing fees. Optimally, a franchise is 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 gains the capital of the franchisee as well as their drive and commitment to the success of the brand and their own franchise operation. Conversely, the franchisee gains important benefits in terms of established branding appeal and has the advantage of an existing developed business model to guide them.
Franchising can offer ambitious women the opportunity to successfully and profitably run a business while stimulating personal and professional goals.
Women and Franchising: Top Franchise Characteristics
According to Iain Murphy in his book, The Franchising Handbook: The Complete Guide to Choosing a Franchise, women are in some ways better suited to franchising and make an even more attractive group as potential franchisees.
- Women are often skilled activity and people coordinators; women franchisees are thus often naturally inclined to manage their chosen franchise opportunity even more productively and profitably
- Women are often skilled with setting priorities; this skill complements the franchising industry along with 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’re big collaborators. We don’t mind meeting with a group and saying ‘what’s the best way to do this’. And when you’re with a franchising community you need to listen to those franchisees—they’re 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.”
Statistics reveal that women will only continue to have a dramatic impact on business. 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 Labor Statistics by 2018.
“Franchising is absolutely conducive to the needs of women,” says Dina. “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.”