5 Ways to Maximize Your Franchise Investment

If you’re thinking about starting a business, you’re in good company. According to the 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, an annual study performed by American Express OPEN, the number of women-owned businesses grew 1.5 times the national average between 1997 and 2013. This included a 10 percent increase in employment, 59 percent increase in job growth and 63 percent of revenue for women-owned companies.

One area that is particularly appealing to women is the franchise business. Even if you haven’t thought about investing in a franchise there’s some definite peer pressure to do so, according to a 2011 study by the International Franchise Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers that revealed 25 percent of today’s franchise owners are female.

There are many resources for male and female franchise owners, but a growing number of tools are available to help women maximize the success of a franchise:

  • Check into the SBA.
    The U.S. Small Business Administration is considered an excellent resource for anyone seeking to become an entrepreneur and offers everything from classes to details on start-up loans. But it also has specific business information for women, including Women Business Centers in every state. The SBA estimates that there’s nearly $16.4 billion available through more than 45,900 loans to women-only businesses.
  • Get the right software.
    Whether you’re new to keeping track of financial records or you’ve been doing it for years, you can benefit from office automation programs by Intuit. The company provides a variety of services and virtual assistance, including payroll and human resources, and even a series of posters reminding employees of mandatory federal labor laws.
  • Make like-minded connections. 
    Find ways to connect with other women, especially fellow franchisees. Maybe there’s a professional women’s network in your area, like the Soroptimists. Maybe there’s a service club like Rotary or Kiwanis, or a business group such as a chamber of commerce. There’s also a group within the International Franchise Association called the Women’s Franchise Committee that has networking chapters and conventions around the country.
  • Take advantage of your military background. 
    People with military experience are ideal for joining this line of work, according to Franchising USA. They have proven experience following detailed systems and set procedures, the ability to create and meet goals, and the ability to make decisions. All these qualities can be beneficial as a franchise owner.
  • Set some money aside. 
    Start-up costs vary depending on the particular industry, company or marketplace. But according to Franchise.com, some franchises are making a very strong effort to attract women, everyone from professionals wanting to be their own boss to people entering the workplace for the first time for some extra household money. Its directory of industries and prices range from $250,000 to $500,000 for an Ace Hardware franchise to CruiseOne ($9,800), an independent cruise booking agent, or Sing Your Name ($2,850), a distributorship of children’s products.

By Kristy Bailey
Kristy is an entrepreneur, who runs a business constructing unique compost bins from recycled materials.

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