While one might be quick to think that business remains a male-dominated industry, of the 5,5 million small businesses in South Africa, 58% of them are run by women. These range in sophistication from road-side vending, all the way up to large businesses.
One sector where women are also doing well is in franchising. In a study conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the International Franchise Association, it’s been revealed that woman business owners account for roughly 25% of franchise unit ownership to date. And this number is on the rise.
Queen of the franchise model
One such example is Fish & Chip Co franchisee, Lindiwe (Lindy) Jali. Not only has she successfully applied the right mindset and management style to her franchise, she’s expanded to two stores – both in King Williams Town. Lindiwe has used traits that give women the advantage in the franchising world:
A determined management style that is democratic and consultative, an environment that fosters networking and communication, and the ability to multi-task and delegate. “It’s important to give employees a voice within the company as they will then take responsibility for their respective roles. By being open and encouraging dialogue, staff are driven and they will want to achieve more than their capability,” Lindiwe says.
“Because I have multiple stores, it is important to monitor progress on a daily basis. Teams are briefed daily on what the game plan is and duties are delegated to achieve our targets. I check up continuously, without micro managing, to ensure that we stay on track,” she adds.
On being a woman in business, Lindy says that it has been challenging at times to prove her leadership skills as a woman at the helm of a company. “Even though I do find that I sometimes need to work harder to prove myself in business, I choose to work hard regardless of my gender. As my late mother, who was my greatest mentor, taught me you should never let circumstances that are out of your control hinder your ambitions.”
Multi-tasking wonder women
Marcel Strauss, managing executive of The Fish & Chip Co. notes, “Any one that has the drive and passion to be in business can do it, and we are especially proud of our women franchisees. I think women are quite nurturing in their management style as they show empathy and take the time to really listen to the needs of staff and clients. It comes naturally to them, which is a great bonus when you are delivering a service.”
Aside from managing these two stores, Lindy is also a full time wife and mother. Even though she does sometimes struggle to bring balance to her life, she still encourages any woman to consider franchising as a viable business opportunity.
Her advice to other women who want to become franchisees:
- Treat your staff with respect and allow them to have a voice;
- Be involved at the store as much as you can. Stores that are owner managed have proven to have a higher success rate than those that are run by managers;
- Do not slack on the day-to-day managerial obligations, such as taking inventory. You need to keep your finger on the pulse at all times.
Strength in industries
While there is no limit to the industries that women can get into franchising with, industries proving popular with the ladies include bridal, nail and skin care, interior design, cosmetics, child education, child entertainment and daycare.
For more information about Fish & Chip Co., visit: http://www.fishandchipco.co.za/