A survey of franchisees currently underway by Franchise Facts has already uncovered some interesting information about women franchisees. Some preliminary findings from the National Franchisee Survey, reported by BlueMauMau, show these contrasts between men and woman as franchisees:
- Women accounted for 46 percent of respondents to the survey, men for 54.
- Women franchisees on average were more educated than male franchisees, but had less prior business experience.
- Women are more likely to start a franchise in a rural or suburban area with less than 250,000 residents than are men. In contrast, 66 percent of men were in areas with more than 250,000 residents.
- Sixty-one percent of women franchisees surveyed had owned their franchisees for four years or less; 70 percent of men surveyed had owned their franchises for more than 5 years.
- Women’s attitudes toward and perceptions of their franchises also differed from men’s. Women were less optimistic about their business’s future potential; more likely to say their franchise doesn’t meet their financial expectations; and less likely to think their franchise is superior to their competitors’ businesses.
- Eighty-nine percent of women franchisees surveyed said their businesses were not profitable; only 31 percent of men said the same. (This could be related to the fact that the women had been in business for a shorter time, and also worked fewer hours in their businesses.)
What accounts for the differences? BlueMauMau suggests it may boil down to women’s different attitude toward risk. If it’s indeed true that women are less likely to be risk-takers, this could explain the poorer results they are getting from their franchise businesses compared to men.
But since starting a franchise in general is less risky than starting an independent business, women’s risk-aversion is likely to lead them more and more into the world of franchising. (The fact that 46 percent of survey respondents were female is already impressive.)
As women become an even bigger part of the franchising universe, perhaps programs and support systems to help them get more comfortable with risk are something more franchisors should consider.Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva on Twitter at Twitter.com/Rieva. Visit SmallBizDaily.com to read more of Rieva’s insights on small business and to buy her newest book, Marketing 101: Quick Tips for Marketing Your Business.