Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchise Association, discusses the opportunities for women in the franchising industry – including flexibility and ongoing support.
Only 17 per cent of the UK’s business owners are made up of women, but 30 per cent of British franchisees are now owned and run by females. The franchising industry is proving that business is no longer just a man’s world. It’s a business opportunity with no glass ceiling, offering anyone with a passion for the industry the chance to expand their own business. As long as you are willing to start small and grow, you can be a business leader.
Flexible working hours, the chance to be your own boss and great annual turnovers are just some of the reasons why joining a franchise is a great way for women to get into business.
The multitude of opportunities available in the industry means that there is something out there to suit everyone. Many franchise business models allow franchisees the flexibility to develop their businesses at a pace that suits them, providing unprecedented support throughout the businesses’ growth. With over 900 franchises in the UK, there has never been a better time for women to get into franchising. The National Franchise Exhibition is a great place to explore these opportunities fully and get the best advice about franchising.
The exhibition features a variety of established franchise brands, including home-based businesses with flexible working hours. The exhibition has formed a partnership with the sole industry regulators, The British Franchise Association, that stipulates a high standard of exhibitors.
An inspiring example of women succeeding in franchising is The Creation Station, who will be exhibiting there. The UK’s number one children’s arts and crafts experience franchise was established in 2002 by multi award-winning entrepreneur, and mum of three, Sarah Cressall. Since then, The Creation Station has grown to over 100 franchisee businesses working across the UK. Owning a Creation Station franchise allows franchisees to develop their business around their personal situations, and annual earnings can range from £8,000 to £22,500.
Cressall commented: “It’s hard finding a flexible and rewarding career that enables you to prioritise your family. I know this very well as it is the reason I started the Creation Station myself.
“With my three boys I wanted to be able to choose my working hours, do something that made a difference to others and generated a good income. I was constantly asked by other mums if they could run their own Creation Station, so I franchised it in 2007. We now have a fantastic team of proactive and friendly franchise owners who share our core values and are achieving the satisfaction that they want.”
Hearing successful stories like this is always pleasing. Having worked in the franchise sector for more than 16 years and having held multiple senior appointments within the bfa, I was appointed CEO in April of 2016, reaching my goal of becoming the first female CEO at the bfa – an achievement I’m very proud of. It is not only at this senior level that women are excelling in franchising. Two out of the last three of our Franchisee of the Year winners have been inspirational mothers that have balanced their home and work lives to outstanding effect.
More and more women are finding a home in the franchising world, and visiting The National Franchise Exhibition will give you an idea of why. Other exhibiting franchises which have seen women franchisees achieve great success include Rainbow International and Bluebird International, both of whom have been recognised as leading franchises in their sectors.
Leading US branded fitness franchise, Anytime Fitness, who have recently been named the No1 Global Franchise1, are sponsoring the event for the second year running and will present visitors with the opportunity to quiz their team.
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