With a focus on inspiring mothers into business ownership – rightly so –
have we actually ignored women without kids? EWiF explores this
question, with ideas of what we can do.
There’s a new “label” in town… DINK. If you know, you know! If you don’t it basically means: “dual income; no kids” households. Couples who appear to be living the life of riley, because they have no kids – often by choice, or they’re planning to have them later. The DINK community tend to have more freedom of spend, so focus completely on themselves, their partners, and their dreams! Perhaps many would benefit from investing in a franchise business to support their lifestyle and would fit with their raison d’etre.
Conversely, there’s also the slightly older label of SINK which means… yes! you’ve guessed it: “Single income; no kids”! Ironically (irritatingly) the author of a Huffington Post article, in 2014 on SINKs defined them as “a female urban denizen with single income and no children”. There’s nothing to say all SINK’s are female! But, if the cost-of-living crisis and data has shown anything, it’s the challenge SINK’s have around the freedom to spend their money. Compared to most households, the majority of a SINK’s wage goes on monthly expenses. Perhaps they’d love to run a franchise, to increase their enjoyment of life!
In addition to the “child-free” communities, you have the “childless” group. The fertility rate in the UK is in decline, with current stats indicating 1:7 couples are unable to have children. Not to mention the countless women not in a relationship who can’t have kids. There are women who, right now, are having to redefine who they are, and rethink their life’s purpose and goals. Women who are looking for other types of opportunities to give them a renewed sense of purpose and identity. Women who would make great franchise owners.
Has the franchise industry has been slow to include women in the “without kids” category? We love to talk about flexible working opportunities, about “women having it all: career, kids, and work-life balance”. But, what about those women who choose not to have kids? Or those who can’t? Do you make space in your franchise marketing for them to know they can run a successful big business with you? Or have you become blinded by the, “have it all” message so don’t see women outside a “family-orientated” target audience?
Women who want to build their own large business, in industries which excite and challenge them! They’ve got the chutzpah, and the balls to make it happen. Without dependents, they have the freedom, energy and resources to invest. So, why not showcase opportunities for these women, more? There are some inspirational women in our sector, with kids, who are building big and/or multi-unit franchises; however, we can’t ignore the 50% of women who reach 30 without children, nor the 1 in 5 women who hit perimenopause, childless/childfree.
In a 2014 TIME magazine article, Lauren Sandler suggests society often doesn’t know how to deal with childless women. All too often, she suggests, we “equate womanhood with motherhood.” It messes with our heads when we try to define the function of a woman in a relationship, but without kids. Or, of a single, financially independent woman without kids. Many of these women actually make great leaders, but miss out on opportunities to lead, when it comes to their careers mainly because the marketing bypasses them.
So, what’s your marketing angle?
If you market to/for women, or have created a female focus campaign, what’s been your angle? How much focus have you given in your content and imagery to “mothers” as opposed to “women”? Reflecting on the women in your network, who you may have used in your story to show how your women can build a successful business, how many of them talk about balancing work around their children? Have you included other messaging, which highlights the success of women rather than on their personal situations?
How do we do this? By talking about the other benefits of running a business! Profitable success. The chance to invest – back into the business, as well as into their hobbies and interests, and their future. The freedom to work around the lifestyle they choose – especially if they invest in a management franchise which means they don’t have to be as present in the business everyday with the right team in place. The freedom to work from anywhere they have WIFI connection to liaise with staff, clients, and head office. The opportunity for growth, with expansion through investment into other territories.
Of course, these are the same messages for all prospects, not just female DINKs and SINKs. Whilst talking about the “family angle” may appeal to some, this kind of marketing spiel may be alienating your most prolific potential franchisee. Featuring women in your network who are at the top of their game, but talking about things other than their children, or wanting to be at their kids’ school play, means we show women-without-kids how they can re-discover or re-define themselves within the supportive realm of your franchise. It means we show them where they can fit, rather than excluding them from the picture.
The challenge for 2024
So, here’s the challenge as you think about your marketing strategy for next year: Are you talking to women enough? Are you talking only in terms of motherhood? How can you be more inclusive in your marketing language and images when speaking to the over half of British women without children, about what they can gain from investing in YOUR franchise?
Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWiF) is on a mission to educate, inspire and empower women into franchising. Through our network of Ambassadors, we support one another, and show others how they can experience the power of franchising, to achieve their business ownership goals.