Women may have been shut out from business opportunities in the past, but that hasn’t slowed them down in recent years. The research firm Franchise Business Review found that Women own or co-own approximately 265,000 franchises in the U.S. This figure represents a 24% increase from the previous decade! Female entrepreneurs continue to prove that the franchise industry isn’t just a boys’ club. So what causes women to jump on the franchise trend and why do they make excellent franchisees?
Women in the Workplace – When did the Female Entrepreneur Boom Begin?
Picture the year 1985. Ronald Reagan is in the midst of his second term, big hair and neon clothes are in style, and women are finally starting to join the workforce in droves. Spurred on by a record number of college degrees, new advances in contraception, and a shift in the cultural view towards women working outside of the household, the female workforce experienced unprecedented growth during the 1980’s. In 1970, women represented 38% of the workforce. By 1980, as millions more women began to join the workforce, that figure stood at 43%!
Women Snatch Up the Majority of Bachelor’s and Post-Bachelor’s Degrees
In most colleges across America, the majority of college campuses are comprised of young women. Around the late 1960’s, young women began to expect more from their lives. Up to that point, most women were married at a young age, had children, and were then expected to take care of the household while their husbands went out to earn a living. As feminism rose to the mainstream and the sexual liberation movement took hold, American society began to shift its tone on women in the workplace.
By 1980, 70% of women 30-34 who held a college degree were employed compared to 39% in 1960. It became evident to women that the road to success led through college. Although women can earn a high income in fields such as HVAC, plumbing, or the automotive industry, these jobs are typically male dominated.
Research from the Bureau of Economic Research found that young women started to flock to colleges in droves causing an increase from 9.1% of bachelor’s degrees earned to 50% in 2002 and 56% in 2017! Coupled with the fact that girls tend to develop intellectually at a much earlier age and spend more time doing their homework, the percentage of women in college will likely rise in the coming years.
An Increase in Contraceptive Medicine Meant Women Could Finally Get Out of the House
When the FDA approved the birth control pill in 1960, the achievement was viewed as a landmark win for women’s rights. This new form of contraception meant that women could live normal, adult lives and not have to worry about a resulting pregnancy. In effect, “the pill” was the great equalizer between men and women.
College women could go on to pursue careers that involved long-term time commitments. If they chose to get married during their professional careers, women could still delay pregnancy, something that had derailed many careers in the past. One study by the New York Times found young women who took a contraceptive pill in the 1960’s earned 8% more in hourly wages by the time they turned 50.
Female-Friendly Legislation Meant that Women Had a Place in the Workforce
Included in the women’s movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s, the government passed key legislation that helped women feel much more empowered to join the workforce.
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 required employers to pay men and women an equal amount, this facet of the workplace is hotly debated to this day. Many argue women still earn less.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, or nationality. Employers cannot factor in each of the above listed qualities when deciding who to hire.
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 dealt with a very serious problem that many women faced. If employers found out a female worker was pregnant, many would simply fire the employee rather than pay for healthcare or pay for temporary help in the meantime. Companies can no longer fire on the grounds of pregnancy.
With progressive legislation in place, women felt more comfortable and encouraged to work in previously male dominated fields.
Why Do Women Make Great Business Owners?
There are a multitude of reasons why women make great business owners. Some of the best examples are listed below:
Women Tend to be Better Educated
As we’ve mentioned, a majority of women now make up college campuses. The result: women continue to earn college degrees in higher numbers than their male counterparts. Education is certainly not the only factor when it comes to running a successful business, but a college degree can open doors, lead to valuable connections, and the knowledge learned in college may come in handy.
Women are Not Afraid to Take Risks
The Center for Entrepreneurship in a recent study found that 87% of women see themselves as risk takers compared to only 73% of men. Entrepreneurs are those who take the road less traveled on the journey to success. While it is important to mitigate risk, it’s key to remember that nothing worth doing will be easy at first. Remember: eventually, the Wright Brothers had to test their invention!
Women are More Prone to Re-Invest in Their Own Businesses
Studies suggests that although men and women are equally interested in growing their businesses, the motive may be different. While men are more likely to look for an exit strategy to cash in on their business, women look to reinvest and grow their business for the long-term. Entrepreneurs understand that the start-up world is often a marathon not a sprint.
Who First Forged the Path for Women in Business?
