Friday, March 4, 2011

Gender Differences among Franchise Owners

(How a weak economy is having a greater impact on female franchisees)

A perusal of the data would suggest that women are less successful in franchising than their male counterparts. A higher proportion of female franchise owners report having college or university degrees than their male counterparts. Women are less likely to have upper or middle management experience, while a higher percentage of female respondents report having no business experience at the time they opened their franchise.

When selecting a location for their business, women are more likely to locate in areas with a smaller population and less likely to locate in urban areas.

Once operating their business, female franchise owners are less likely to work the long hours needed to make their businesses successful. 18% of female respondents report working under 40 hours a week. This compares with 8% for their male counterparts.

In terms of success, women report taking much longer to achieve profitability in their business. While 50% of male respondents report achieving profitability in under three years, only 9% of women report achieving profitability during the same time. In total, 87% of female respondents report that their business is not yet profitable as compared with 37% of male respondents.

A closer look at this data, however, suggests that these differences have nothing to do with gender. Female respondents are much newer to franchising than their male counterparts. 61% of female respondents have owned their business for less than four years compared with 31% of male respondents. Having opened their franchised businesses much later in the business cycle, female owned businesses appear to have been more susceptible to the downturn in the economy as evidenced by the higher percentage of unprofitable businesses and lower percentage of those meeting their own financial expectations (9% for females, 21% for males.)

In the long run, women may be better tuned to the realities of business than their male counterparts. They seem to have more balance in that they are less likely to be working 50+ hours each week. This may explain why female respondents are more likely to give their local competition credit for running a good operation. While 55% of female respondents report that their operation is superior to the local competition, 78% of male respondents are of the same opinion.

This article is a reprint from FranchiseFacts' Franchisee Satisfaction Survey Annual Report 2010 - Survey Results and Analysis. Perry Shoom is the founder of FranchiseFacts. The 2011 Franchisee Survey in progress at If you are a franchise owner or store manager, please participate. Please note that FranchiseFacts does not disclose identifying information that may be provided by survey respondents. Your participation in a FranchiseFacts survey means that you can honestly and openly communicate your responses without disclosing your identity to third parties.

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