Have the self-belief to seize the opportunity

Richard Denny recounts his experiences of working with and meeting women in business, and explains why franchising can offer the best career choice for females from all manner of backgrounds.

During my working life up to the late 1970s my experience of women in business was limited to my personal assistants, secretaries and only a select few in any executive role whatsoever. In those days I was extremely dependant on my female PAs and the wisdom, intellect and intuition that they brought to the role.

During the early 1980s my business activities diversified into the production and marketing of video training programmes. Needing more staff, I took on a part-time lady by the name of Penny. Penny had two children but had been suffering from agoraphobia and had hardly left her house for some 10 years. Her confidence quickly grew and her input helped the business grow alongside her. As a result of her efforts I invited her to become the Managing Director. After some three years she decided to go and work for herself at a time when the business was moving from London to Wiltshire.

Penny bought into a drain cleaning business and she made an outstanding success of a business that had historically been dominated by men. Furthermore, she built up a huge following of large commercial clients collecting in the process some of the prime London hospitals as her customers.

The point of this story is that the knowledge and experience I gained from working with Penny dramatically changed my personal approach to women in business. From that day forward I have gone on to meet a vast range of talented and successful women in business. My current business partner and Managing Director, Judith Harker, is an example of what can be achieved. Prior to joining me she was the Managing Director of a firearms and shotgun dealership. Now if that isn’t a male dominated industry I don’t know what is.

Franchising in particular is one of the finest examples of creating the opportunity for women who wish to be in more control of their lives and income. Furthermore, the vast majority of franchises already in existence provide the training and support structure that result in the security that we, as human beings, naturally strive for.

My experience has also repeatedly shown me that women who run their own franchise demonstrate the vital ingredient for franchising success and that is to follow implicitly the franchise model. Do exactly what the franchisor tells and guides you to do, and follow the rules that will result in that franchise becoming a success. The biggest error made by those people who do not achieve their potential is failure to follow the plan that the franchisor gives them.

To summarise, in my experience women are much more likely to follow instructions than men. As we all know, men are also less likely to ask for directions when lost.

Over the years on my business training courses I have experienced on countless occasions women who come to us for assertiveness training – one of our specialities. In this short article let me précis this. To be assertive all one has to do is to be able to say “no” nicely.

My final thought to share is that franchising for women is such a brilliant opportunity as many franchises give the woman, the wife, the mother and grandmother a chance to manage their time themselves and not be dictated to by an employer.

I was recently amazed to learn that in the veterinary world that it takes seven years to qualify as a vet, that approximately 70 per cent of vets gaining their qualifications are now female, and the average life of a working vet is now four and a half years from qualification. This is not due to veterinary practice but typically due to personal circumstances of marriage and starting a family. These vets then revert back to hopefully gaining part-time employment of three to four days a week.

So come on ladies, find yourself an interesting franchise. A little self-belief will go a long way and the franchisor’s training and support structure will help you to lead a fantastic lifestyle. Good luck and great success.