News Column

Diversity Today And Implications for Tomorrow

March 18, 2003

Mauricio Velasquez

Did you know that?
•Women business owners employ 35 percent more people than all the Fortune 500 companies combined.
•95 percent of family financial decisions are made by women.
•65 percent of women in senior management positions have children (they kept their job and are raising a family).Source: Women and Diversity, WOW Facts 2001 Business Women's Network
•Net increase of the workforce between 1992 and 2005, 62 percent are projected to be women.Source: U.S. Federal Government, Bureau of Labor Statistics
•Today there are 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., representing nearly 40 percent of all businesses.
•They employ 27.5 million people and generate more than $3.6 trillion in sales.
•Women are starting new firms at twice the rate of all other businesses.Sources: National Federation of Women Business Owners and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In February of 2001, the IFA Educational Foundation conducted the first Diversity Today training seminar, made possible by a grant from the Coca Cola Foundation. Since then, more than 100 franchise systems have been exposed to the IFA Educational Foundation's Diversity Today seminar series and its on-line diversity curriculum. The courses include tips, tools, checklists, resources and marketing demographics to help franchise systems better anticipate, deal and benefit from the changing labor force, marketplace, and ever challenging and diverse economic landscape.

A Revamped Course Offering

Over the past two years, the foundation has worked to fine-tune the course offering to better meet the needs of IFA members. For instance, participants asked for more details about "best practices" and what is working in the franchising world today specifically, and generally what is working in corporate America. As a result, the course has a new "best practices module" and includes both spotlights on successful franchise systems as well as national best practice trends apparent inside and outside the franchise world.

Also new this year is a module dedicated to helping franchise systems seek out and find prospective franchisees from increasingly diverse, high growth, emerging markets, communities and populations. Participants said, "our franchise system needs much more help identifying new franchise prospects from different, diverse and nontraditional backgrounds because we are not strategically positioned in these new, diverse and high-growth emerging markets. We want to diversify who we market our franchise opportunities to and we just don't know how!"

Some National Trends

Also updated are the demographics in the course due to more recent data pouring out of the data analysis coming from the 2000 Census and the actions companies are taking as a result of this new information. For instance:
•Franchise systems and organizations in general, are studying who they serve today versus yesterday, and who they will be serving in the future and studying those demographic changes.
•Franchise systems are studying who they attract in terms of prospective franchise owners and of course, who they are not attracting and how to position their franchise system in these increasingly diverse, high-growth, emerging markets.
•Franchise systems are studying their competition and what they might be doing differently because there are truly competitive advantage implications here. •Franchise systems are rolling out new advertising, community outreach and diversity supplier programs to position their franchise systems more effectively for the present and future.So, what is your franchise system doing differently? In the top 100 U.S. cities today, the minority communities have become the majority -- the fight is on to attract, retain, and secure these new markets and grab market share. The franchise leaders first to carve out major niches in these new emerging markets will grab unprecedented market share -- those that follow will pick up the leftovers.

The next Diversity Today seminar will be presented during the IFA annual convention Feb. 15. To register or to obtain more information, visit www.franchise.org.



Source: (C) 2003 Franchising World. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved


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