Women and Franchise Ownership

I just read an interesting article written by Joel Libava, a franchise consultant that writes often on the topic of franchising.  The article I read entitled: “Why Aren’t More Women Interested in Franchise Ownership?” appeared in the www.SmallBusinessTrends.com issue of October 28, 2010 (http://smallbiztrends.com/2010/10/why-aren%E2%80%99t-more-women-interested-in-franchise-ownership.html).  The article addresses the question of why there aren’t more women in franchising.  Interestingly, Joel’s experience is not my experience.  Although I do find more men contacting me to evaluate the franchise they are considering, I find many women contact me for this purpose too.  Perhaps because we are an all female law firm, but I find I have many women contacting me about children’s franchises and senior care franchises, as well as retail franchises.  Sometimes, the clients are married couples who decide that the wife will be the main contact with me for the legal review of the franchise documents.  I definitely agree with Joel that more men contact me than women, but not to the extent that his article indicates he has experienced.

So, why is it that more men are attracted to franchise ownership?  Is it because so many men (former bread-winners for their families) are out of work and looking to become their own boss?  Could it be that men are greater risk takers and therefore more likely to consider business ownership?  I don’t know.  I think women make excellent business owners, as Joel pointed out.  There are no generalities that I can discern – some women owners are tougher than men and some are not; some are more successful, some are not; some are more driven and others are not.  I don’t see a pattern or any way to make general conclusions.  It would be an interesting sociological study for a Ph.D. candidate to determine why there are more men in franchising then women.

The comments by some women on the post are quite interesting too.  The women seem to hold the impression that franchising is too controlling and that paying royalties to a franchisor is too costly to allow the business to be profitable.  Neither of these statements are accurate.   I think franchising is an excellent way for a woman leaving corporate America to start her own business. In my experience, just because someone has been an employee of a (presumably) large corporation, does not mean she can start a new business. What franchising does is to provide the guidance to a (hopefully) successful business. With that said, it is imperative that any prospective franchisee do her due diligence (homework) in carefully researching the franchise opportunity, speaking with franchisees in the franchise system (and even those who have left the system), spending time in one of the franchised locations to learn about the business, evaluating the franchisor’s audited financial statements, reading the 23 Items of the FDD and having the legal documents reviewed by an experienced franchise attorney. If the prospective franchisee is careful in selecting a good franchise and evaluating it thoroughly, franchising can be a great method for a woman leaving the corporate world (or a woman returning to the work world after having children) to run her own business. As the statistics show, franchised businesses are far more successful than are start-up businesses which have a high failure rate.

Lastly, is it possible that because there are more male franchise consultants advising prospective franchisees on selecting a franchise that more men are likely to buy franchises?  Are there certain types of franchises that attract men more than women or vice versa?  What do you think they might be?

Let me know your thoughts and experiences.

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