Women are taking the franchise industry by storm. According to a recent article in Entrepreneur, the percent of female franchisees is growing at a significantly faster rate than that of male franchisees.
Factors that have inspired many women to enter the franchise industry include the desire to join a company with an existing history of success and a proven business model, and the work-life balance that's available with many franchise opportunities. Experts speculate that this level of structure is particularly appealing to women.
"In a small-business environment where it feels like family, women tend to create that dynamic to get the most of their people. They make them feel cared for. People root for that leader, including her employees,” said Shelly Sun, International Franchising Association chair.
The growth in female business ownership within the industry has not been without its challenges. Some women have faced pushback and sexism in industries that have historically been associated with male franchisees.
For example, Honest-1 Auto Care franchisee Robin Mainer was denied a loan from a bank because the banker did not want to assist a woman entering the auto industry. The franchise itself stepped in to help Mainer receive funding. In her first year of business, Mainer's location drew in over $1 million in revenue.
Challenges have not stopped women from stepping in and finding success across a range of segments in the franchise industry. By remaining strong in the face of adversity, refining their business plans and asking questions, they continue to push forward in franchising.
Gigi Schweikert, COO of Lightbridge Academy, says that working with female franchisees is refreshing because “they’re not afraid to pick up the phone and say, ‘How do we do this?’ We’re able to smoke out a lot of potential problems because they ask a lot of questions.”
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