It’s no secret that women who embark on the path of entrepreneurship, and start their own business, are usually successful. After all, the skills that women have in spades — perseverance, communication, resourcefulness, and the ability to network effectively — are exactly the ones needed to launch and grow a small business.
Now, 2017 has been called a golden age for female business owners. According to the Kauffman Index of Startup Activity, women now make up fully 40% of all entrepreneurs, with year-over-year increases in the double digits. Part of that growth can be attributed to franchise ownership.
We’ve previously discussed the reasons that women are simply better than men when it comes to entrepreneurship. But what is it about franchise ownership, in particular, that suits the so-called “fairer sex” — and vice-versa? Let’s break down why I think women and franchises are a match made in (business) heaven.
Women tend to be more realistic about the business risks they take. This is partially attributable to their tendency to take a longer-term view of success. In the simplest terms, they’re in it for the long haul, while their male peers often get “in it to win it. They tend to want a quicker profit, often at the expense of the company’s longevity.
Franchise opportunities offer a relatively low risk profile when compared to traditional start-ups. The products or services they offer (and the needs those fulfill) are already established. Rather than taking a leap of faith that the widget they’ve dreamed up will be well-received by the buying public – or doing extensive research, focus groups, and other testing to lessen that leap – the franchisee can skip ahead a few steps.
The ability to be able to leverage the built-in brand recognition and product quality offered by a franchise appeal to a women’s calculated approach to risk taking.
Franchises are appealing. Consumers and entrepreneurs like them because they offer an established set of standards, and therefore a guarantee of quality. Again, much of the groundwork has been done by the time a female entrepreneur signs on the dotted line of her franchise contract. The gemstones are sourced responsibly. And their workmanship is guaranteed by corporate. In other words, the french fries must be fresh and not frozen.
Remember the old advertising slogan, “Choosy Moms Choose Jif”? Women are persnickety when it comes to picking products-whether those products feed their families, improve their health, or beautify their homes. When minimum standards are already locked in, a female franchisee can spend her time growing the business in other ways.
Frequently, she does so by going above and beyond those minimums: offering extra services, sourcing even better ingredients. She’s less likely to cut corners in the pursuit of short-term profit; instead, she realizes that building a reputation for high quality will ensure repeat customers (and more widespread buzz about the business).
Business are not slow cookers. Anyone who thinks they can buy a franchise, then “set it and forget it,” will soon find themselves a failed franchisee.
Nevertheless, it is possible to develop a slightly more hands-off approach when a woman is running a franchise. With operating procedures and other protocols already in place, the female entrepreneur doesn’t have to micromanage her employees quite as closely as she might with a start-up.
How can a franchise type of business contribute to a woman’s success?
Answer: Having an established system (and trusted staff to whom she can delegate tasks) gives her flexibility. Since many female-oriented franchises don’t require a traditional 9 to 6 schedule, she can pick up her kids from school and take them to violin lessons. She can also potentially get the laundry done and make a healthy dinner before 9 p.m.
Such flexibility also lets her achieve that mythical unicorn — work-life balance. It’s easier to hit up a Pilates class, treat herself to a mani-pedi, or just catch a siesta when she’s feeling extra sleepy on a random Tuesday.
Women understand the value of balancing work, “me time,” and QT spent with the family. When it’s all in harmony, they are better managers, more effective salespeople, sharper at the accounting, and more creative marketers.
How many times have you received an invitation on your social media to attend a Scentsy or Origami Owl event, whether online or IRL? If the answer is anything other than “zero,” then you grasp the relationship between social media marketing and franchise success.
Women are inherently savvy networkers. Naturally, this is an essential skill in the corporate world, but it may be even more important for growing a franchise. And it’s not just about building a network of potential customers. Female entrepreneurs know how to use their contact list for all sorts of business communication. Hiring new employees and finding independent contractors for blog writing or graphic design comes more easily when your LinkedIn is built out.
Moreover, women will call on their contacts for purposes that don’t directly serve their business. They help mentor others, offer suggestions, and connect like-minded people. We don’t need to tell you that this type of altruistic networking does, in fact, indirectly support a female franchisee’s reputation and dare we say her business karma.
Whereas men often look at the cold, hard facts of a business opportunity, franchise or start-up (i.e., the ROI), women are more likely to combine their passion for a product or service with their business acumen. In other words, they won’t sell something if they don’t believe in it.
For example, we’ve all heard the stories of “mompreneurs” who found inspiration for a new type of bowl when their young child was struggling to feed himself, or who saw a need for diaper bags dapper enough for a Dad to carry.
However, it’s also applicable to franchises. For instance, look at the success of a company like I Love Kickboxing. Once a woman tries a product or service and loves it, she’s likely to recommend it to her friends. This word-of-mouth (or word-of-mouse) marketing is crucial to making a go of any franchise. There aren’t many women who are comfortable waxing poetic about a product they don’t genuinely believe in.