One woman who took the franchise plunge and has never looked back is Lisa Tobias, who owns and runs 10 Domino’s Pizza stores in Scotland and Northern Ireland
Thirty per cent of franchises in the UK are operated by women – nearly double the proportion of SMEs (15.5%) – a new study by the British Franchise Association (bfa) and NatWest has revealed.
The figures were revealed at the bfa’s Women in Franchising event – designed to encourage more women to consider franchising – last month.
The event, which featured a line-up of top businesswomen from the world of franchising, attracted record numbers and was headlined by TV presenter-turned-entrepreneur Carol Smillie, who recently launched her own specialist lingerie venture dubbed ‘Diary Doll’.
Pip Wilkins, head of operations at the bfa, said: “Our Women in Franchising event couldn’t really have gone any better, we had a record attendance, 40 per cent up on last year, and an awareness-raising campaign reached an audience of more than two million people. All the feedback we have received has been very positive.
“Many of our top franchisors and franchisees in the UK are female but we want to encourage even more women to consider franchising as a route to self-employment.
“Franchising is the perfect way to go into business but with a support network there to help and assist you.”
One woman who took the franchise plunge and has never looked back is Lisa Tobias, who owns and runs 10 Domino’s Pizza stores in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
While working at Domino’s part-time to help fund her studies, Tobias realised how much she was enjoying her shifts.
So in 1999, six months into starting university, she decided to change direction.
“I loved working with a group of passionate young people who believed in the product,” she says.
“I was learning a huge amount and felt I could have a future within the business, so I decided to switch focus and go full-time.”
Tobias was soon promoted to store manager – aged just 19.
At 21, she was recognised as Manager of the Year by the company.
“I started to see I was good at what I was doing and wanted to take it further. I began to think about running my own store and loved the idea of being my own boss.”
She opened her own store at Kilmarnock at the age of 23 and has never looked back.
Tobias won the Association of Scottish Businesswomen (ASB) Scottish Businesswoman of the Year award in 2011 and now owns stores in Kilmarnock, Ayr, Irvine, Clydebank, Govan, Johnstone, Greenock, Ballyclare and Larne.
“A career highlight for me was winning a Gold Franny in Las Vegas – and opening my tenth store,” she says.
In her spare time, Tobias is also a world champion powerlifter and a Scottish champion weightlifter.
She’s hoping to make the 2018 Commonwealth Games – and if that doesn’t keep her busy enough, she’s also a busy mum of two.
Tobias has been able to achieve such success with help from her husband, who helps to run some of the stores with her.
“I want to keep working with great people, build sales in my current stores whilst opening more and making the Commonwealth Games for weightlifting in 2018,” she concludes.