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Nov, 01 2011

TAPPING BIZ AS SHE LIKES IT!

FRANCHISING is an ideal route to unlock the business potential of women entrepreneurs seeking start up ventures or planning for business expansion. Until now most sought-after female franchises were confined to sectors like education, fashion, beauty and

Now, women investors are expanding their horizons, looking for opportunities in other sectors and also collaborating with international brands. To launch and to see foreign brands growing in India is not easy and new-age women entrepreneurs are ready to take the plunge. In every business, owner deals with several challenges. Women franchisees are able to overcome those hurdles, as they are passionate and are best at multi-tasking, setting precedence etc. People management skills of women franchisees and their connection with customers are also notable. Foreign franchisors look for such qualities in their potential partners while testing new lands for profits.

Check them out

Competing in a space where their counterparts have already cemented their position, women investors who are on a hunt for lucrative international franchise concepts may find their ideal business opportunity with following brands:

Candy Bouquet: Founded in 1989 by Margaret McEntire, Candy Bouquet International (USA) presently has worldwide presence through over 500 stores. The franchisees sell floral-like designer gifts and gourmet confections in their markets. Sharing the initial challenges for developing the concept, McEntire comments: “Being the first franchisee myself, development was the hardest part of the business. This is a proven system that is already in place and can easily be customised for the Indian market. People love sweets and chocolates worldwide!”

Candy Bouquet, with over 21 years of franchising experience and its unique and exciting product offerings, plans to expand in India preferably via master franchise model. With a master who will open brand's model store and train, the company will have reduced price and a franchisor/franchisee will split the profits. Further, capital and investment requirements are structured by population and economic conditions in which the franchisee operates. It imparts marketing training to partners without any charge except for advertising funds.

Interested women franchisees may explore this low-cost deal to embark on their entrepreneurial journey.

Maid2Clean: UK-based Made2Clean founded in 1993 by Mike Hanrahan, is represented in 135 franchise territories in four countries. It is a unique cleaning agency concept, set to revolutionise the growing Indian home cleaning market. The USP of the brand is that rather than being a cleaning business, the company offers a cleaning agency service to the domestic cleaning market. The brand is seeking partnership with a select number of master franchise licensees, who will become the brand's franchisors in India. Commenting on the issue of tailoring the concept for launching in the India, Hanrahan states: “No changes have been made so far. We concluded from our due diligence investigations that Maid2Clean will be well received in the Indian market. The master franchisee will be allowed to open or resell as many franchises as desired within his territory.” Prospective master requires qualities such as industry knowledge, prior business development and management experience, ability to run a pilot system for network and financial capability and resources to recruit and support local franchisees. The capital requirement is entirely proportional to the size of a master license.

The concept offers motivated investors a highly lucrative biz opportunity.

Heritage for Henna: The huge success of the UAE-based Heritage for Henna is a dream come true for Fathia Ahmed, Founder/CEO of the company. The concept is based on an ancient art form of body painting by using henna (Myrtle) which is one of the first beauty products ever developed. “The USP of the product is traditional henna design without any adulteration, which lasts for over 15 days and it has no side effects,” says Ahmed.

Established in 2002, the brand began franchising in 2005 and presently has 45 henna Majalis (centres), located in some of the most stylish locations across the Emirates. About customisation Ahmed says: “This is a concept which suits women since it's traditionally recognised throughout India. Moreover, it is an authentic tradition of Indian culture and beauty of the Indian women.” The brand is planning to enter India via the master franchise route, desiring partnership with financially capable investors for running and maintaining the brand's image in the market. The estimated initial investment, including franchise fee ranges between AED 340,000 and 499,000, along with ongoing royalty. The brand offers marketing support and assistance in the on going business development and other benefits.

Eligible franchisees may partner with the brand, which has set out to package the ancient art into a lucrative business opportunity.

Snap Fitness: Despite being launched at the time of recession, the US brand Snap Fitness was a runaway success with 500 registered members in pre-sales even before the club opened. The brand has substantial presence in India since 2008. It has partnered with Bengaluru-based Force Fitness via master franchise model. One of the partners in the master franchisee Srileka Reddy says: “Snap is highly suitable for women franchisees, as we handhold them from start to finish in every aspect. Those women who have no experience in running a business or have no knowledge of fitness can easily take up a Snap Franchise and become a successful entrepreneur.”

Presently, the brand has 25 clubs pan-India and looking at 300 clubs in the next three years. Also, the capital required is about Rs 1.3 to 1.6 crore, along with 3,000 to 4000 sq.ft from the franchisee's end to partner with the brand. The company offers complete marketing support right from pre-sales to monthly offers, events, below the line marketing and other proven ways to drive walk-ins and increase retention and ongoing support thereafter. Reddy further says: “Many of our Snap clubs are owned by women and we also make it a point to hire women as club managers as far as possible.”

Thus, women entrepreneurs, aiming to make fitness accessible and affordable to all, can look at this healthy profitable business opportunity.

British Orchard Nursery: Originated in 2006, Dubai-based British Orchard Nursery is the first nursery chain in the Middle East to be an ISO 9001-2008 quality certified and caters the expatriate community through its four branches across the UAE. In its endeavor to provide world-class pre-school education, the concept follows the British National Curriculum under OFSTED (the UK governing body) guidelines. Its 'thinking curriculum', linked to clear child assessment, focuses on health and safety of children.

Gauging the growing demand for quality education, British Orchard is mulling India foray via master franchise route. Commenting on the prospective partnerships with the women franchisees, Vandana Gandhi, brand's founder says: “Indian women entrepreneurs have evolved and are highly innovative and conscious of global changes.

The pre-school segment will not only provide them a platform to fulfil their business ambitions and also contribute their bit to the society.” This business model, customised for Indian market will support and train its prospective partners in all possible ways.

Bottom line

It's an established fact that franchising offers women the benefits of flexible timings and secure incomes. It is an ideal entry point for women in the world of business. Indian women are educated, self-driven, competent and have enough international exposure to understand the workings of foreign brands.

There are several successful women franchise owners of international brands, who have paved the path for other aspiring female franchisees!

BOX

Now, women investors are expanding their horizons, looking for opportunities in other sectors and also collaborating with international brands

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