"Franchising is definitely the best option for women that want to go into business"

Investing in a franchise provides women with job security, the ability to work around family commitments and the opportunity to grow a successful business with the ongoing support of an established franchisor

Combining a high-flying career with raising a family and running a household is an objective for many women, however it is not always possible in traditional employment. A report conducted by the Fawcett Society has found that "Many mothers face discrimination from employers, who assume they will be unreliable or unable to cope with the demands of the job."* This results in some women deciding to work part-time and accepting "a post at a lower grade, with less security and prospects"* in a bid to be able to juggle childcare with their workload.

One-way women can successfully juggle motherhood with a career and running a house is to become their own boss. The safest way to do this is to invest in a franchise because you will be able to work with a recognised brand name using a tried and tested business model and will have access to comprehensive support and training from the franchisor.

Investing in a franchise opens the door to a range of benefits which include: the ability to work flexible hours around family commitments, job security, control over the growth of the franchise and ultimately control over salary. Yet only 37 per cent of all UK franchise owners are female and while the number of new female franchise owner recruits has increased to 34 per cent, not enough women are taking advantage of the opportunity investing in a franchise presents.

HSBC National Franchise Manager Cathryn Hayes comments: "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 these qualities, you may well be suited to running your own business but if you are unsure of what to do, then franchising could be just the thing."

Janis Anderson and Imellda Courtney both decided to invest in franchises and are now reaping the rewards of their hard work. Imellda, a mother of two, decided to invest in a MOLLY MAID franchise when she was heavily pregnant with her first child in 1998. She has not regretted her decision to go it alone and is now the proud owner of a lucrative business, which she runs from an office in her back garden.

She says: "For many women, it is a case of having to spin too many plates at the same time - looking after children, husbands and homes. Franchising is definitely the best option for women that want to go into business, because you have the backing of a well known brand supporting you, pushing the brand and keeping you up to date with things like legalities and health and safety regulations, while being able to control your workload and fit work around your family commitments."

Mother-of-one Janis is hard at work establishing her Caremark franchise. She is looking forward to delegating some of the workload to her Care Manager so that she can spend more time with her family. She says: "I would definitely recommend franchising to other women, because you have your independence, the opportunity to explore your potential and the ability to fit work around your family commitments."

Reported by Jess Sturman