By Judith Kohler
The Denver Post
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Stacy Swift says she likes to point out the kinds of opportunities that are available to women by becoming a franchise owner.
The Denver Post
Consultant. Broker. Those job titles fit Stacy Swift. She also likes the sound of “matchmaker.”
The Denver businesswoman works with aspiring entrepreneurs — retirees, people who’ve been laid off, people who want to be their own boss — to find just the right kind of franchise for them and draft a plan to get them on their way.
With October being National Women’s Small Business Month, Swift said she likes to point out the kinds of opportunities that are available to women by becoming a franchise owner.
“We meet with people to help them analyze their skills, goals, interests, financial capabilities,” said Swift, whose FranNet franchise has offices throughout the region. “It’s similar to executive recruiters.”
The past three years or so, Swift has noticed an uptick in the number of women becoming franchise owners.
Nationally, the number of women who worked with FranNet to acquire franchises increased about 68 percent from 2011 to 2017. Last year, women made up 24 percent of the franchise owners who were FranNet’s clients.
“For years, our typical client was male, 40 to 55 years, laid off or downsized coming out of corporate America,” Swift said. “Now, a lot of it is diversification of income sources. Even though the economy is strong right now, the layoffs are still happening.”
The franchise companies, rather than her clients, pay Swift’s services.
Cindy Rayfield and Terri Bohannon are among the growing number of women deciding to branch out and expand their economic opportunities. Rayfield was self-employed for several years, writing and working in marketing and publishing. She started working with Swift in the FranNet franchise, where she got a look at the 200 some companies the office represents.
“I looked at a Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids and there was one for sale in Lakewood. My husband said that maybe we should buy it,” said Rayfield.
In January, they did. The business caters to young kids who might resist having their hair cut. The pint-sized customers get their pick of chairs shaped like firetrucks and other vehicles. There’s a playground.
“The stylists are very good at working on moving targets,” Rayfield said.
The business caters to children who have autism and other special needs, Rayfield added. She describes her role as more behind the scenes, with on-site managers tending to the daily work.
As a regional vice president with RE/MAX LLC, Bohannon has always worked for someone else. After meeting Swift at a conference, she began thinking about striking out on her own
“I’ve never been in business for myself. I’m venturing down this road at 57 years old,” Bohannon said. “I’m excited but also very nervous.”
Bohannon, who will continue in her real estate work, has bought licenses for three CityRow fitness centers in the Denver area.
In 2016, the latest year for which figures are available, 16,000 franchises in Colorado with 150,400 employees generated $5.4 billion in payroll and $13.4 billion in economic activity, according to the International Franchise Association, Franchise Education and Research Foundation. The national figures were 733,000 franchises with 7.6 million employees that generated $269.9 billion in payroll and $674.3 billion in economic activity.