Franchising: a model for family friendly business

Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchise Association [pictured], outlines results of the 2018 bfa/Natwest survey statistics, particularly on how the the model is evolving to be more family friendly.


Franchising has always been a great route for those who want to be their own boss, but not without the help of a wider network. It offers the opportunity to achieve professional ambitions while also allowing flexibility for those who need it, such as parents with family commitments.

It is exceptionally tough for parents, in most instances women, to get back to work after having a family, as corporate careers can be stubborn and ruthless and typical 9-5 roles aren’t suitable in many cases.

New mothers find it difficult to find a role that is both professionally fulfilling while also granting wiggle room to suit their personal needs and requirements.

Franchising can allow this, with there now being an estimated 48,600 franchised units in the UK, according to the 2018 bfa Natwest Franchise Survey stats, and nearly four in 10 systems can be operated from a home office. This reflects the need for a diverse range of businesses to suit prospective franchisees.

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This is also reinforced by the increasing number of women who are turning to franchising, with 65% of people employed in the franchising industry being women and 37% of new franchisees being women in the past two years, a 20% increase since 2015.

And, within franchising as a whole, nearly 50% of the jobs are part time.


Sarra Bejaoui co-founded SmartPA, a home-based franchise that delivers in outsourced services, training and innovative technology to businesses around the world. The majority of her franchisees are women and work well in a franchise environment.

“As a business owner and a mum, the main benefit of running your own business is the flexibility: you decide what days and hours you work to fit around your family.

Running your own business can be isolating, so having a support network in place is vital – a good franchise model should offer this.

While there’s still a lot of investment of your time to run a business needed, it’s less than starting from scratch. Essentially, all the ground work is done and this accelerates your success.

Ensuring your clients are happy is vital, so make sure you choose a franchise that has the resources to ensure your business can still run effectively while you are not available.”

Returning to work after having children is a huge step, one that Sarra herself has gone through. Joining a franchise offers the chance to be in a business that you are passionate about and to receive support and training.

She says: “For mums returning to work, it can be daunting and your self-esteem can be affected. Having the opportunity to undergo a learning and development programme within your franchise that will identify your strengths and build on your existing skills is a recipe for success.”

Franchising is enabling working mums throughout the UK to balance work and life. Whether they are franchisees running a business, or just working in the sector at large, the stats reported confirm what we already knew – franchising is streets ahead of the wider business world in enabling opportunities for females, opening up for the next generation with innovation to come through.


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