Women and Franchising
March 8th marks International Women’s Day (IWD), a time to reflect on the contributions of women in the world as well as putting out a call to action for accelerating gender parity. While men and women enter the work force in relatively equal numbers, the rise to the top can be slower and harder for women. This is evident in the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles and the ever-present gender pay gap.
The global pandemic has not helped the situation, with women more likely to have been in industries shut down, furloughed, or have changed careers because of the resulting economic fallout. Furthermore, it is estimated that 1 in 4 women are considering downshifting or changing careers as a direct result of the pandemic. This suggests that the pandemic has hit women especially hard and threatens to undermine much of the progress women have made in the workforce.
The theme of this year’s IWD is “Break the Bias” and we at The Entrepreneur Source (TES) firmly believe there is no better place to do that than in franchising. Franchising offers an avenue for women to push forward or even reemerge in the workforce from a position of empowerment through business ownership, achieving self-sufficiency and wealth while furthering progress towards gender parity. Our Career Ownership Coaches are dedicated to helping all their clients do this by matching them with a franchise model that best suits their individual income, lifestyle, wealth and equity goals.
Small business owners are the engines of our economy and women owners play an essential part. According to the Franchise Business Review report on women in franchising in 2021, over the last decade there has been a 38% increase in women-owned franchise businesses. This is a 27% increase from the previous decade. While there is still work to be done, franchising has proven to be a strong option for women entrepreneurs looking for a more level playing field.
Here are some ways franchising empowers women:
Create own opportunities
Whether it’s looking to reenter the workforce after taking time off to care for family or looking for a second career, women’s careers are not always linear. In Corporate America women are often left feeling invisible or overlooked. Franchising is less about whether your resume checks a box and more about building a business around your goals and strengths with a built-in support system to fill in the gaps of experience and skills. TES Career Ownership Coaches go in depth with their clients to accurately assess what those goals and skills are and matching those with a business model that best aligns, positioning their clients for success.
Building a business not only creates opportunities for yourself, but it also creates opportunities for others in your community. Beyond creating jobs, you create the work culture of that business, one where all women can thrive. Corporate America workplaces tend to create pecking orders, which pits employees, especially women because of limited opportunities, against each other to get ahead. With its built-in support system and network of franchisees, franchising fosters a culture of collaboration and encouragement, unique in the business environment.
For many women, they want a chance to step out of the rat race of Corporate America and do something meaningful. TES’s Susan Scotts is a good example of this. Before becoming a Career Ownership Coach, she was climbing the corporate ladder. One day, after getting cut off in rush hour traffic, her stress and dissatisfaction with her career all came to head. “I found myself overreacting and yelling at the other car. I stopped myself and said, ‘This isn’t me! I can’t keep doing this!’ I didn’t want to sit in traffic anymore. I didn’t want to sit in pointless meetings anymore. I didn’t want a boss controlling me and telling me what to do.” This sent Scotts down a path that eventually lead her to TES. As a Career Ownership Coach, Scotts has helped many other clients, including many women, take control of their lives and realize their dreams of self-sufficiency through business ownership.
More freedom and flexibility to create a greater work-life balance.
For many women, lifestyle is a deciding factor in their career, and they are more likely to feel the pressure of juggling priorities. “In franchising, you build a business around your life, rather than having to build your life around your job. Franchising empowers women to control their careers and lives. It is an investment in yourself,” says Scotts.
This flexibility allows women to be more present for home, family, and for themselves. For Elis Salamone this was very important. Salamone came to Scott after feeling the strain of Corporate America following a 27-year military career. Already finding the transition from a military to civilian career difficult, it was not helped by the corporate layoffs and terminations seeming to make their rounds. After her son, who has epilepsy, suffered a setback, she wanted to be able to be more available to help him.
While having often thought of business ownership, she admits she felt daunted because she never knew where to start. Shifting her mindset to see that working for herself was possible, Salamone allowed Scotts to guide her through exploring her options. Finding the TES model to best fit her goals and skills, she joined the team. “TES allows me to do what I love, helping others fulfill their potential.”
With its homebased model, Salamone has the flexibility to accommodate her family’s needs. “The ability to fully control my schedule and how I manage it has been one of the most empowering benefits of career ownership,” says Salamone. In addition, she has even been able to create opportunities for him to be a part of her business, giving him the ability to work during the pandemic, while growing her client list.
Less financial barriers to entry.
A major challenge that female small business owners face is access to capital. According to an analysis done by Fundera, male entrepreneurs were 20 percent more likely to secure a small business loan. Franchising can offer financing options that aren’t available to independent business owners. Some have in house financing while others have established relationships with financial institutions that franchisees can leverage to secure funding. There are also many franchise offerings that have a lower barrier to entry. Scotts says, “There are some franchises whose startup costs are less than a new car. Franchising does not have to be cost prohibitive. There are so many options! There are even ways to secure government funding to help.”
As the workplace has drastically changed with recent events it has resulted in burnout being at an all-time high, especially among women. While its effect on creating a gender equal economy can be disheartening, it also creates opportunity for women to redefine their roles. As women increasingly step into positions of leadership and business ownership, it will no doubt lead to a more inclusive and effective society. Franchising is a vehicle for many women to take control of their lives while creating opportunities for others, moving us further down the road towards greater gender parity.
If you are interested in creating meaningful change in your life by exploring business ownership as a way to create freedom and wealth, visit The Entrepreneur Source for more information.