We at FranNet Carolina are happy to join in the national celebration of “Women Owned Business Day”on May 1, 2014. As Kerwin Hodge writes in an excellent blog post on this topic in the Back Office Bulletin:
“You may wonder, ‘What exactly is a ‘Women Owned Business Day?’” Hodge says. “Simply put, it’s time set aside to support women owned businesses and, in the process, raise our personal and the public’s awareness of these entrepreneurial women and the businesses they’ve started. To me, it’s a natural and necessary thing. It’s a way to help the women in our lives who reflect an entrepreneurial spirit and help close a disparity between them and their male counterparts.”
One woman we helped put in business is Vivien Joklik, owner of a Big Frog franchise in Durham, NC. Big Frog is a custom fabrics printing shop, printing logos on shirts and other designs on fabric, including digital garment printing, screen printing and embroidery.
“How is your business different with you as a woman owner?” we asked Vivien.
“What makes Big Frog different from other screen printers is that we have a retail shop where a lot of people come in and touch the fabric – try it on – before making a purchase,” she explained. “As a woman I come with more of a fashion orientation to the customization process. It’s a woman’s point of view of evaluating and caring for fabric with more of an artistic feel.
“I think women also have more orientation to the customer relationship,” she added. “We have a lot of repeat customers who we know by name. Big Frog as a national franchise differentiates us by customer service. We really try to make it easy and fun for the customer. The customer can work with a graphic designer in our store to get exactly what they want – whether it is one item or hundreds.”
One piece of equipment Joklik enjoys using is her digital graphic printer. “It’s like a giant color copier, but it prints on fabric instead of paper,” she explained. “So customers can literally get one or two products custom-made if they want. You don’t have to be a graphic artist to get something really nice, because our graphic artist will work with you. You can get a custom garment from us for the same price or even less than you’d pay in a department store.”
Joklik said Mike Hall, President of FranNet Carolina, “was wonderful to work with. He sits down and tries to understand what is important to you, and presents opportunities that he thinks are a good fit with your interests and lifestyle, as well as your limits and your expectations – and tries to bring you a good fit.”
To other women considering becoming business owners, Joklik advises, “If this is something you’v always had an interest in doing – I had always wanted to own my own business – then go for it! Even after being a senior executive in corporate America for years, this is a whole new experience and I am really enjoying it.
“Make sure you really understand the industry you are considering and the competition,” she adds. “Do your homework. Have realistic expectations about what’s involved. It can be especially demanding in the first couple of years, before you can transition it to another manager. But it is tremendously rewarding to get a business up and running and being very successful.”
Kerwin Hodge’s blog post noted above cites an article by Rohit Arora, the CEO and co-Founder of Biz2Credit, detailing why women owned businesses are thriving. Arora’s findings mirror the report Women-Owned Businesses in the 21st Century prepared by U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration at the request of the White House Council on Women and Girls.
These national reports note these key facts:
▪ “In 2007, women owned 7.8 million firms, accounting for almost 30% of all non-farm, privately held U.S. firms. Women owned firms had sales/receipts of $1.2 trillion and those with employees had 7.6 million workers. – ESA report
▪ “The average earnings of companies owned by females increased an astounding 54% in a year-to-year comparison. According to the research, average earnings for women-owned firms shot up to $54,114 in 2013, from $35,135 in 2012. – Rohit Arora’s foxbusiness.com post
▪ “Between 1997 and 2007, the number of women owned business grew by 44%, twice as fast as men-owned firms, and they added roughly 500,000 jobs while other privately held firms lost jobs. – ESA report
“Clearly, women owned businesses are doing well. So why focus on women? The reason is simple: A disparity still exists between women owned businesses and their male counterparts, and part of the reason is the way people in general view women in business. Thus it’s up to us, individually and collectively, to address the reasons and close the divide separating the two,” Hodge says.
Show your support by visiting this special Facebook page for Women Owned Businesses.
And be sure to buy from those businesses during May and anytime thereafter that it’s appropriate.
Michael Hall is President and the Owner of FranNet Carolina, a company specializing in matching potential business owners with the right business opportunity. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-522-9394.