Katharine Graham the First Female Fortune 500 CEO
When describing Katharine Graham, many words come to mind, but the most notable is “trailblazer”. Graham was born in 1917 to an upper-class, New York City family. When she was 16, her father, a prominent banker, purchased the Washington Post for $875,000. Graham always had an interest in publishing and interned for her father’s company in her summers off from the University of Chicago. She joined the editorial staff of the Washington Post after college and never looked back.
Graham married Harvard Law graduate and Supreme Court Justice clerk Phillip Graham in 1940. After her husband came home from service in 1945, Graham convinced him to join the Washington Post as an associate publisher. When Katharine Graham’s father turned the business over to his daughter and son-in-law in 1948 for one dollar, the couple took the magazine to new heights. They acquired the Washington Times Herald in 1954, Newsweek in 1961, and expanded the business into radio, television, and international markets the following year.
When Graham’s husband tragically committed suicide in 1963, she took over as president of the company, the first of her kind. Throughout her career, Graham took many trips to Vietnam to cover the conflict, oversaw the Watergate coverage which eventually led to the resignation of Richard Nixon, and led the newspaper to an approximate 20% growth in profit annually from 1975 to 1985.
By the end of her career, Graham had cemented her place in history as the most powerful woman in publishing. When she eventually passed away in 2001, the failing paper her father bought in 1933 was now one of the most influential news sources in the world! Katharine Graham was a visionary and trailblazer for women everywhere – the first of her kind to prove women had a seat at the corporate table.
Women are Excited by the Growth in Female Entrepreneurship, Here’s How They’re Getting Involved
Women in business may have started as a foreign concept, but their numbers will surely grow in the next decade. Some female entrepreneurs continue to start their own businesses. This option involves completely starting from scratch with limited connections and a limited experience in the given industry.
Many women instead choose to seek franchise opportunities. When someone decides to franchise, they buy the license to sell, distribute, or provide services under a more established company’s name. Franchisees receive valuable advice from experienced industry veterans on everything from design, equipment, and management. There are numerous franchises for sale that women continue to jump on. Here are our recommendations!
The Franchises Women Flock To
Women tend to dominate the education, beauty, and clothing industry. There are many franchises in these areas that female entrepreneurs continue to enter.
The Lash Lounge
The Lash Lounge specializes in eyelash and eyebrow application. Stylists consult with the customer on the best choice and apply the product with a medical adhesive – pain free! There are currently over 60 stores in operation and a projected 100 are expected to open in a location near you!
- Approx. Initial Fee: $49,500 (per 2019 FDD)
- Approx. Startup Cost: $175,029 – $377,025 (per 2019 FDD)
- Approx. Revenue Range: $280,981 – $633,037 (per 2019 FDD)
Body Brite USA
Body Brite offers various aesthetic treatments to ensure you always look your best. This health and beauty franchise offers a wide range of treatments including hair removal, teeth whitening, and collagen therapy. Per Body Brite’s 2019 FDD, there were 15 locations at the end of 2017 and the franchise looks to continue its expansion.
- Approx. Initial Fee: $280,981 – $633,037 (per 2019 FDD)
- Approx. Startup Cost: $119,683 – $249,100 (per 2019 FDD)
- Approx. Revenue Range: See FDD
Apricot Lane offers high-end fashion brands in its various boutique stores. The retail store sells the clothes, jewelry, handbags, and accessories that many women crave. The women’s apparel industry is expected to grow by 17% in 2020, a trend that Apricot Lane franchisees can be excited about!
- Approx. Initial Fee: $15,000 – $34,500 (per 2019 FDD)
- Approx. Startup Cost: $132,550 – $329,800 (per 2019 FDD)
- Approx. Revenue Range: $124,338 – $3,633,358 (per 2019 FDD)
My Salon Suite
My Salon Suite has offered health and beauty services for over 75 years! These services include nail treatments, hair styling, and massage therapy. My Salon Suite had 76 outlets in operation at the end of 2018 and projects 37 more outlets to be in operation by the end of 2019.
- Approx. Initial Fee: $50,000 (per 2019 FDD)
- Approx. Startup Cost: $582,164 – $1,479,827 (per 2019 FDD)
- Approx. Revenue Range: $291,978 – $446,570 (per 2019 FDD)
Female Entrepreneurs Continue to Prove Their Worth in the Franchise World
Women have come a long way in the last half-century. Since the women’s liberation movement began, women have consistently outpaced men in higher education and now own over 265,000 franchise outlets! The rise of the female entrepreneur is in full swing. Look for the number of female franchise owners to grow in the coming years.
By Tyler Dikun and Jim Notaris