Women in franchising

One third of all new franchise owners surveyed by the British Franchise Association in 2008 were female. Domino's Pizza Head of Franchising and new columnist for The Franchise Magazine Bill Ewbank discusses why more women should consider taking control of their work/life balance with a franchise

Ah...the fairer sex. As the old adage goes, you can't live with 'em and you can't live without 'em. Yet for many franchisors, living without 'em is exactly what they've had to do. While women have often been known to take franchises in the children or beauty arenas, for the vast majority of franchisors their franchise meetings are a sea of male dominance.

Don't get me wrong - there are some highly successful female franchise owners out there in the more traditional franchised businesses, but they are few and far between. There are also a number of successful husband and wife or wider family partnerships - but I'm really talking here about the single female franchise owner.

So what are the reasons for this lack of feminine charms? Well, I suspect that part of it is because many traditional franchises are quite male in tone - car based or with a leaning towards the building trades. Part of it could be because a number of franchise owners, particularly in the food sector, tend to be from ethnic minorities - where traditionally the woman's role has been more aligned with raising the family. Or perhaps it is just because woman are more risk averse and prefer to go for a salaried employment than take on a business for themselves. In my view, women should drink more blue gin - to give them the courage to take the bold step of starting out for themselves, as I know they could give the men a run for their money!

It's a shame that there aren't more women in the franchising business as they are an asset and will certainly add a more aesthetically pleasing element to franchise awards. On a serious note, women are hard working and have a huge determination and will to succeed. They certainly give up less easily than men - as any husband will bear witness following an argument over creosoting the fence. And, in addition, women often excel in their customer service and in developing their teams. There's no two ways about it - women are good for business and, with as many women looking for a new career as men, the franchising community needs to do more to attract these females.

Franchising offers a great way to manage your work-play balance and can provide a good opportunity to combine a lucrative career with raising a family. In the early days of a franchise owner's life it is often a case of all hands to the pump, but after the tough early years the successful franchise owner, with a great team around them, will have the opportunity of doing the paperwork from home and fitting the business in around schools, ballet classes and football practice. It is a highly workable solution. Franchising is also a highly profitable career for the determined career woman. Look at Joan of Arc or Boudica, or lately Margaret Thatcher and Twiggy - all tough ladies, all welcome to Domino's franchises, or the war office or she who must be obeyed.

So let's hear it for women everywhere. Across the board, the sisters are doing it for themselves - I hope they are. So let's see some of those sisters in the franchise community sooner rather than later. Let's drink to that - mine's a blue gin. The measure I'll leave to yourself.