Inspired to take command of what is rightfully theirs – time and income, more women are investing in franchise opportunities.
The State of Women-Owned Business Report of 2016 reported there are now 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States and they are responsible for employing just about 9 million people and generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue. The number of indomitable women who are proving they are more than up for the challenge of business ownership continues to rise as they rise from their corporate desk jobs and take their rightful places as leaders and authors of their own success. In the vast array of industries and avenues available to hungry entrepreneurs today, more women move from the workforce into franchise ownership than ever before; and they do so firmly grounded with the knowledge that it is far better to invest in the power of a proven system of operations while building their own success and controlling their own futures.
Leaving the comfort-zone of the workforce is not for the weak-willed, no matter what your gender, but the franchise model is breaking down barriers that allow women to engage the incredible collective knowledge present in a time-tested franchise, from the local representatives to fellow franchisees. It provides the wisdom of collaboration with the freedom of being your own boss and allows women to make a living that is balanced and lucrative, if they follow the system and are enthusiastic about working hard to harness it all into a mounting client-base and a swelling bottom line.
A survey of American Small Business owners revealed that women are most likely to start businesses because they are unhappy with corporate life, and future job growth will be created primarily by woman-owned small businesses. – Small Business Trends
Many women do indeed look to start businesses to escape their displeasure with the workforce, from the clichéd but ever-limiting glass ceiling to the threats all of us face when it comes to corporate down-sizing and layoffs. However, a lot of women simply wish to assume control over their lives in a way that affords life-enriching flexibility in their work schedules and buying a franchise, particularly in the business to business services industry has proven to be ideal as a means to meet this end.
How undeniably attractive is the reality that B2B franchise owners, unlike their independent or retail counterparts can boast the weekends off and normal workweek hours that find these hard working women able to be home in the evenings?
For women with families, it is a treasure of financial and personal freedom that is catching on with each generation. For instance, there is incredible versatility afforded through franchise ownership that allows being a mom and being a boss a balance of time that can be tailored to individual needs, especially if a woman goes into business with a partner, which is frequently the case.
Marie Doherty owns Minuteman Press in Lutterworth, UK, along with her husband, Scott, and she wouldn’t trade the freedom and flexibility that franchise ownership affords her to work for someone else again. The period after her grand opening found her at the helm of the business with her husband joining her after transitioning from his former job. She says, “My husband and I co-own our Minuteman Press franchise. After we decided we wanted to own our own business, we went to a franchise show back in 2009, where we saw George Holzmacher (Minuteman Press International Vice President International Development) to discuss our options. At the beginning, in order to be able to make a go of the franchise, I had to step up and run it to start, so we had Scott’s income for the household bills. I have always been in sales/administration before and was working part time as we had an 8 year old daughter, so it turned out to be easier for me to go full time as a Minuteman Press owner. Once we had got established, Scott joined me in the business.”
Today, Marie is gratified to be an invaluable partner to her many clients and the go-to digital print, design and marketing specialist for her community. She acknowledges the hard work it takes to take an entrepreneurial venture and make it grow to the point of reaping rewards, but the flexibility it awards her as a professional and family woman is something she would not be willing to trade for corporate employment. She adds, “I love working for myself. It is very hard work but also very rewarding, I really enjoy being able to help customers and clients with all of the marketing requirements. I can’t imagine going back to working for somebody else now, it’s definitely not the same as a 9 to 5 job were you go in, do you work and come home and not think about work again until the next day, but you don’t have anybody to answer to either (other than your other half). It does give you more freedom if the kids are sick. If that happens, I can work from home; also, if the kids have activities, I can pop out of work to see them. Although I am quite disciplined, I do have to make sure that everything gets done before I leave or else I finish stuff at home.”
It is true that individual entrepreneurs channel their own unique knowledge, grit and hard-earned business experience into their endeavors once they cross over from employee to boss and any success attributed purely to gender would be too simplistic.
Maria Medina completed her education and gained work experience in the UK before realizing that her natural leadership abilities and her tireless drive outpaced the demands and the rewards that working for someone else offered her. She now owns Minuteman Press in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Maria is a respected and valued B2B franchise with clients who consider her their only source for digital print, design and marketing expertise.
Maria talks about her journey into franchise ownership and how she learned to take advantage of her advantages as a woman-owned business, saying, “When I started marketing my business, I realized there was a gap in women owned printers. I took advantage of that and joined the Chamber of Commerce and made myself the face of my shop. I go to 10 events a week. I also joined the National Association of Professional Women and I found big advantages with that, including an instant rapport among other women, talking about family life and just like typical networking, it’s about who you know. Developing professional relationships with other women business owners made sense on a lot of levels. Women tend to be more responsive, attentive and organized, generally, which as an entrepreneur is an advantage. What I also took from joining NAPW was a need to differentiate myself in every way I could. I recognized that being a certified woman-owned business gets you in the door in unique ways because people want to support minority-owned business.”
“There are businesses and organizations that actively search out minority owned businesses.” – Maria Medina, owner of Minuteman Press in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Maria continues, “I went on to join America Planned Giving, a group I discovered through another woman entrepreneur and also the lesbian-owned business group, GLBX (Gay and Lesbian Business Exchange, through the chamber of commerce). I am also the city director for the South Florida chapter of Lesbians Who Tech and that is a national organization. I have a higher likelihood to receive a government contracted job because I made sure to proudly certify myself as a minority-owned business. In that regard, the more boxes you check, the more likely they are to choose you because they try to support minority small business and they must meet a certain quota, so the more ways you can certify yourself the better. I now do printing for the city of Ft. Lauderdale and for Broward County. Examples of work I do for the local government includes printing water bills and printing official letterhead. The point is that you should find and use advantages in business and if you are entering franchise ownership as a woman, you have a head start in that way.”
Maria feels certain that her presence puts people at ease when she is out in the community marketing her business, perhaps more so than if she were a man. She adds, “I go out marketing door to door I find that people are more receptive because they are less likely to put their guard up because, perhaps, women tend to put people more at ease and go against the “salesman” stereotype. I do find people talk to me longer when I go out – I was at a medical center and I started a conversation with a receptionist who was also from the UK. I am not sure they would have opened up to me as much as a man. I am not a “sales guy”. If you are going into business, I advise you always find and use your advantages.”
The most accomplished women who enter the realm of business ownership develop healthy businesses and fulfilled lives for reasons that transcend gender. They are wise to identify their personal strengths and leverage them by developing ties with individuals who carry strengths that surpass and therefore help balance areas in which they are not as strong. Women are marching into franchise ownership and redefining the classic, male-oriented idea of leadership with confidence that a strong partner, their franchisor, will merge with the inherent feminine strengths noted by science as well as their own individual body of talent. The results allow more women to take command of what we all should steer…our time, our money and our futures.
To learn more about joining the #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise family, call us at 1-800-645-3006 or simply fill out the contact form on this page.