It’s no secret that entrepreneurship among women is on the rise –according to Entrepreneur Magazine, more women are founding companies than ever before and there are more than 9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. today.
The economic implications of this trend are clear. Over the past 15 years, women-owned firms have grown at 1.5 times the growth rate of other small businesses and are estimated to provide more than 5 million jobs by 2018.
However, there’s still a long way go and there are a handful of ways women can be entrepreneurial without necessarily starting a company from scratch. To that end, pursuing franchising concepts can make a woman’s dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true.
Franchising offers a unique opportunity to women at different life stages: early career, during motherhood, post corporate career or a brand new career track (example: post military). Much of the small business heavy lifting has taken place by the time a concept begins to franchise and best practices have been established to increase a woman’s chance of success. Moreover, becoming a franchisee has the dual benefit of allowing women to be part of something bigger, yet still experience the journey and life of an entrepreneur.
And it keeps on getting better for women. There are many resources for women to refine skills of being an entrepreneur – from the SBA and its Women’s Business Development Center, to organizations like NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), Marie Forleo and more.
As a company that represents women to brands who want to reach them, Magnolia Insights has identified the top ten franchises that blend attributes that are important to women. We considered female consumer brand appeal; marketable concept; affordability; family friendliness and personal relevance. Extra points if the concept has a woman founder!
Here are TEN leading franchise concepts that win with women:
- sweetFrog (premium frozen yogurt): The fastest growing frozen yogurt franchise concept in the US, sweetFrog is a dynamic brand and family-friendly concept with a range of options to bring the concept to life (store/retail location or kiosk). sweetFrog uses high quality ingredients and a range of flavors keep kids and families visiting regularly.
- Le Macaron French Pastries (food): For those who appreciate a refined food concept that is bold yet feminine; Le Macaron, founded by a French mother-daughter duo, is a great upscale concept that is easy to execute.
- Wine & Design (paint-and-sip studio): This BYO wine concept fosters female creativity by pairing an artist/teacher with a group of wine-sipping students for a 2 hour class. This is one of the lowest cost franchise concepts available and perfect for moonlighting entrepreneurs.
- Dat Dog (food): A New Orleans classic that has a family friendly menu and Mardi Gras environment; Dat Dog is a festive franchise concept that is expanding into other regions of the country.
- Planet Fitness (fitness/gym): For fitness buffs or women who have an affinity for health and wellness, Planet Fitness offers instant brand recognition and a distinctive work out environment. Its Judgment Free Zone® makes members feel good about being there.
- My Gym (child-fitness): This franchise concept has a social mission to keep children active and learn healthy habits at a young age. Perfect for moms who understand the value of exercise.
- Merry Maids (home cleaning): A longstanding franchise concept that has a positive reputation for trustworthy cleaning ladies, Merry Maids allows for name brand recognition in a fragmented home cleaning market.
- Home Care Assistance (senior care): This franchise is perfect for nurturing women or women who have a background in healthcare. As the baby-boom generation reaches retirement age, there will be substantial growth in the senior care market.
- Learning Express Toys (specialty toy stores): This is the leading franchisor of educational toys with 130 locations across the country. It has a vibrant retail environment, is rich with relevant toys for kids and keeps kids and families coming back for more.
- School of Rock (music education): For musicians or music lovers who want to find a way to make a profit in the music industry, School of Rock is a low cost franchise concept that is fun and family friendly. Here students learn to be great musicians, but they also establish a work ethic, learn teamwork, and gain confidence that they can take with them throughout their lives.
Tania Haigh is CEO of Magnolia Insights, a marketing services company she founded to connect brands to the highly-influential women and moms market. Magnolia also produces events and workshops to advance womankind through its GET NOTICED platform. Prior to launching Magnolia Insights, Tania led marketing to women at McDonald’s USA and was recognized for her thought leadership by the Association of National Advertisers and Brand Innovators. Tania has been featured in Advertising Age, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chief Marketer Magazine and the Wall Street Journal; and has written articles for Chicago Woman magazine and Chief Marketer. She is also a TEDxWomen organizer and curator.