Why franchising can be the answer for young, entrepreneurial women

Love to get paid for doing something you love, but don’t have the experience to start your own business? Find out why franchising could be the perfect answer for young, entrepreneurial women.  

While franchising may have been around for decades, many people truly understand the concept. Some, for example, associate it only with fast food services. But, while franchising does have many global fast food franchise opportunities, it offers so much more.

Indeed, there’s a wide range of different franchise business models to invest in, including health and beauty, the care sector, photography and pet care – enabling people with varying interests and talents to invest in a proven business model. It’s also an industry that has managed to thrive in the toughest of times.

So no wonder franchising often attracts the best and brightest entrepreneurs. To find out why it also makes a popular choice for young women, Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchise Association (BFA) spoke to successful franchisee Emma Ogden.

“I wanted to get paid for my passion”

Emma Ogden had always been passionate about sports but, after leaving school, found it hard to find full time, well-paid work doing something that she enjoyed.

That was until she started coaching for Little Kickers, classes designed for children between 18 months and seven years of age. Emma says:

“After school, aged 18, I found a passion for coaching sport. However, it was a struggle to find enough hours and manage financially. Coaching often involves part-time work with lots of travelling and planning which goes unpaid.”

After speaking to the head office at Little Kickers when she was 20, Emma was surprised to learn that they were considering her as a franchisee. She took the opportunity and purchased her Little Kickers franchise in SE Leicester and Northants.

Today she’s managed to pursue her love of coaching and achieve financial stability thanks to her Little Kickers franchise business.

Franchising gives you access to advice and support

Franchising offers the opportunity to work for yourself, but not by yourself. Most franchisors offer support – this could be training, workshops, or even bootcamps. And the support is ongoing, so if you aren’t confident in your abilities at the start, you will have continued support and advice to ensure that you feel positive and confident in yourself.

Emma found this experience invaluable. While she was an experienced coach, at such a young age she had very little business experience. However, the benefits of running a franchise meant that she had support and encouragement from her franchisor.

It also meant that she benefited from communicating with other franchisees in the network, which she found invaluable, as she explains: “I feel lucky to be part of a network where I feel valued and listened to.”

Franchising helps women to break down barriers

Most entrepreneurs find franchising an inclusive and wide-ranging industry, where your hard work is valued.

It can be hard for women to break the mould in some industries, but with franchising you can make your own rules. Emma has experienced firsthand the benefit of owning your own business, and setting your own goals – even in areas which still consist mainly of me. As she says:

“Sports coaching was, and still is, a very male dominated profession. Despite being more experienced and better qualified, I often saw male colleagues progress ahead of me or being offered football coaching roles while I was given gymnastics/dance classes.

Little Kickers has enabled me to take control of the business and work in a role where I am rewarded for the hard work, commitment and skills I possess.”

How to identify the right franchise for you

Emma found her perfect franchise, but is there one out there for you? If you are considering joining a franchise, it’s crucial that your do your due diligence, and research it carefully. Here are some key areas to consider:

  • BFA membership – the BFA accredits franchisors using a stringent set of criteria based on operational procedures, franchisor/franchisee practices and the European Code of Ethics for Franchising.
  • Financial commitment – financial investment varies significantly from franchise to franchise. Banks look favourably on investing in a franchise – especially if they are a BFA member as they know how rigorous the process is; to have a membership means they are a quality franchise and banks will often loan up to 70% of the investment.
  • Your financial requirements – it can take some time for your franchise business to become profitable, so you have to make sure you know your capital requirements while your business is establishing itself.
  • Due diligence – speak to both successful and any less-successful franchisees to get you a rounded view. If you can, go and visit them at their place of work. Some franchisors will encourage you to spend the day with franchisees as part of the recruitment process, to ensure that you understand the business and what’s involved on a daily basis. Make sure you understand the structure and level of fees, and what you get in return; these fees fund the ongoing support that you receive and the future development of the business.
  • Training and support – ask what training and support you will receive, at the launch and throughout your time as a franchisee. You want to know that the franchisor has your back.

Please note, a multi-level marketing (MLM), direct sales or network marketing company is NOT a franchise. You can read more about this industry here

Franchising is an empowering opportunity for women like Emma

For Emma, franchising has empowered her to achieve greatness in a profession that might otherwise not have given her the same opportunities.

This year she was a finalist at the HSBC BFA Franchise Awards for Young Franchisee of the Year: “Purchasing a Little Kickers franchise has enabled me to overcome barriers which I think may have hindered my professional growth otherwise – gender, age, financial constraints.”

BFA champion women pursue their dreams and believe in the empowerment and celebration of women in the workplace. This is why the BFA holds an annual Empowering Women In Business (EWIB) event – a place for women to share their career journey, discuss modern workplace issues, and network with like-minded business women.

This year EWIB is being held at the Nottingham Belfry on 15 November. Take a look here to learn more or book a ticket.