Franchising pioneer leads the way for women

Female Entrepreneurs in the Township Retail Industry

Franchising pioneer leads the way for womenFor a long time, women have been a minority in the franchising world. There have however, been a few women who have entered the industry and are paving the way for others to do the same.

Carol Drepaniotis is one such women. She is the owner of the John Dore Flooring franchise, a retail company that installs high-end flooring to both domestic and corporate clients for the past 24 years.

The 48-year-old mother of three, who had previous interior design experience, says she entered the franchising industry by chance. After opening her first store in 1990 she was approached by a potential franchisor about expanding John Dore Flooring brand to the rest of South Africa.

“With franchising, there’s greater opportunity for personal and business growth”

“One thing just led to the next,” says Drepaniotis, who went on to open her first branch in 1994 in Pretoria. Today there are 10 John Dore branches countrywide, located in provinces such as Gauteng, Western Cape, Freestate, North West and Mpumalanga.

Carol Drepaniotis, CEO and founder of the John Dore franchise.

However, Drepaniotis has found favour with turning her business into franchise for many reasons, such as the opportunity for expansion and the ability to keep the company image and name united.

“Having a franchise is more customer focused. Managers are not as committed to client satisfaction while franchisees are more hands on and dedicated to client satisfaction,” she says.

“With franchising, there’s greater opportunity for personal and business growth, the standards and value are kept on par and you can keep better control of branding, quality etc.”

Women, a perfect fit for franchising

Vera Valais, executive director of the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA) in a franchising report conducted by Franchize Directions, says women are generally more detailed-oriented and set high standards.

“These are key attributes to becoming a successful franchisee and the top performers in many of the brands are notably women.”

Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters, one of the largest second hand goods franchises in the world, says he has seen a steady increase in the number of women entering the industry, with 34% of all its franchisees in South Africa now run by women.

“Female business owners also tend to be more financially conservative and willing to start small on their way to growing big”

Drepaniotis believes she has found success as a woman by being just that – a woman. Women, she says, tend to be great organisers, can prioritise well and have an eye for detail.

“Female business owners also tend to be more financially conservative and willing to start small on their way to growing big. This is the kind of business approach and philosophy that is perfect for opening, operating, and growing a franchise.”

The challenges

Despite her success, Drepaniotis says there have been obstacles and that as a woman you have to work harder to prove yourself, like in any business. But says this also makes one work smarter and forces you to change thinking pattern to always be one step ahead.

Drepaniotis‘ tips for women entering the franchising market:

  • Make sure that you will be able to relate with the franchisor and franchisees, they become your partners in business.
  • Do proper due diligence tests on prospective businesses.
  • You must have a passion for what you are doing or going to do.
  • Be committed – it takes lots of hard work and dedication to start and to make a business work.
  • Love and be proud of who you are, this resonates back to your clients and suppliers.
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