Franchising is often seen as a way to “go it alone”, but it’s actually a great example of how working together can move everyone forward.
Franchises work as individuals, but also as part of a large group of businesspeople who pool their knowledge and learn from each other. In the UK, it’s a particular popular business model, with 930 companies currently offering franchise opportunities. Over the past five years, the contribution of franchise employment to the economy has grown by 20%.
Working wonders for women
Franchising is, in particular, a business model that appeals to women and suits the lifestyle of those with children who still want to pursue a career. As a franchisee, you may not necessarily be self-employed, but you are your own boss and will often have the power to choose when you work, which makes it far easier to tailor this around the needs of the family.
Indeed, the latest research from the Office of National Statistics show that the rate of self-employment is rising faster amongst women than men. Since 2009, the number of self-employed women has grown by 34%.
In the UK, 11% of franchise businesses are run by a woman, and a further 45% of them are run by a mixed partnership, so more than half of UK franchise businesses have a woman at the helm.
Though the biggest benefit is the ability to choose your own hours and manage your work-life balance, there are other reasons why women are increasingly choosing to work as franchisors:
A true business in a box
Setting up a business from scratch can be a daunting prospect and take up a lot of time – something a premium for most parents. The fact that franchisors offer a step-by-step process and training is therefore of huge benefit. Not having to stumble around finding out how to register the business, set up accounts, and obtain the necessary licences is of huge benefit.
Franchisors invariably offer plenty of support; they want the people who join their organisation to succeed. It is not in their interests for their franchisors to fail. The more successful franchisors there are out there, the stronger the brand becomes and the easier it is to grow and expand in the future. Collaboration is the best way to ensure everyone succeeds.
This is why franchisors make it as easy as possible for people to set up their own branch. As well as providing training, they take care of branding, product development and most aspects of marketing.
Relevant peer-to-peer help
The great thing about much of this kind of help and advice is that it is truly relevant. In many cases, experienced franchisors help those who are new to the business to get to grips with obstacles and overcome. They do so free of charge and, because they often have the same or similar life experience, this help is usually extremely practical and easy to implement.
Most understand the need to balance family life with the needs of the business. They will explain how they have managed to get their franchise up and going whilst taking care of a family. Many offer practical support as well as advice.
Relatively low startup costs
Starting a franchise business is rarely free, but it can be done on a comparatively small budget. Many franchise firms offer the chance for those who join to pay any start-up costs gradually. Spreading the cost makes starting a business a viable proposition for many who would otherwise not be able to afford to do so.
The franchise owner usually provides the necessary equipment at a much lower cost. This is possible because they buy the equipment in bulk and pass the cost savings of this on to their franchisees; another example of the benefits of working with a group.
Since most banks are hesitant to lend money to working mums to start their own business, starting a franchise business overcomes this barrier.
The ability to choose what you do
Working mums are often limited in the jobs they can get that fit in with their family life, hence many taking up roles as shopkeepers or carers. In the current franchising world, a more than 900 firms are looking for franchisors, creating a far vaster choice of careers.
Is franchising for me?
Making a living from being a franchisor is not for everyone. To succeed, you need to be organised, dedicated and, above all else, enthusiastic about the product. Often, you will be bringing a new product or concept to market, so believing in what you can offer is important.
That said, if you are organised enough to get everyone up and ready in time and be a good mum, you already have the main skills. You are definitely organised, dedicated and have the ability to juggle several things at once. My advice is to take a look at franchising and start your own business the easy way, remembering the importance of collaboration all the while.