On the back of the rather brilliant shock announcement this week that the iconic 13th Doctor Who is going to be a played by a woman (hurrah!) I’ve been thinking again about how and why women are so under represented in business. According to the BFA , 2016, only 15% of businesses in the UK are owned by women which is shocking really. And even more shocking is the fact that only 2% of investment capital in this country is invested in women. Something needs to change! Hopefully the Doctor finally getting in touch with her feminine side will help subvert the increasingly anachronistic paradigm of the male risk taker, hero and leader. Until then we have franchising which interestingly attracts twice the percentage of female owners that other business structures do. So women prefer the franchise model. What are the reasons for this?
Its not surprising actually. The franchise model has clear benefits for women, both from a practical point of view and also because of the collective benefits of being part of a community.
Starting up a business from scratch with no support is really difficult, and women are less likely to do this than men. Often this is because of other responsibilities such as having children, but according to the 2015 NatWest/ bfa Franchise Survey. 58% of women cite a fear of failure as the reason for not setting up their own business. Historically women have been less inclined than men to take risks, and growing a small business is definitely risky.
This is why the franchise model is so attractive to women. Instead of starting up a business alone without support, you are entering into a pre existing family of business owners. Yes, you’re in the business for yourself but you are not by yourself. Generally women are strong on collaboration and want to build win-win relationships. We want to support each other, and help each other succeed. So the franchise community is the perfect environment for building a business.
The risks of buying a franchise and failing are also lower than starting a business by yourself. An established franchise opportunity will have a proven track record that shows what you need to do to make it a success – as well as lots of support and resources to help you do this.
Another key reason women I know cite for buying a franchise is ‘flexibility’. While of course it involves hard work, a franchise business can give you better work-life balance and allow more flexibility around family life and other interests. Partly this is because you don’t have to invest huge resources of time and money re inventing the wheel!
I am not saying that franchising is a soft option. Like every business it requires great strength of character, persistence and business acumen to achieve success. It is just less likely to fall by the wayside – in the process wasting precious time and resources – than an original, unproven idea.
The Hub Franchising Community
What I’ve created with the Business Hub franchise is simply another Hub – but this time its franchisees learning from and supporting each other. Where the Business Hubs provide support for business owners, my franchise HQ supports my franchisees. It’s about creating a business community where different members or franchisees can collaborate, learn from each other, and provide each other with practical and emotional support to make their businesses a success.
While the membership of the Business Hubs, and the number of men in the franchising sector suggests that men like this collaborative, community approach too, it is something that I know women are especially receptive to.
To get an idea of some of the franchises women are both buying into and operating have a look at the members page on the Encouraging Women Into Franchising website. This non-profit organisation does what it says – encourages women into franchising – but it’s also encouraging women to franchise their businesses and provides advice and guidance.
If you are a woman who wants to start a non girly franchise business – talk to me about Your Business Hub! It’s seriously business focused but demands naturally feminine skills of empathy and collaboration.