I’ve seen plenty of changes in the years I’ve been working in franchising and one of the most welcome is that so many strong and dynamic women have come into the sector at both the franchisee and franchisor levels. Franchising was once seen as a man’s world but that’s certainly not the case anymore. And why should it be? Women tend to have the skills and personality traits needed to be a successful franchisee, such as good organisation skills, an eye for detail and the capacity to prioritise.
Many women have great communication skills and are equipped with emotional intelligence – great traits to have in any franchise business. Women tend to be intuitive and socially adept, meaning they can talk through issues and seek solutions in an effective way. It also means we’re more likely to ask for help and tap into the support available from the franchisor and the network of franchisees. We like expanding our horizons by learning and sharing information.
As good communicators, we’re also good at building lasting relationships and maintaining them, which plays a key role in building a good business from both an employee and customer relationship perspective. Developing longer term relationships with customers and staff creates loyalty and brings more stability to a business.
There’s a common perception that women are more risk averse than men and at least one study by researchers Roberto Mura, Maria Marchica and Mara Faccio found this to be true at the boardroom level. Being cautious when it comes to risk-taking has both its advantages and disadvantages. From a franchising perspective, being more conservative with your finances and having a willingness to start small and grow slowly can often be the wisest course of action.
So what are the barriers women in particular can come up against? It seems low self-confidence is the biggest obstacle. So maybe we as women need to power up our self-esteem, step out of our comfort zone a little more often and trust the fact that we are competent, have a plan and will succeed.
There are a number of attractive reasons to join the franchising industry, including the great sense of community, the opportunity to make your mark in a growing sector and a chance to own and expand a business with no glass ceiling. If you want, you can be the top dog. I believe that what makes franchising a good fit for women is similar to what makes it a good fit for anyone. But franchising is no longer just a man’s world. More and more women are finding a home in the franchising world and that’s a welcome trend.