The rise of women in franchising is a good thing for the industry, writes Frank Milner, president at Tutor Doctor
In the world of business there are more women rising up and stepping into the spotlight. Through their own empowerment combined with the mainstream effort to promote opportunity and grant recognition, we’re witnessing women all over the globe realising their potential. Whilst things are moving in the right direction, the fact remains that around 70% of franchisees in the UK are male. Does it matter why more women are choosing to start their own franchise? Or should it just be a cause for celebration? Let’s find out.
The 2018 bfa Natwest Survey indicates that 37% of new franchisees in the last two years were women – a 20% increase since 2015. This poses the question: what is it about franchising that’s attracting more women than ever before?
Well, the answer is simple: the same thing that’s been attracting people all along. Franchising gives people the opportunity to run their own business, have a successful and fulfilling career whilst offering the flexibility that people want and need. Two of the biggest selling points of a franchise is the support that comes with the investment and the training programmes included.
A contributing factor could be that the role of men being the traditional male breadwinner has practically vanished. Today’s women can have both a family and a career, they’re ambitious and more confident than ever to pursue their dreams. No wonder new generations of young entrepreneurs are coming through knowing they can have it all and are determined to get it.
Add to that the fact franchising is becoming more recognised as a route to achieving all that, mainstream media puts much more emphasis on promoting empowering messages for women in sports, STEM and business ownership. I believe it’s this concerted effort to inspire and promote, combined with awareness-raising events such as the bfa’s Women in Franchising and the EWIF National Conference that have led to the rise of women in franchising.
Running your own business is hard work but women possess attributes that make for great franchisees. Not only do they boast enviable virtues such as empathy, assertiveness and adaptability, they’re often more emotionally in-tune which allows them to appreciate multiple perspectives and consider how others feel – instead of being purely focused on profits. This results in them becoming better marketers and leaders, with the ability to liaise and negotiate for favourable outcomes.
Women also tend to be more resilient and can assert themselves more diplomatically than men, meaning their management is extremely efficient. Women have a natural flair for multitasking, collaboration and leading with both their heart and mind. It’s a recipe for powerful business owners. Business systems and methodologies can be learnt but these soft skills give women an edge. These things prove much harder to teach than product specs or business processes.
Figuring out why we’re seeing a rise in the number of women in franchising is important – but only so that we can do more of the same. It’s also important to celebrate it because it’s long overdue. The industry, as a whole, has an empowering nature and welcomes everyone – no matter where your skills lie – and I feel proud to know that women everywhere are noticing that. If the bfa survey is anything to go by, I hope and expect to see the numbers rise again next year.