I have been in the franchise industry now for 20 years, and in in this time, I have witnessed the industry become a colourful and dynamic place, not only with people but with businesses, too. With hundreds of business models to choose from in franchising, it will be hard to find an opportunity that you won’t be passionate about.

Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchise Association (bfa), tells us why women should be considering a career move into franchising…

I have been in the franchise industry now for 20 years, and in in this time, I have witnessed the industry become a colourful and dynamic place, not only with people but with businesses, too. With hundreds of business models to choose from in franchising, it will be hard to find an opportunity that you won’t be passionate about. Whether that’s education, dog walking, global food or retail brands or working from home, there is something for everyone. This is why franchising is so appealing to many people, whether you are a woman, retired and then changed your mind, or a millennial, you will have the chance to be your own boss and have the opportunity to build your business on a model that is proven to work. Furthermore, it will provide you with a network of people to support and train you. Female entrepreneurs are already contributing massively to the UK economy, with £3.51 billion contributed in 2015 according to Natwest’s ‘Women in Business’ research paper, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The future is female

Only a small percentage of women are taking up senior and leading roles within companies. However, progress is slowly but surely happening, with women’s board representation in FTSE 100 companies increasing from 11% to 28% over the period of 2007-2017, according to Catalyst. Khya Fellingham, Global Marketing Director of Tutor Doctor, knows that having a better female presence in leadership roles is paving the way for more opportunities, stating: “The future for women in business is extremely positive. More and more women are heading up companies, becoming entrepreneurs and searching out jobs in the franchising field. It’s a natural fit for women to lead and to find niche markets to showcase their skills.” Having a franchise means you are in business for yourself, but not by yourself, so even if you have some self-doubt, you will have someone within the wider network to lend some support.

Believe in yourself

Women need to take risks and start believing they can do it! Khya agrees: “I think that women make great franchisees and business owners but often, they don’t even realise they possess the skills to be an effective leader.”

“Women tend to think if they don’t have 100% of the skills required, they can’t do it. It’s a confidence thing and that’s why franchising is so great for helping to support, encourage and empower women to realise they can do it, and do it exceptionally well.” Most franchisors don’t just look for people who have a qualified CV, they look for people with ambition and drive. Someone who is willing to give it 100% and make the business their own baby. Khya believes that franchising has more heart and soul than corporate careers, and that it can actually open up more doors for hungry and entrepreneurial women: “I actually believe that franchising is equally accessible for women as men and, in fact, I personally feel I’ve had more opportunity as a woman in franchising than had I been in a strictly corporate world.”

A working mother

One of the biggest motivations for going into self-employment is the possibility of having more freedom and flexibility. The ability to have a career, keep family commitments, and have some time leftover for yourself! This rings especially true for women who tend to be the main caregivers, even in 2018. Julie Clabby founded her business BusyLizzy in 2011 and franchised it in 2014, after wanting to have a career that was more compatible with her new life as a mother. She knows that this is a crucial time in which all new mothers begin to reassess their priorities.

“There are often natural times in your career where you can take a break or switch direction and having children is often a time when women re-evaluate their career and personal objectives. At Busylizzy, I speak to hundreds of women every month who are in this position and contemplating their next steps, so my biggest bit of advice is to use this opportunity to try something new. Just do it!” Setting up her own business has allowed her to fulfil her ambition but also be there for her family.

“Busylizzy was set up to enable me to achieve my professional ambitions while also being able to take on the role of Mummy.” What advice does she have for women who want to achieve this themselves? “I am often told how lucky I am to have this work/life balance. My reply: ‘You make your own luck but everyone can do it’.”

Share your journey

The British Franchise Association understands the need to celebrate women in the workforce, and we hold an annual Empowering Women in Business (EWIB) event. This year, it is being held at the Nottingham Belfry on November 15th. It’s the perfect opportunity to for women to come together and share their career journey, learn from each others experiences, and network and learn through a series of speeches. Book your tickets here or to find out more, get in touch with Business Services Manager Carys Jukes: carysjukes@thebfa.org

 

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