Getting more women into franchising

There are an estimated 4.7 million small businesses in the UK and around 500,000 new businesses are started every year, with over 30% started by women. Franchises provide a good way to be both your own boss, but to reduce the risk of going it alone. Cathryn Hayes from HSBC’s Franchise Unit gives an overview of the issues facing women in franchising. 

There are an estimated 4.7 million small businesses in the UK and around 500,000 new businesses are started every year. However, not so many people are perhaps aware that:

-  Over 30% of all new businesses are currently started by women – i.e. over 130 thousand every year.

– Three quarters were started by women aged between 25 and 44.

Over 90% of women and men believe it is now easier for women to start their own business – due to cultural changes, increased opportunities and women in business being taken more seriously.

The bfa [British Franchise Association] survey indicated that only a handful of franchisors feel that barriers remain for women who want to become franchisees, demonstrating that franchise opportunities do exist.

So what sort of things must you be prepared for before going into business?

– You should be a self starter, able to motivate yourself and operate under your own initiative.
– You will need to get on with other people, and be capable of leading and motivating others.
– You should be able to take responsibility and be a good organiser.
– You should be conscientious and decisive.
– Stamina, and good health is needed, as you will not have work colleagues to cover for you.
– Last, but not least, do you have the support of your family and friends?

Many women who have been running a home and raising a family have many of the attributes needed to run a business successfully – they are decisive, energetic, organise well and are used to doing at least three things at once!

If you have the qualities just mentioned, you may well be suited to running your own business, but perhaps you are not sure what to do? Then franchising could be just the thing.

There is some evidence to suggest that those women in self-employment have differing needs and aspirations than their male counterparts.

One of the problems many women face when going into business is a lack of confidence – a good franchise will address this with training, tried and tested format and support both when starting the business and on an ongoing basis, as your business develops.

Proven business format

Compared to starting your own business from scratch, franchising provides a relatively safe route into self employment. A well established, successful and proven business format franchise will provide all the essential elements for a successful business save one – you, the owner.

These elements will include a proven market for the franchise’s products or services; proven sales, marketing and operational procedures and usually has the benefit of an established business name. In addition, a good franchise will provide training and where appropriate, help in finding, fitting out and furnishing premises, together with ongoing support and help in running the business.

In return, you pay the franchisor an initial franchise fee to ‘buy in’ to the franchise, and on-going management service fees or a mark-up on the goods and materials supplied by the franchisor. You may also be asked to contribute to national advertising costs.

When considering a franchise opportunity you will have to make an assessment of the standing of the franchise. You need to find out exactly what running a franchise involves, before taking the plunge. The main points you need to consider are: advantages and disadvantages; the costs involved; and what to look for when choosing a franchise.

Remember all business involves risk, including franchising. However, there is no doubt that going into business as a franchisee of a well established, proven business format franchise will give you the best possible start.

Finally, we would like to wish you every success with whatever business you decide to go into – and will leave you with this quote: "Women constitute half the world’s population, perform nearly two-thirds of its work hours, receive one tenth of the world’s income, and own less than one-hundredth of the world’s property."

Let’s try and do something about that!

HSBC Franchise Unit

This article is written by Cathryn Hayes of HSBC’s dedicated franchise unit. The unit has been going for over 25 years and continues to work closely with the British Franchise Association (bfa) and its members in the development of ethical franchising.
 

HSBC demonstrates its commitment to the franchise industry by its continued sponsorship of the bfa Franchisor and Franchisee of the Year awards which recognise and reward good ethical business format franchising. HSBC has given over £100,000 in prize money alone over the last 10 years. The team also has a presence at all the major exhibitions and speak regularly at bfa seminars and other such events.
 
In addition to providing finance and ancillary business services, HSBC offers a number of tools to assist both potential and existing franchisees in starting and developing their business.
 
The HSBC Business Network is an online networking site for small businesses, providing ideas and advice from successful entrepreneurs, business experts and fellow business owners. There are also videos which illustrate best practice in key business areas and a calendar detailing business networking events, seminars and exhibitions that you may wish to attend.
 
We have also recognised the benefits of sharing your ideas and concerns with other businesses and host a range of interesting blogs and discussion forums. Franchise Unit publish regular discussion topics within these forums so why not take a look and let us know what is on your mind.
 
The HSBC Knowledge Centre is an online resource containing information, guidance and interactive features such as a business planning tool and trade cycle calculator. You can also read the latest economic reports and sign up to receive our regular e-newsletters.
 
Obtain your copy of HSBC’s Starting a Franchise guide from www.hsbc.co.uk/franchise or email franchiseunit@hsbc.com
 





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