Franchising for Women



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…

What is franchising?

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.

The history of franchising

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.

Franchising today

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.

Ideal for parents

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.

Personal experiences…

Let’s hear from some successful women in franchising.

Fiona runs a Get Ahead VA franchise in Leeds. She says  “Joining Get Ahead has been a great success for me. I’ve been able to retain many of the aspects of corporate roles that I enjoyed and still work within a supportive team. As a franchisee, I received training at the start of my Get Ahead journey and have benefitted from other training and development opportunities Get Ahead provides. In addition, I’ve expanded my business, and I now head up Get Ahead York and Harrogate as well as Get Ahead Leeds.

Best of all, I’m at home when my children are, watching them grow and being part of their lives. Working in the corporate world was my normality, and it seemed like the right path until I realised it wasn’t. Moving away from it was easier than I thought it would be, and well worth it for the balance it has brought to my life.”

Bernie runs a travel franchise with Explorer Travel. She says “I love being an Explorer as I am my own boss, learning about the world and being around for my children as they grow up.

I did my homework on the travel franchise market and knew that joining Explorer was the best decision I would ever make. I invested in the top package and it’s paid off. Don’t get me wrong, it can be hard work but I would not swap it for the world and I have the flexibility to earn a great living around existing commitments.”

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