Advisory Oct, 10 2009

Women and franchising, a successful combination

If the men can do it, why can not women. More and more women are realising that starting their own business is not as daunting as it sounds. Being a franchisor has given them the right platform to climb up and be an inspiration to their counterparts. So i

By Abha Garyali
Sub Editor
Women and franchising, a successful combination

Businesses run by women were considered as small and conservative ventures but a large number of firms started by women have experienced fast growth, proving this speculation wrong. Most of the ventures had their growth due to the franchising model, which has become popular among the entrepreneurs. The study conducted by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) showed that out of the 73 million people who were involved in starting new businesses, about 30 million were women across the 34 countries that had participated. Having sufficient financial power, educational degrees and job experience has helped her to share the same arena as men.

The attributes which can help any woman in setting and running a business venture are passion, quick thinking ability, decisiveness, confidence and an aptitude for handling many tasks simultaneously. Starting any business is a risk but it becomes more perilous when you are expanding it without considering a few factors like finance, support and management in mind, hampering the success of the original brand as well. But many women have taken the risk to enhance their business venture by franchising it. They have achieved their aim and are leading their companies to the top notch businesses. The franchises which are led by the fairer sex are traditionally those by which they are fascinated most such as beauty, fitness, education, aviation courses etc.

One of the best examples of woman franchisor can be of Shahnaz Husain, Chairperson of Shahnaz Husain Group, the pioneer in Ayurvedic skin, hair and body care. The group provides clinical treatments as well as products for all treatments. Currently, the Shahnaz Husain Group has over 400 franchise clinics across the world covering over 138 countries. Shahnaz Husain has received a number of awards for her entrepreneurship like the Greatest Women Entrepreneur award from success magazine, USA in July 2002, the Global India ‘Woman of the Millennium’ Award, presented by Global India Congress, USA.

Another example of a successful woman franchisor is of Vandana Luthra of Vandana Luthra Curls and Curves (VLCC).  VLCC started as a fitness as well as beauty salon in 1989 and started franchising in 2007. Presently it has over 100 outlets in 48 cities and is planning to expand more.  Shobha Kaul, Managing Director of Personal Point, fitness clinic, is yet another example of woman franchisors. She has been awarded the 'Woman Franchisor of the Year' at the India franchise Expo in 2007. Personal Point came into operations in 1992 and started franchising in 1995, currently running 45 franchised outlets.

Air hostess Academy (AHA) which prepares youth for the aviation and hospitality industry was set up in 1997 and began franchising in 2002 under the able guidance of Sapna Gupta, Founder and Director of AHA. It was this woman’s spirit and passion towards her venture that has made her small venture into a successful empire as it has its presence in 38 centers across 29 cities.

There is another field in which women franchisors have made the nation proud. It is in the field of education. Ideal Play Abacus India Pvt. Ltd. is set up by woman entrepreneur, Shaarada K Sriram, in order to develop the mathematical and brain skills of young children using the magic tool. Sudha Gupta, Chairperson of Mother’s Pride, a play school, whose franchise was established in 1996 has opened up to 12 play schools in Delhi and NCR through the franchise route. These are some of the women franchisors who have made a mark in franchising their business.

Every woman has to confront these challenges before starting a business like access to capital, market position, and managing growth, hiring and retaining employees but still the growth of women entrepreneurs is comparatively slow. Many are still shying away from the franchising route of business expansion but taking inspiration from these successful women one should take a step forward and there should be no looking back.

Related: Entrepreneurs full of themselves fall back

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