Women lead in business franchise start-ups

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Women lead in business franchise start-ups

7 May 2013 10:43Submit a commentBizLike
Women play a great role in franchising, as around the world they start businesses at twice the rate of men and make up more than a third of all franchisees. According to Vera Valasis, executive director of the Franchise Association of Southern Africa (FASA), “Franchising is a business method that is often family-friendly, with a strong support network. The dynamism of women entrepreneurs is a positive force that is growing at a tremendous rate and should be encouraged at every opportunity.”
Highlighting this is the offer of two free franchises to be won at the International Franchise & Entrepreneurial Expo on 9-11 May 2103 at the Sandton Convention Centre. Two women, one in South Africa and the other in Australia started the Sandwich Baron and Boost Juice, the two franchises offered as prizes.
Women-based franchises
Franchising holds a special attraction for women as it provides the necessary safety net that a normal start-up business does not provide and women are particularly good at working within a system. There has recently been a resurgence of ‘female’ franchise options, such as beauty salons, slimming salons, nail bars and franchises in the education, fashion and accessories and in real estate that are attracting female entrepreneurs. There are also quite a number of women in the fast food franchise market, in the retail sector and in the service sector although many tend to co-partner their husbands in these businesses.
“Women who have bought into franchising are doing exceptionally well,” says Valasis. “Many of these women run multiple franchises, others do so with their partners – couples make up a high proportion of franchisees and they tend to be very successful because the business becomes a ‘family affair’. The ‘softer’ skills that women have stand them in good stead in business – they are good at people management, teamwork and negotiation. They like to be creative, work well within the structures of a support system, which makes franchising especially attractive.” It is said that women are often better at managing small businesses because they are more organised – often from the experience of managing their families.
Recipe for success
One of the few South African women franchisors who have made their mark in the franchise arena is Sally J’Arlette-Joy, the originator and owner of the Sandwich Baron franchise, which operates 60 stores countrywide. She started her sandwich making business way back in 1996 from home with start-up capital of only R5000 and, through her commitment to exceptional quality and service, slowly worked her way to the top. “In the early days, this was a simple business and a store only required five staff.  Over the years, due to the growth of the brand, the number of people employed in a store has risen to an average of 12 with the top stores employing up to 22 staff.”
Despite the fact that women often face the added challenges of balancing work and home, they make exceptional franchisees. “The female franchisees in the Sandwich Baron group, where there is a female to male-owned franchisee ratio of 43% to 57%, are very successful, as they have dedicated and nurturing characters that allow them to be organised, hygiene conscious and focused on the needs of customers.”
She attributes her success, in part, in that despite being a franchisor to others, she is also a franchisee herself. She still owns and controls her original store, which remains among the most successful stores in the group. “By being on both sides of the equation, I am able to understand the needs of customers and those of my franchisees, as I am able to place myself in their shoes.”
Juicy business
Australian franchise concept Boost Juice has 12 stores countrywide in South Africa, with more on the cards. Janine Allis, a wife and mother of three boys, recognised a gap in the Australian market for healthy fast food alternatives and started the business in 2000. It offers a menu of healthy juices and smoothies and has become so successful that every 14 days; somewhere in the world, a new outlet joins the over 300 existing outlets, ready to serve the ever-growing market of health conscious customers.
From the start, she has been hands on and experienced every facet of the company, from painting the floor in the first store and working in the store, to negotiating the purchase of another juice bar chain. This has allowed her to fully understand and develop the growing business and implement specific procedures as part of the total business plan. “The Boost partners are dynamic, inspirational people who have fresh ideas and new energy. We recruit like-minded people who share our enthusiasm and energy and believe that for the brand to be successful, everyone involved must share the passion and the rewards.”
South African juice owners
Taking their cue from the owner are a number of South African female entrepreneurs who have bought into the Boost Juice concept and are thriving. They include:

  • Thea Swanepoel – owner of Boost Juice Greenstone, got involved with the business at the end of 2012 and has grown the business by over 20%. She is currently looking at her second outlet.
  • Loreen Mabhena – operator for the Boost Juice Rosebank company store has been working for the brand since 2010 and has grown the over 17% the past few months.
  • Ulane Broodryk – owner of Boost Juice Mall of the North, has been running a successful store since 2011.
  • Zaheeda Guman – owner of Boost Juice Centurion Mall, has recently joined and has grown her store by 25% in the first months of takeover. She is also considering her second store.
  • Lydia Shiba – owner of Boost Juice Carnival Mall has recently joined the group.

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