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Sep, 15 2009

Proud franchisees Single & multiple unit owners

Times are changing and women have been seen coming out of their shell. We have seen them grow from being housewives to being franchise owners. Now, the drive is deepening further, and after being successful at handling a single franchise they are takin

Women are fast becoming an important part of the business world and their contribution cannot be dispelled when talking about the business world.  The hidden potentials of women are coming to the forefront and they are now present in every line of business. Franchising as a business proposition is an apt option as it is already a tested and proven model. Women are taking up conventional and non-conventional franchises and making their presence felt. They are found to be extremely successful franchisees and more and more franchisors are willing to get women on board. According to an estimate, there are around one lakh franchise outlets managed by women and with each year passing, this share is increasing. Here is, how a few carved a niche for themselves.

Single unit: success stories

Vandana Jain,
franchisee, 
Cartridge World

Vandana bought the franchise two years back. Before taking up the franchise, she along with her husband was running her own business of computer stationery.  After they bought the franchise, her husband takes care of the stationery business while she manages the franchise.

On how they decided to take up the franchise for Cartridge World, she says, “One of our friends got to know about the franchise proposal. My husband saw a lot of prospects for us and also he thought it was something I could also run although I was a housewife. So we decided to take it up.  Also we found a few friends who were franchisees and were happy, so we took the plunge. Challenges do come in your way and overcoming them gives you greater strength to move further. However, for her setting up the store was not that difficult as she got immense support from the franchisor. Though, while running the business, competition is definitely there but whenever she has a problem the franchisor comes to the rescue. Along with time, the challenges are overcome and they  learn the art of time management so as to do justice to all of their responsibilities.

Jain follows a daily routine for managing her time between work and home. She tells, “I have effectively divided my time between work and home. I reach office at 10 in the morning and at two in the afternoon I am out of the store. My children get back from school at three, so I am home by the time they get back. After that if I need to make calls or carry out any work I do it from home.  And I have my staff to look after the store and they make reports and keep sending them to me so I am updated about the store sitting at home. That is how I manage both the shows!” Her husband and family have been extremely supportive about her work. It was because of her husband that she ventured into this line of business. She says, “My husband gave me the confidence to do this job. He has always been very supporting and feels very happy when I can manage things on my own.” She advises women to take up franchising as she feels they can run the show very well. 

Sharmila Rane,
franchisee, Tanclean, Mumbai

Sharmila was an employee at ICICI before she took up the franchise. While hunting for a franchise business to partner with, she was looking at doing something offbeat. She recalls, “I was looking out for a business opportunity and while browsing through The Franchising World magazine, I came across a brand name – Tanclean.  And as the concept was different I found it as an interesting option and opted for it.” She preferred to go the franchising way rather than setting up her own business because she believes that franchising offers complete support, know how and training. As it is a well established business and the franchisors know the business well, it makes it easier for entrepreneurs to venture into the business line. She manages the business partly by staying at home and partly by staying out. Since she set up the business she has observed that she has become extremely confident and has been able to master things that were new to her when she started work. She also enjoys interacting with different types of people which is a part and parcel of the business. She believes that you should do what your inner voice prompts you to.  For would be women franchisees, she says, “You should know what to do and be sure of which model is best suited for you. You should be able to find your inner self and when you close your eyes you should be able to know that what you want to do is right or not.”

Review: single unit

There are certain areas of business where women franchisees still need assistance in management. To overcome this hurdle and to promote entrepreneurship through franchising among women, various franchise associations should carry out seminars, workshops, mentoring activities for them. Empowering women entrepreneurs is essential for achieving business growth; efforts should be made to entitle them to effectively manage their business.

Multiple franchisees

Women after being successful in managing a franchise now want to be a step ahead and manage multi unit franchises. Taking up multi unit franchises means devoting more time, being more responsible and more accountable. They are taking up more and more stores and ramping up their own expansion. Multiple unit franchising is not only found to be a common practice among men but women are also a part of this format of franchising. They feel that it is not as difficult as it seems. Here are a few success stories highlighting their personal journeys through the challenges and their words of advice for women who wish to graduate as being successful franchisees.

