Franchising offers path to business ownership and a better work-life balance
A recent report from FreeAgent, revealed that 11% of working Brits plan to launch their own business in 2018. Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 13% of women plan to start their own company within the year, in comparison to only 9% of men.
52% of the women surveyed for the report, commissioned by the accountancy software company, dream of becoming their own boss, again ahead of the 46% of men harbouring the same ambition. Regardless of gender, the reason topping the list for the move from employment to business ownership was to achieve a better work-life balance.
Juggling home life and work is a particular concern for women. Women continue to carry the lion’s share of domestic duties, childcare1 and, increasingly, the care of a relative (58% of the UK’s carers are women, according to the charity Carers Trust).
Many women view business ownership as offering them autonomy over their work schedule and the all-important flexibility that will allow them to manage their multiple responsibilities. Yet, more than a third of the people surveyed for the FreeAgent report stated they worried about the financial burden of setting up a business, and 30% stated that they lacked the confidence to run a company.
It’s not surprising then, that more and more women are choosing franchising as a path to business ownership. Offering a tried-and-tested blue-print for launch and operation, access to various funding options, and ongoing support from the brand’s head office and franchise partner network, a franchise alleviates many of the perceived pressures of going into business.
Helen Naraine, a mother of two from Sutton Coldfield, recognised this as she considered how to address the challenge of juggling work and family life back in 2014. Following the arrival of her daughter, Helen realised that her career in teaching just didn’t offer the work-life balance that she wanted for her family. After 13 years as a primary school teacher, she started investigating options that would allow her to pursue her passion for early years development, while being master of her own work schedule.
Deciding that a franchise offered a good platform from which to start out in business, Helen attended one of The Franchise Exhibitions to gain a better understanding of the franchise model and to meet different brands.
With her husband and daughter alongside, Helen met with several companies at the event, but her experience working with children and her creative leaning meant that there was a clear affinity with The Creation Station. The award-winning provider of creative arts and crafts experiences to children offered everything Helen was looking for.
Helen comments: “I went to The National Franchise Exhibition with an open mind, but after meeting the team from The Creation Station and gaining a full understanding of the trainingand support they offer, I knew that this was the company I wanted to be part of.”
In April of 2017 Helen won The Creation Station’s award for Best New Franchisee 2017. Helen comments: “Winning the award was a real highlight for me. It reflects how much I have enjoyed challenging myself over the last 18 months and how well the franchise model has fitted in with my lifestyle. My primary goal when I first considered investing was to achieve a better work-life balance, but the numerous other rewards have exceeded my expectations.”
According to the British Franchise Association (bfa), some 30% of the UK's 40,000 franchise businesses are owned and run by women2. That's higher than the rate of female SME ownership across the UK, which, according to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, stands at 18%.
Celia Delaney, founder of SpeakingSuccess and a former franchisee herself, has been working with franchisors, including The Creation Station, and franchisees for more than seven years. Celia fully understands why franchising can work for so well for women, and she comments:
“I believe that running a franchise can offer women the autonomy and flexibility they seek in work. There are franchises across a variety of sectors which put women in control of their work schedule and which play to their strengths and passions. In addition, franchising gives you a tried-and-tested model and plenty of support and advice to help you make a success of it.”
You can meet The Creation Station and scores of other brands at The British & International Franchise Exhibition at London Olympia on 9 & 10 March. Celia Delaney will host a keynote presentation on Friday 9 March in which she’ll share vital tips on leveraging the power of clear and impactful communication.
1 Source: Office of National Statistics (ONS): https://visual.ons.gov.uk/the-value-of-your-unpaid-work/
2 Source: bfa NatWest Franchise Survey 2015
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