LEADING THE WAY FOR FEMALE FRANCHISORS
Franchising as we know it has shifted in recent years. Traditionally chalked up to be a man’s world, franchising systems across the nation have seen an influx of women claiming their stake.
Women have emerged prepared to start their own businesses and control their own future by becoming franchisees and demonstrating their entrepreneurial spirit. While the number of female franchisees is increasing dramatically, the number of female franchisors is not. One franchisor, Susan Schopp, is showing women across the country that they can make their own choices in business and build out their own path to success.
As the founder and CEO of Neighbor’s Choice, a community-centered neighborhood newsletter franchise, Schopp has demonstrated that women have just as much entrepreneurial drive as men do and have the opportunity to gain equal footing in the franchise marketplace. Mainly, the key to creating a woman-owned franchise is exhibiting commitment and faith in oneself. When Schopp started the national franchise, Neighbor’s Choice, she knew that business ownership was in her future. Schopp began her journey with a career in journalism where she freelanced and sold advertising space. Of course, she had no way of knowing at the time that this career choice, and those that followed, would prepare her for the position she would ultimately have. A position that allows the flexibility to work from home and spend quality time with her family as well as provide the financial security needed to maintain a good life.
In addition to work life, Schopp was very involved in her community. For many years, she enjoyed serving on a non-profit that offered neighborhood leadership education, as well as various Homeowners Association (HOA) Boards and working with others on making a difference in the community.
Some say life experience is the greatest teacher, and for Susan Schopp, this held true. Schopp had garnered skills throughout her career and home life. With experience in journalism, sales, networking, graphic design, multi-tasking, and technology, Schopp had created the perfect recipe to become a powerhouse in her own right. The combination of skills she gained throughout her career, mixed with non-negotiable aspirations of working from home, has cumulated into a perfect mix of financial security, personal satisfaction, and service to her community.
While serving on her own neighborhood HOA Board, she realized the need for better communication between neighborhood residents and the HOA. The natural transition to fostering that communication by developing a
distribution channel that would reach residents in a positive manner seemed like the perfect win/win for all involved.
The Neighbors Choice brand assists neighborhoods of all sizes to stay better connected. In addition to assisting the HOA with required announcements, the service also assists neighborhood residents by providing space to include important events, accomplishments, and classified ads. This two-way communication brings neighbors together and facilitates a better relationship between HOAs and neighborhood residents. A third and very
important factor to the success of the Neighbors Choice brand is the inclusion of local businesses. The service assists local businesses in and around each respective neighborhood by providing them an opportunity to include advertising that reaches their target market – residents within a 10-mile radius of the business.
Since 1996, Schopp has been setting the groundwork for all women in business. Although a long journey, the brand made a pivotal decision to begin franchising in 2020, after seeing the impact its services made in communities throughout its home state of Texas. The brand expanded from San Antonio into Dallas and Austin as their former clients relocated across the state.
When asked what the future holds for women serving as franchisors, Schopp feels as though she is too new to the role to say just yet. Although, she did discuss what sets women apart, and gives them advantages that level the playing field. Schopp noted that being a woman has never served as a handicap in her career, but rather an advantage. Schopp adds that when women put their mind to a task, they tend to find a way to get it done and the
quick thinking and adaptability they have needed in their lives will serve them well in business. She also encourages women to trust their intuition. She believes that intuition is a key advantage that women hold in the business world.
When making the transition from being a business owner to a franchisor, Schopp offered some simple advice: You must be committed to your concept. Developing a brand with national reach is no easy feat, it requires skill, dedication, and the ability to be acutely aware. In her experience, Schopp doesn’t feel as though she missed out on any aspects of her life, because her business has allowed her to have the life she wanted. It allowed her stay true to her goals and never waver on her commitment to spend time with her family. In addition, she noted that business doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, patience, and hard work, something that she is confident that
most women in franchising exhibit. She noted that becoming a franchisor is more than just defining a brand, what it stands for, and how it looks. More so, becoming a franchisor requires long nights, difficult conversations, and crunching numbers.
In the end, Schopp along with Neighbor’s Choice redefined the franchising world, highlighting the power of women serving as franchisors. For Neighbor’s Choice, it’s not only important for the brand to be invested in connecting with and enhancing its community, but also to gain a feeling of security within the franchising family in which it operates.
In Schopp’s opinion, this is one of the greatest advantages of being a woman in franchising: Creating a sense of community in more ways than one.
For more information visit: https://neighborschoice.com/