Multiple units: Success stories

Manju Bothra,
franchisee, Re-feel, Kolkata

Manju took up the first franchise for the store two years ago. Since then she has added up three more stores taking the total number of stores owned by her to four.  Being from a family running a stationery business, she does seek help from her husband at times but runs 99 per cent of the business herself. By a survey, they got to know that every household has a computer today. So, doing something in the respective field was what she was looking for. On how they tagged the deal with Re-feel she says, “When we got the proposal for Re-feel it did not even take us an hour to finalise the deal.”  This is  important for a franchisor to discern and take quick decision. Initially, everyone faces challenges, for Bothra it was a local competition. But with the assurance of the service and quality provided by the franchisor, she took up the challenge. She has two daughter-in-laws who manage the house which makes it easier for her to concentrate on her work as she can devote time from morning to evening. Finance was not a problem for her as she did have reserves while she also took a little help from the bank. “Managing multiple outlets can be a tedious task” she says, “But once you start doing it it’s not difficult. You just need to work with the right kind of staff.” The reason for opting for multiple franchisees was a very simple one. She tells, “If we would not have taken up the franchises then someone else would have taken them. In such a case they would have emerged as a competitor, so to avoid such a situation I decided to take up all the franchises for Kolkata.” And she proudly adds, “All the customers for Re-feel in Kolkata are ours.” Running multiple stores requires one to be very methodical and organised. Is it easy or difficult to run a multiple show?  And she says, “It is easy if a person is systematic, and now, as everything is computerised things are much easier to handle and keep track of.”

However, it is not easy to set up so many stores without the help of the franchisor. Constant help as and when required should be given especially to women franchisors. Bothra is very happy and content with the support that was extended to her. She articulates, “The company support is very good. All the employees were given a seven-day training. The raw material is provided and if there is any problem we turn to them and get the needed solution.”

To sum up, she says, “As the quality is good, it is easy for us to uphold a standard.”

Dipti,
franchisee,
Madame

When Dipti took up the franchise for Madame in 2003, the store that she set up in Delhi was the second for them and by then the company had only opened their first flagship store in Mumbai.  She found the experience so wonderful that she further took up two more franchises from them and is now running three stores, each in M block- Greater Kailash, DLF Place-Saket and Gurgaon. Why she took up this particular franchise? She tells, “At that time retail was coming up and you could not find specific exclusive stores for women wear.  Madame was into retail and manufacturing since 1993 and wanted to come out with exclusive stores. As the retail market was undergoing a drastic change and malls were coming up at that time, I thought it was a good idea to start something like this. I had earlier too planned to open a boutique, and western ladies wear was in my mind. Initial challenges faced by her were different than what faced by Bothra. Opening of the store was her first experience in retail. On the personal front, she did face a few hiccups but was able to sail through with the support extended by her family. She recalls, “At the time when I started my store in the mall my son was just two years old. For the first three to four months, people used to come to malls in plenty to shop so we used to open the shop at 10 in the morning and close by 10 or 10: 30 at night. So during this time, I could not give time to my child but luckily my mother-in-law and parents were there and they took care of him. So the family support was immense which made me pass through that stage.” She has her priorities set straight. When she is at home, she completely devotes her time to her family and son, while when she is at work she puts in her 100 per cent there. Time management is a woman’s forte, so she does between work and home pretty well. Managing three stores and her house now comes naturally to her. When asked if it is difficult, she says, “Its not difficult at all, all you need to do is concentrate, keeping your goals in mind and just working towards them. You need to plan everything right.  Initially, even I thought it was going to be difficult but once I started I felt that if you can manage two stores then you can even manage 10 stores. It’s just how you plan your day, set your goals, trust your co-workers and colleagues and assign them their duties.” She feels, she has grown personally since she bought the franchise years ago. She feels her confidence level has increased manifold. She enjoys learning about human psychology which she gets to do because she gets to meet a lot of different people everyday. She says, “I feel there is emotional growth, business growth, and as a result I have emerged out as a better human being.” Her words of wisdom for women entrepreneurs, “When you’re at work give your 100 per cent and when you’re at home, leave all your tensions and worry at your work place, come back and give 100 per cent to your family and you will definitely be happy.”

Push on

Women who wish to take up franchise businesses but are hesitant should get inspiration from these ladies and take the leap! The effort that you will put in will reap great results on both, the professional as well as the personal front!

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