Being an ENTREPRENEUR: Why franchising is the perfect entrepreneurial opportunity for housewives

largeAround the world, more and more women are opting for the franchise business model due to the numerous flexibilities it offers them, along with strong potential for financial independence and growth. So much so that women are, in fact, becoming the most targeted groups when it comes to franchise business programmes.

An Emerging Opportunity
The rise of women in this niche of business has been documented by significant research. A study conducted by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) in 2012 revealed that more than 126 million women entrepreneurs were starting or running businesses across 67 countries. Of course, growing literacy and skill levels, access to finances, and work experience have given women significant exposure to tackle the business arena just like their male counterparts.

Along with benefits such as an add-on income at the convenience of time and location, women are finding more opportunities than ever to enter the field of franchising. Organizations such as CII and SME Chamber of India conduct regular workshops, seminars, mentoring programmes, and help find funding opportunities for women interested in operating franchise initiatives.

Armed to Achieve
The corporate realm is fast realising that women bring unique skill sets to business. They have a natural competency for business since they are endowed with some inherent abilities, interests, and personality traits that enable them to excel at a spectrum of ventures. Not only are women great managers and organizers, they can ably prioritize, without adversely affecting the level of detail required in activities. Besides this, women are adept at resourcefulness as well as improvisation. This quality of thinking on one’s feet and quickly adapting to sudden changes are significant virtues while operating franchises. Financially, women are cautious spenders who are willing to start small and save every rupee on their way up. A prudent approach to small businesses, coupled with their amazing communication skills are a recipe for success.

Yet, there is a caveat. Just like that age-old adage about a woman behind every successful man, there are people behind successful women as well. Women, for the most part gain their happiness from people – their loved ones; and that support accounts for a great deal of their stability and drive towards career goals. A housewife entering the exciting world of franchising looks to her husband or family for approval and support, and her success is a direct reflection of their belief in her abilities. Their approval augments her ambition and enables her to achieve more than she never thought possible.

Several women franchisers, like Cremica’s Rajni Bector, a housewife who started a Rs 200 crore-enterprise from a backyard venture, give due credit to their family circumstances as well as a head-strong ambition. In our changing times, families must take pride in the earning potential of their womenfolk, not only for subsistence, but also because this will enable them to carve their own niche in the world.

Avenues of Success
Today, women are not only making in-roads in fields like eatables, clothing and accessories where women have traditionally ruled the roost, but also in a number of exciting new avenues. Vandana Luthra started her wellness salons, Vandana Luthra Curls and Curves (VLCC) in 1989, and is a glowing example of a successful woman franchisor. Similarly, in 1997, Sapna Gupta founded the Air Hostess Academy (AHA), which prepares young women for a future in the aviation and hospitality industry. Both these ventures are going strong.

Further, women have an especially celebrated role in the education space, since they not only have a natural inclination to care for children but also to raise them in the best way they can. SmartQ, for instance, is a company that specialises in non-curriculum, personality and skill-building education for children, with a focus on life-skills rather than academics. Not only is the company finding immense success today, but its network of franchisers is growing and immensely thriving as well. SmartQ is comprised of a significant number of partner franchisers who are women and homemakers. This gives them the perfect mind-set to teach children, who are also automatically comfortable with mother-figures.

The same phenomenon applies to women who are stepping into similar semi-entrepreneurial jobs in the education space, not just because of the comforts it provides them, but also since such services are witnessing growing demand from working parents. Since more and more families are going nuclear and becoming double-income, there is a need for women teachers to assume a larger role and give children hands-on care, and an opportunity for social interaction and personality building. In response to this social demand, SmartQ has established more than 80 franchises across 35 Indian cities in only a few years.

Going Forward
These and many other success-stories tell a tale so vibrant that we can confidently assert that women with aspirations and dreams to make it big in franchising and semi-entrepreneurial roles have a great shot at finding success. Times are changing fast, and are in women’s favour with a growing number of fields beckoning women with open arms. The time is ripe for women who realise that the world is for their taking.