Why women and franchising make a perfect match

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

irst impressions would suggest franchising is very much a male preserve - according to the most recent NatWest bfa Franchise Survey, 72 per cent of all franchise owners are male, and in some sectors women are very few and far between (comprising only nine per cent of franchise owners in Transport and Vehicle Services).

However, a closer look reveals a slightly different picture. Since some franchises are jointly owned, women are actually involved at ownership level in 59 per cent of new entrant franchise units - and one in five of them (22 per cent) are run by a woman without a male spouse or business partner. Women are becoming increasingly drawn to becoming franchise owners, finding the opportunity allows them to blend a successful career with raising a family and running a household (something not always possible in traditional employment).

For women especially, investing in a franchise opens the door to a range of benefits, including the ability to work flexible hours around family commitments, job security, control over the growth of the business and ultimately control over their salary.

"Many women who have been running a home and raising a family have many of the attributes needed to run a business successfully," says HSBC's Head of Franchising Cathryn Hayes. "They're 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 - and if you're unsure of what to do, then franchising could be just the thing."

Becoming a franchise owner offers a relatively secure and low-cost entry into business ownership - so it's little wonder that women and franchising make a perfect (and successful) match.

Five Reasons why franchising meets the needs of women

Women report that the most important factor in setting up in business is the chance to be their own boss - investing in a franchise provides that opportunity in addition to ongoing help and support from an established network.

Women tend to be attracted to businesses requiring less start-up capital (and less risk) - franchising is a proven business system, offering women greatly reduced risk and greater security.

Due to women generally having more childcare responsibilities, they desire more flexibility and the opportunity to work unconventional office hours. Franchising is an ideal solution, as few franchises follow a strict 9-5 day, providing enough freedom to maintain a healthy balance between work and family life.

45 per cent of women setting up in business choose something different from their previous work experience, which can be very challenging. Investing in a franchise includes all the education, training and support needed to make the business a success - enabling prospective franchise owners to enter an industry of which they have little or no knowledge.

Women tend to place greater emphasis on skills such as organisation and multi-tasking, which is good news - becoming a franchise owner often requires you to be director, salesperson, customer service and administrator in the same day!

Reported by Fraser McKay