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Women in Franchising

Business experts will tell you that the success rate of a start-up business is greatly enhanced if you are part of a franchise. A recent survey in the UK found that 90% of franchisee respondents were profitable in 2011 and that a failure rate of only 2.8% applied for the year. The average running time for franchisees was 8.4 years and 84% were happy with the franchisor/franchisee relationship*. So how do women in franchising fare then?

Well, like every other type of start-up business, women are greatly under represented when it comes to franchising. Figures from the US and UK show that only 25% of franchises are owned and operated by women. We don’t have exact figures for Ireland but there is no reason to doubt that we buck the trend and anecdotal information points to roughly the same type of numbers or possibly lower.

Given the figures above and other advantages the franchise model brings – an established and proven business model, having a well-developed brand and marketing plan , a solid support system and even making the acquisition of finance a little simpler, Franchising can be a very attractive option.

Obviously there can be negatives to being a franchisee and franchising is not for everyone. You lose a certain amount of independence and control, you can be tied to suppliers, other franchisees could damage your reputation and of course there are the costs – the initial franchise fee and the on-going royalty costs.

No glass ceiling

However, purchasing a franchise can be a very attractive option particularly for women entrepreneurs as you can be in control of the hours you work, you can have time for both family and job, no glass ceiling exists in franchising and you should get a comprehensive support system particularly helpful if you are re-entering the workforce. For women faced with sudden loss of job through redundancy, franchising can be an opportunity to explore the self-employment route with less risk.

So why is the number of women franchisees so low? I would love to hear other opinions. Comments welcome below.

With the many increasing opportunities in franchising at present, hopefully we will see a shift in the 3/1 male/female ratio that currently exists.

*Source: 2011 BFA/NatWest survey