Your business is doing well, you want to grow further, but investment is problematic. Is this a real issue, or are there ways you can overcome it, and successfully scale your business?
In a previous article, we looked at some of the barriers around funding which many women face if they are thinking of starting a business. But, what about if you already have a business which is growing? If you are at a stage where your business is growing, and you’re ready to scale it up, do you know what options are available to you – if any?
When it comes to scaling, there are two key areas which you need to focus on, which will determine how you’re going to achieve this next stage of your business’ development:
- Evaluating your business, then planning your growth strategy. Think about how you want to achieve exponential growth, without burning yourself out in the process.
- Investing in the right strategy, to help you achieve this.
According to the 2019 Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship commissioned by HM Treasury, female entrepreneurs not only have a harder time starting a business, they also struggle when it comes to scaling it too: “Male SMEs are 5x more likely to scale up their business to achieve a £1million turnover, compared to their female SME counterparts.”
Part of this may be because female-led businesses are rarely at the forefront of the investment queue, and finance is a large part of successfully scaling your business. As the 2017 British Business Bank study into investment revealed, “female-led companies received less than 1% of UK venture funding, compared to 89% received by male-led companies”. This is because, according to the Rose Review, of the unconscious bias women face. With only around 13% of those who sit on UK investment teams being female, the industry is run by males supporting like-minded males.
Women know this, and it holds us back
WealthiHer surveyed over 2200 female entrepreneurs in 2020. Of their respondents, 74% indicated they’re concerned about two things:
- accessing funding
- and bias in the process.
This is a huge percentage of women who instinctively know they’re being held back, to some extent, by unconscious restrictions imposed on them for accessing finance. It’s why the Rose Review identified female-led businesses could add £250billion into the UK economy, if only they were given equal investment opportunities as their male counterparts.
So, how is this being resolved?
Because of the findings of the above three studies, the UK Government have pledged to support women in business, better, through the Investing in Women Code. This should make it easier for you to access the right level of support you need, and includes best practice, education and resources, mentoring, or how to access the right funding for your business.
Have you considered franchising, as a scaling model?
When it comes to scaling your business, many entrepreneurs are starting to see the value and benefit of franchising. This is because the burden of employing new people, securing new premises, and finding new clients in new areas, doesn’t lie on your shoulders, but on those of your network.
The investment you’ll need to make into turning your business into a working franchise model can be easier to deal with, for many female business owners. We know, because here at EWiF, we see a great number of franchisors, who are female. And because of the way the franchise industry works, there are entrepreneurs with whom you can talk with, about how they made this leap into the unknown. You will also find experts who can help you transform your business into a working franchise model, from creating your franchise agreement, to establishing your franchise support systems, even down to attracting the right people to join your franchise.
What’s more, there are funding options available within the franchise industry, you wouldn’t have access to otherwise: both for yourself, as the franchisor, and for those who decide to come onboard with your franchise offering. This is because most banks and lenders see the value of the franchise network to the UK economy, and are more prepared to step in and support them. They’re working with franchise brands in every sector, and intrinsically know a franchise business is more likely to succeed, than fail. They are as risk-averse, as many women can be, when it comes to finance.
To discover more about how franchising can help you scale your business, we have written a free Guide to Franchising, in collaboration with the bfa. Just click on this link, and complete the form at the bottom of the page.