On March 8, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, an initiative to honour the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women across the world. In the spirit of International Women’s Day, Franchise Canada recognizes the female members of the Canadian franchising community.
More and more entrepreneurial women are entering the franchise world, and here we showcase the hardworking females who have taken control of their own success using the franchise model. From landscaping to business coaching to moving, women are taking the lead in franchises across the country.
Changing the Game
Franchise Canada showcases three female franchisees making their mark in typically male franchise markets.
For Cheryl Dyck of ActionCOACH, being a female franchisee in a male-dominated sector is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. “In a world where there are so many franchisees that look pretty much the same, this differentiating factor has helped me to be more visible to my target market,” she says. “As a woman,” she continues, “I have always felt I had to work harder to prove myself in the business world.” When ActionCOACH approached Dyck in 2007, she knew her thirty years of business experience would be an ideal match for the business coaching franchise and quickly became the sole female partner in the company’s Canadian franchise system.
Since then, Dyck has been coaching countless clients to help guide them to business success. “ActionCOACH has a well-established and proven set of tools, processes, templates, and procedures to use with clients,” she says, “allowing me to focus on helping my clients and not reinventing the wheel.” Having always been a self-starter, Dyck knows the kind of motivation and enthusiasm it takes to thrive in business. “Working with me,” she shares, “will get my clients what they need.”
“I see this franchise opportunity as providing me with more ammunition to help others,” she continues. To potential franchisees looking at a competitive field like hers, she advises that people make sure the particular franchise model fits with their own goals and dreams just as ActionCOACH does with hers.
Clintar Commercial Outdoor Services
The landscape and maintenance industry has long been a male-dominated one, but Michelle Stratton of Clintar Commercial Outdoor Services is looking to change that. “I am the only female in a group of six partners,” she says. “I feel I bring a different perspective and skill set to the group. I am fortunate that I have the privilege of being supported by my partners every day.”
Together with her franchise partners, Stratton runs the London, Ontario, Clintar franchise. With a background as a certified professional accountant, she joined the Clintar team over six years ago as she was seeking a change in her career. “I chose Clintar because of the people and their values, their strong presence in the industry, and their dedication to excellence,” Stratton shares.
Stratton and her team knew that many small landscaping companies struggle to get started. With Clintar, she knows they are getting best-in-class support. “Head office is regularly involved with the individual franchises,” she explains, “and they encourage the highest standards, supporting their teams wherever needed.”
Her advice to potential franchisees? “Surround yourself with the right people. Focus on growing a dedicated team and implementing strong values.”
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK
With “Men” in the name, it’s no surprise that TWO MEN AND A TRUCK is a predominantly male franchise. But Heidi Welsh, co-owner of the company’s second Canadian franchise, brings a distinctly female approach to the business she runs with her husband in London, Ontario. “I try to bring more of a family feel to the business. It works well,” Welsh shares. “Our male employees, who make up the majority of our movers and drivers, react differently to a softer female approach.”
With “Movers Who Care” as the moving company’s motto, Welsh’s approach is right on brand. Fostering a relationship with clients is key, especially when it involves the immensely personal experience of moving, and making sure the entire franchise team is on the same page is just as important. “Finding phenomenal employees who share our vision for the company,” Welsh says, is crucial. “We’ve built a core group of people,” she says, going back to the idea of a family-forward approach to business.
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK is a proven concept with brand recognition and a reputation in the business that is second to none. With the company’s offering of classes, webinars, and in-person consultations to franchisees, the franchise is sure to see more men and women coming to the system every year. “It’s a winner with a great track record,” Welsh sums up.
100% Female Franchise Systems
Women-led franchise systems are empowering women in franchising to business success in tutoring, tanning, and home care. Three franchisees share their experiences in these predominantly female industries.
Beyond the Classroom
Beyond the Classroom offers in-home tutoring to children from JK through Grade 12, so it’s no surprise that families, and moms in particular, are at the centre of this franchise. Trish Petersen, owner of the South Mississauga, Ontario franchise, knows this firsthand. “Moms are our primary point of contact,” she says, “and being a part of a female-led organization and having the experience of raising children in the school system provides insight into what families are looking for.” Knowing what it’s like to be on the client side of the equation allows Petersen to see how Beyond the Classroom stands out in the busy tutoring marketplace. The empathy that comes from being a franchisee who is also a mom is key, providing greater understanding of what client-parents need.
Having franchisor Cathy Thompson as a mentor in the business has been invaluable for Petersen as well, especially in such a competitive marketplace. As Petersen was establishing her franchise, she was able to look to Thompson for support and a model for success: “As the business has grown, I always have that person who is steps ahead of me and has input on how to meet those challenges.”
Like Thompson, Petersen says she has an appreciation for the “softer side” of the business world, something crucial when dealing with families and children. “Focus on your own path and the history that led you there, all the things that are unique about your own brand, and let that speak and provide success for you,” Petersen encourages.
Right at Home Canada
As the owner of Ontario’s Guelph, North Wellington, Cambridge, and Kitchener–Waterloo locations of Right at Home Canada, Laura Grennway-Balnar knows how beneficial a mostly female-run franchise system can be for both franchisees and clients. Right at Home Canada provides home health care and assistance and Greenway-Balnar acknowledges, “I think I am safe to say that most people often recognize ‘caregivers’ as women and since our service is caregiving, promotion of our services by women definitely has an advantage.” She notes this positive impact on their business as it has allowed them to become more quickly accepted into the homecare business in their communities.
The Right at Home Canada mission, to improve the quality of life for those they serve, means ones of the greatest challenges is finding exceptional caregiving staff. “The demand is great and the availability of caregivers is low. Those who choose caregiving as a career need to be treated as the valuable healthcare professionals that they are,” Greenway-Balnar explains. “We need to take care of those who take care of others.” Right at Home makes this a priority, seeking to provide a well-rounded complement of support services for those caregivers and franchisees. “One of the most important benefits is the ability to share amongst our colleagues,” she continues. “As franchisees we are all a tight-knit group and keep each other motivated and passionate for providing the right care.”
Tan on the Run
Sherri Picard runs the mobile airbrush tan and spray tan salon out of Vaughan, Ontario, and as the name suggests, Tan on the Run speaks directly to the busy world of today, especially for women and mothers. “As a mother of two young boys, I love that I relate to all of the other franchisees. We are all women in business with the same mindset, goals, and drive that makes it easy to ask for advice or share our success with each other.”
The foundation of the franchise speaks to this as well: “My favourite part of this franchise is that the owner, Nicole Hyatt, started this company by working for herself as a single mother at the time. She is very easy to approach and relate to. She’s already gone through the ups and downs of running a business, which makes her the best coach one could ask for.”
The franchisees have a Facebook forum that allows them to communicate with each other, post what they’re working on, and share those ups and downs of business with each other. What does she say of her decision to join the Tan on the Run franchise team? “Best decision I’ve made!” She continues, “My best advice is to never get discouraged and to stay on top of your business every day,” noting that while clients don’t come easily and it takes a lot of marketing and dedication to develop a strong client base, making that connection with clients and keeping them happy is worth it all.
By Jessica Burgess