A 2015 NatWest survey revealed that women account for just 23% of franchisees in the UK, and that in the preceding two years, only 17% of new franchisees were female. These statistics are somewhat surprising – after all, women make up slightly more than 50% of our adult population. Also, running a franchise can be highly rewarding, flexible and profitable for people of all ages and genders, with the added bonus of fitting around family life.
Perhaps there’s not enough information out there to encourage women in this direction. For the avoidance of any doubt, let’s explore franchising for women…
A franchise is often described as a ‘business in a box’ – where someone has created a solid business that can be extended and replicated into new areas or territories. By buying a franchise you are gaining the right to operate a new branch of the business.
You will adopt a tried and tested system and brand, with ongoing support and training from the franchisor.
Franchising in its modern form is thought to have originated in the mid-1800s in the USA. One of the early pioneers was in fact female, a New Yorker called Martha Matilda Harper. She started a hair salon which grew to have 500 branches and training schools at its peak. Franchising did not hit peak growth until around a century later. Early franchise successes include Kentucky Fried Chicken in the 1930s and McDonalds and Burger King in the ‘50s.
Today, more than half a million people are employed as franchisors, franchisees or as consultants to the sector. It’s a great option for people that have a sum of money to invest, that are seeking support and a successful model from which to build their own business.
Many franchisees are parents – often women that are returning to the world of work after having children. This is because franchise businesses are often much more suitable for flexible working than traditional, employed roles. They often require fewer weekly hours than a full time job but offer good earning potential once up and running.
Let’s hear from some successful women in franchising.
Jayne runs a franchise with Raring2go! – a localised magazine and website for parents. She says: “I desperately wanted to find a more child-friendly career, where I could still work hard but where I was in charge. I hadn’t considered working for myself until I stumbled upon Raring2go! Despite being a bit scared of the prospect of ‘going solo’, eight years later I wouldn’t change a thing… I LOVE what I do, no two days are the same and it’s been a perfect fit for our crazy family.”
Jabberjacks provides activity classes and parties for children aged up to seven. Gaynor has been a franchisee since 2004. She says, “Jabberjacks has helped me to develop as a person and running the sessions has made me more outgoing. The flexibility I have, coupled with the satisfaction of seeing the children’s faces AND the financial rewards is far better than my