This is a guest blog post by Susan Baustian, Brand Director at Style Encore.
According to a 2013 Women Owned Business report, the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 59 percent between 1997-2013. It’s amazing to see women taking the leap to self-employment, but are they jumping into the “boss” role just as easily?
Working at Winmark Corporation – the parent company to popular brands such as Plato’s Closet, Play It Again Sports, Once Upon a Child, Music Go Round and now Style Encore — I’ve seen hundreds of women business owners succeed over the years. In fact, 57 percent of our franchisees are women, so I had the unique opportunity to see first-hand the characteristics that make up a successful franchisee, and what is takes to build a winning transition into entrepreneurship.
To help women interested in following their passion and being their own boss, I’ve compiled a list of five tips to follow to ensure success as a franchisee.
1. Go all in.
Most people go into business ownership because they are passionate about their business, and because they want the flexibility of choosing their own hours and responsibilities. However, during the first year, don’t expect to be strolling in at 10:30 a.m. and taking weekend trips to your lake house. When the doors open at your new business, you should do nothing but eat, breathe and dream about making it a success. Once there is a solid foundation in place, and your business is running smoothly, that is when you can enjoy the scheduling perks.
2. Don’t let a misstep knock you over.
Women are often their own worst enemy, pulling themselves apart over the tiniest mistakes. The women who have the most success in business, however, are those who acknowledge their mistakes, but don’t become defeated by them. Did you forget to put out the staff schedule on time? Apologize and then set a calendar reminder to ensure that the mistake never happens again. Employees want a boss that listens to their concerns, and then takes the appropriate actions.
An entrepreneur is only as good as her support system. At Winmark, franchisees have constant support from corporate, but the most successful ones go above and beyond and get advice from other franchisees in the system. Oftentimes those who struggle are the ones that are too afraid to ask for guidance.
4. Build the perfect team.
Finding the right person to hire can be difficult. It’s important to understand which type of personality fits best with your business and which skills are most important. At Style Encore, for example, an employee should be outgoing, organized and driven. Once you’ve hired the right employee, it is important to train them properly and efficiently. I’ve seen some franchisees struggle because they had ineffective management personnel from the beginning. Setting clear marching orders for employees, in any field, will make managing much easier in the long run.
5. Take care of yourself.
Deciding to completely take the wheel for the outcome of your career can be scary. However, knowing that you have the right employees, the support that you need and the confidence to run your own business can help make that responsibility empowering. Physically and emotionally taking care of yourself is another way to ensure that you have a stable work/life balance. Do things that will replenish your soul, like spending time with your family, eating well and sleeping at least seven hours a night.
Seeing the exponential increase of women business owners is an amazing step in the right direction. Hopefully these tips will inspire more women to try their hand at entrepreneurship, or help direct those who have experienced difficulties.
Susan Baustian has been Director of the Style Encore® Division since January 28, 2013. Ms. Baustian was the Director of the Once Upon A Child® Division from June 2005 to January 27, 2013. From June 2004 to June 2005, she was a Regional Operations Manager for Winmark. From April 2000 to June 2004, she was a Field Operations Manager for Winmark.
About Style Encore
Style Encore® buys and sells gently used clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories for women in their late 20s to mid-50s. Launched in 2013, the concept focuses on the latest styles and hottest brands, all in great condition, and aims to be the preferred store for fashionistas, bargain hunters, and women who are recycling conscious. Style Encore is franchised by Winmark Corporation, which also franchises Plato’s Closet®, Play It Again Sports®, Once Upon a Child®, and Music Go Round®. For more information visit http://www.style-encore.com.