The number of franchises in the UK are growing year-on-year, and as many as 30% of them are now run by women. And there’s a very good reason for that – women make great franchisees. Franchise expert Kate Sargeant explains why.
If you’re thinking of running your own business, then buying a franchise is definitely worth considering. In fact, when done properly, a franchise can be a fantastic business opportunity to fulfil your dreams of owning your own business and creating a life you love. And with over 900 franchise networks in the UK, there’s plenty to choose from.
More and more franchises are run by women
Successful franchisees come from all walks of life and any number of different backgrounds, but there are certain key traits and skills that every franchisee needs to have. Many of these characteristics are traits that us ladies seem to have by the bucket load.
Not surprising then that the number of women operating franchises in the UK is increasing steadily. Every year, NatWest Bank in conjunction with the British Franchise Association carries out a survey of the UK franchise industry. Last year’s survey showed that around 30% of franchisees in the UK are now women.
The number of franchise networks targeted specifically at women is also on the increase, and you may well have attended mums and baby classes that are part of franchise networks.
What is a franchise?
Before we understand why women are naturally so great at running franchises, it’s important to understand exactly what a franchise is.
In a true franchise, one person (the franchisor) will have a successful business model. The franchisor then teaches someone else (the franchisee) to copy that business in return for payment of fees. Put simply, a franchise is a bit like following a recipe. The franchisor will have the recipe for a successful business and the idea is that if the franchisee follows the recipe exactly, she will end up with her own successful business which is an identical copy of the original.
The franchisor provides a complete business system. This will usually include an established brand, a detailed operations manual setting out the processes and procedures needed to run the business on a day-to-day basis and ongoing training and support.
The operations manual will set out procedures for every aspect of the business, including marketing, how to deliver the goods and service to the customer, invoicing, stock control and admin procedures.
The franchisee’s business will be based on a tried and tested business model. This means that much of the guess work in starting a new business will be taken away. The franchisor will have already established that there is a market for the goods and services and will have worked out the best ways to promote it, how much to charge and how long it will take before the business can be expected to show a profit.
In return, the franchisee can expect to pay an initial fee up front, together with on-going management fees.
The three reasons why women make great franchisees
So what are the key skills and personality traits that a franchisee needs in order to cook up a successful business, and why are women naturally so good at them? There are many that I could mention, but let’s start with just three of them.
As any business owner knows, running a business requires you to be an expert in time management and organisation. There will be more demands on your time than there are hours in the day. The franchisor will be on hand to guide you at a strategic level, but you will be on your own for most of the day-to-day decisions. This means you will need to organise your time effectively to ensure that the priorities for that day get done.
Having said this, what woman ever has enough hours in the day? We are always busy rushing around, running the home, juggling careers, making sure bills are paid on time and those all important appointments are never missed. No wonder we’re so great at multi-tasking!
Things never go quite to plan in a start-up business. There will be days when you don’t make any sales, or a customer doesn’t pay you, or for a multitude of reasons, you just want to chuck in the towel and go back to your nice, secure 9-5 job.
These days happen in every start up business. The great thing about franchises is that when you reach a stumbling block, you can turn to the franchisor and other franchisees in the network for support and advice. But don’t be fooled into thinking just because you buy a franchise, ‘those days’ wont happen.
They will. And you will need all the tenacity and self-belief you can muster to pick yourself up and just keep going.
Fortunately, tenacity is something us women are good at. Think about the guy you fancied at school – how long did you spend following him around in the hope of getting a date? Or your two year old throwing a tantrum in the supermarket. Two year olds can be pretty stubborn, but I bet you held your ground!
3) Being happy to follow directions
You know how men would rather run out of petrol in the middle of no-where rather than ask for directions? Whereas us smart ladies are more than happy to ask for directions, or for that matter, read the instructions before trying to assemble a flat pack; or follow a really great recipe that we know works without swopping the ingredients around.
The thing is, franchising is all about following a system – indeed that’s what you’re paying for. A business format franchise is a system where the franchisor has a blue print for operating a successful business.
The franchisee is paying for the right to use the blue print and replicate the franchisor’s business. If you’re not prepared to follow the system, there’s not much point in paying to become a franchisee.
Want to know more about franchises?
If you’re toying with the idea of running a franchise, and you’d like to know more about them first, you can discover when to buy a franchise (and when to run a mile) and read the four biggest mistakes people make when buying one.
You can also learn more about running a franchise and the differences between franchises and independent start up business, in Kate’s free Franchise Report.Kate Sargeant