7 Tips for Women Who Want to Own a Franchise

In celebration of Women in Small Business Month, female franchise founders and CEOs share top advice and tips for women entering the franchise industry.

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By Kate Taylor

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Women in franchising have many reasons to be drawn into the industry – a sense of community, a structured entrepreneurial venture, a chance to follow their passions. However, franchising or transforming a company into a franchise has its share of challenges.

The franchise industry is known for fostering mentorship, especially among women. Whether its franchisees sharing tips or franchise owners guiding others through the process of turning a business into a franchise, no one in franchising makes it without others’ advice.

Here are 7 uber-successful women in franchising, from founders to CEOs, and their top tips for others in the franchising industry. Whether you’re contemplating transitioning to franchising or buying your first franchise unit, check out their essential advice below. 

Related: Women in Franchising: An Enthusiastic Minority

1. Research like crazy

Barbara Moran-Goodrich

President and CEO of Moran Family Brands, winner of the IFA’s Bonny LeVine Award

“Research, research, research… You need to look at what are you passionate about, and maybe that’s where you first start… You want to look at all the different options and don’t limit yourself because you think, oh that’s something for men to do, or that’s something that only married people do together.”

2. Feel good about your franchisor

Nancy Bigley

CEO and co-owner of Bottle and Bottega

“If you’re looking at a franchise, really make sure you have a strong connection with your franchisor. This is going to be someone you’re connected with for a really long time. It’s somebody you’re going to rely on, and you want to really feel good about them. You want to know that they will be there to support you, to be your friend, be your mentor, be your coach, be all those things you’re going to need.” 

3. Establish a Positive Culture

Marie DeNicola

President and CEO of Mainstream Boutique

“I think for those interested in franchising you really have to figure out what you want your culture to be, so you can cultivate a very positive, encouraging culture. Our franchisees don’t look at themselves as competitors with one another, but they look at each other as peers, to help one another grow, and that has been key to our success.”

4. Be willing to make sacrifices, especially the first year

Stephanie Allen

Co-founder of Dream Dinners

“Do your homework, love your product and be willing to work hard -- especially in the first year. Don’t try to do everything yourself, hire great people to help you and then work within your gifts. Excelling in your strengths will grow your business faster than if you try to do it all!”

5. Read everything you can

Jo Kirchner

President and CEO of Primrose Schools

“My advice for aspiring CEOs and franchisees alike: Read, network and read. Knowledge is at your fingertips about anything and everything you need or want to know. There are magnificent books with rich knowledge about leadership and strategy to grow successful businesses… Second, network with leaders you aspire to be like. Listen to them, observe them and learn from them.”

6. Write everything down

Anna Phillips

Founder of The Lash Lounge

“I often tell small-business owners, especially women business owners, document everything. Document anything you’ve ever done. Any system, but type it up where its hand written or anything, because if you want to expand or turn it into a franchise, you’re going to have to have that documented and put into step-by-step platform. When you start from the beginning, that’s ideal.”

7. Ask for help

Debbie Blacher

Founder of Wholesome Tummies

"There’s one big lesson that I learned -- that getting the advice of experienced professionals who know the franchising industry and can let you know if your business is even franchiseable because not every business is, can give you the tools and the guidance that you need… Reaching out through the industry, reaching out through the IFA, LinkedIn. There are a lot of people out there who are willing to help.”

Kate Taylor


Kate Taylor is a reporter at Business Insider. She was previously a reporter at Entrepreneur. Get in touch with tips and feedback on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor. 

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