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‘Franchising is the perfect business vehicle for ambitious women’

Written by Andy Swales on Monday, 08 March 2021. Posted in Franchise

This is the view of the Belvoir Group’s chief executive who believes flexibility is the key for attracting more women into business.

‘Franchising is the perfect business vehicle for ambitious women’

This is the view of the Belvoir Group’s chief executive who believes flexibility is the key for attracting more women into business.

To coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8th, UK property giants the Belvoir Group decided to undertake research regarding women in franchising. And the results were staggering. In short, the results of this study showed that there were plenty of ambitious women keen to run their own businesses, yet many were concerned about ‘juggling family commitments with work life.’

The Belvoir Group were particularly keen to discover the opinions of women currently working within the property industry and their study highlighted that although approximately three-quarters of females are keen to run their own businesses, they were also worried that by doing so it would harm family life.

Statistics published following another research project two years ago demonstrated the gender imbalance within franchising. This 2019 study, carried out by Franchise Direct, reported that over the past 25 years ‘the number of female franchisees in the UK has been steadily increasing, with 30% of all UK franchisees now being women.’ This survey also reported that women make up 47% of the UK workforce, yet only 16% held CEO positions within franchising.

Possibly prompted by such stark figures, Belvoir undertook their own research and the company’s chief executive, Dorian Gonsalves, said: “The results proved to be very interesting. Almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents said they recognised opportunities for career progression within the industry. However, just 13.6% of these women were already business owners. 

“It was encouraging to hear, however, that 72% said that if an opportunity came up for them to run their own business, they would definitely take it. But when asked what was stopping them from applying for promotion, or taking on their own business, almost half of respondents (48.2%) said that juggling family and work life was a major factor. Interestingly, 42% said they lacked the confidence to make the leap from employee to business owner.

“With International Women’s Day approaching, we commissioned this research of women aged over 18 who were already working in the industry. The purpose was to try and uncover any potential stumbling blocks that might be making them reluctant to run their own business.”

Gonsalves is keen to show that franchising provides greater flexibility than many other business sectors, and that it offers ambitious men and women the opportunity to satisfy one of their career goals which is running their own company. He added: “Becoming a Belvoir franchisee could be a good solution for these ambitious women. Our franchisees are able to run their own businesses, but they never feel as if they are doing it on their own because they receive outstanding support every step of the way.

“Our team at HQ have expertise across many different disciplines. We offer dedicated professional business mentorship, provide help with marketing, legal issues, auditing and IT. This, combined with ongoing training in all aspects of property and business management, really helps to build confidence and encourage franchisees to achieve their potential. 

“In addition, Belvoir’s franchisees are able to regularly network with other business owners within the Group, those who are familiar with any issues facing new business owners and they are always happy to offer their ideas and support.”

With regards to women currently working for the Belvior Group, Gonsalves went on: “Across our brands, which consist of Belvoir, Northwood, Newton Fallowell and Lovelle, we already have a number of brilliant female business owners, who come from all ages, backgrounds and levels of experience. We have always been keen to promote equal opportunities for potential franchisees and would like to have more women running their own property management business. At present, we have over 300 offices across the UK.”

So why is the franchise sector the ideal platform for attracting women into business? Gonsalves explains: “Franchising is a successful business model because it depends on both the franchisor and the franchisee succeeding. Every effort is made to ensure new businesses hit the ground running and that all of our franchisees receive the support they need. There are also great opportunities for future business growth, and our dedicated acquisition team is able to offer advice on suitable opportunities while helping franchisees secure financial support.

Belvoir currently has exciting expansion plans for 2021 in territories across the UK, and I would urge anyone who is interested in becoming their own boss, managing their own team, and working in an industry that has proved to be pandemic-proof, to contact our recruitment team to find out more, or to visit the Belvoir website for more details.”

Advice from Belvoir Group business women:

Natalie Boardman (director, Belvoir Tunbridge Wells): “One of the main motivating factors for me in becoming a franchisee was that I was able to work for myself and not have to commute to London, after my daughter was born. It’s hard work running your own business, but I have lots of flexibility. During the pandemic I worked at home much of the time while home-schooling my daughter. I had confidence in my team and flexibility to attend special events like a nativity play. And if my daughter is ever unwell, I don’t have to ask permission to take time off work.”

Patience Simpson (owner, Northwood Ashford): “Becoming part of a franchise has given me the flexibility I wouldn’t have had if I’d worked for someone else. This was especially important during the pandemic when I was multi-tasking. I combined working from home, carrying out home-schooling duties and looking after my employees and clients. I always wanted to be my own boss and enjoy the freedom of building my own business. But I also wanted the backing of a franchisor. The support from Northwood’s head office, as well as the network as a whole, has been fantastic.”

Daisy Davies (part of the husband and wife team which own Belvoir Swansea, Belvoir Mumbles and more recently Belvoir Sketty): “Since having children I’ve cut my hours by about a third. Sometimes we have to talk ‘Belvoir’ matters at home, but I still have the flexibility to juggle my working life with being a mum. I can arrange my hours around childcare, which is great. My husband and I both have sales backgrounds, but my role is now more operational, with Ben focusing on sales and financial services. Our skillsets complement each other, which is how we’ve grown the business.”

About the Author

Andy Swales

A dedicated journalist for three decades, Andy has spent much of this time working for ITN, Sky Sports and Today’s Golfer magazine, after starting out years back at the Hackney Gazette. Since leaving Sky Sports in 2018, has spread his wings into other areas and loves writing about property and the nations rising stars in the SME business world and franchise community.

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