Franchising: a natural fit for any female entrepreneur

Bronwyn Oliveira Fish and Chip Co

For up and coming female entrepreneurs striving to make their mark in the highly competitive business world, franchising is an enticing prospect. Due to its supportive nature, which provides the basic tools to make the business a success, the industry has notably demonstrated remarkable growth amongst female ownership in recent years, proving that franchising is a viable business option for all talented entrepreneurs. Bronwyn Oliveira, Divisional Marketing Manager for The Fish & Chip Co. shares more on the franchising model and how women are thriving in this industry.

Following the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Women’s Report, it is refreshing to see that an estimated 126 million women were either establishing or already running new businesses in 67 economies around the world in 2012. In addition, it was also reported that an estimated 98 million ladies were running established businesses already, proving that women, especially black females, are exhibiting less inhibition when it comes to taking the leap to self-employment.

Research has also proved that female entrepreneurs seem to thrive in tackling the franchising model, with research and statistics indicating that women have been progressively escalating in the franchise industry over the last twenty years. The Fish & Chip Co, is a prime example of a franchise group that is paving the way for black female entrepreneurs. Following statistics shared in 2013, 76,57% of its 303 nationwide stores at the time were black owned, with 16,50% of these franchise owners being black women, demonstrating that black economic empowerment is intrinsic to The Fish & Chip Co. business model.

The numbers can largely be attributed to the supporting nature of the franchise model. Instead of being thrust into the business world without a life preserver, new franchisees receive the backing of an established brand that has developed a recipe for success, and which will ultimately help reduce the risks associated with starting a business.

Aside from the dynamics of the business that lends more support to the new owner, women in this industry seem to take quite easily to the business due to their naturally nurturing management style that affords them the added advantage of being able to connect with staff and clients - a great bonus when in the business of serving others.

It is however important to remember that while franchising offers exciting business opportunities, this model, like all businesses, requires that hard work be invested into the brand at all times. Challenges will arise from time to time and can only be managed successfully if the business owner understands these challenges and can anticipate and plan for them in advance.

For those women interested in the franchise business model it is important to build on a solid knowledge base. As part of initial research into which franchising model would suit her needs best, a female entrepreneur needs to determine the following first:

  • The type of experience required for this field
  • The hours and personal commitment necessary to run the business
  • The costs involved in operating the business on a continuous basis
  • The reputation and financial position of the franchisor

Aside from these, it is important to understand what role the franchisor can and cannot play in the business. One needs to ask, for instance:

  • Will the franchisor help with marketing?
  • Does the franchisor dictate that only certain suppliers can be used?
  • If a store’s location is not proving beneficial to business, will the franchisor help to source a different one?
  • If the business is struggling financially, can the franchisor interject and offer financial support?

Aside from the proper research, any woman has the potential to succeed in franchising, as long as she is fully committed. Being successful in any business requires passion and unwavering commitment. If you don’t go ‘all in’ you won’t get anything out.

In any business it is imperative to keep a close eye on the pulse of its workings to ensure that it is kept on the right track at all times. Issues such as a lack of stock control, poor stock purchasing and a non-adherence to recipes are but some of the things that can have a devastating effect on the business’ bottom line, especially in fast food establishments such as The Fish & Chip Co. Aside from managing issues more effectively, by being hands-on the presence of a business owner will ensure better relationships in store – not only with staff but also with customers.

South Africa needs more female business owners – is it time for you to take up this opportunity?

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