Women in Franchising: Four Tips for Being Successful in a Male-Dominated Industry
Being a female entrepreneur has become more widely accepted and pursued, but it can still be intimidating entering a male-dominated industry. Trades like automotive, construction, and manufacturing are typically owned and worked in by men. But just because an industry is coined “male-dominated” doesn’t mean that women can’t thrive in that field.
In fact, there are currently thousands of women who are successful in these industries and are inspiring future women entrepreneurs.
Teresa Wanderstadt started working at SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service® of Davis, California in 1995. She worked her way up in the company from cashier, to manager, and then, when the past owner decided to retire in 2006, she bought the franchise. Now, 15 years later, Wanderstadt credits her success and longevity in the automotive aftermarket industry to her willingness to adapt and learn.
The below tips are to help inspire women entrepreneurs to take on opportunities in male-dominated industries.
Do your Research and Grow your Industry Knowledge
When entering a new industry, whether in a new position or business, it is important to do your research. Learning about industry terminology, details on products and services, the different positions within the company, and the technology used to service clients, can help set you on the right track quickly. This research will help you build a deeper knowledge of the ins and outs of the industry you are considering entering into and help you build the confidence needed to thrive.
You can also try to connect with leaders who work in the trades you are interested in. This is a great way to speak with someone working in the field and possibly find a mentor. Having someone to learn from and bounce ideas off of is paramount to success. Learn from their mistakes and successes, so you can minimize the former and maximize the latter. Mentors have taken this path before and bring knowledge and experience to help you move forward and make smarter business decisions. They’ll also help you stay accountable and inspire you to achieve your goals.
During her 11 years as cashier and manager, Wanderstadt had the opportunity to learn about all of the services and roles at SpeeDee as she progressed through the ranks. Her job also gave her the chance to create long lasting relationships with team members and customers. When she did finally become the owner in 2006, she felt confident and prepared because of all her past experiences and ongoing commitment to learning.
Create a Name for Yourself
You might not be automatically respected in a male-dominated industry, but there is a way to earn it. By being knowledgeable about your business and excelling in customer service, you can win over any skeptic and start to make a name for yourself.
Remember that passion alone is not enough. You have to prioritize an understanding of the business – from competence in team management, finances, operations, and marketing while also placing immense value on exceptional customer service.
When Wanderstadt first stepped into the management position, she received some pushback from customers who struggled to respect her as the manager. As she continued to prove her industry knowledge and great customer service, she began to see customers and her staff respect her, and not question her expertise. She worked hard to create great relationships with her customers and now most of her referrals come in asking for her by name.
Though it may be a challenging start, the more your business begins to grow and succeed, the more respect you will receive.
Get Involved in Your Community
In a world that is filled with corporate chain stores, people love to see small businesses do well. The more they see your small business included in the community, the more likely they are to support it.
To create a long-lasting business in any industry, it is important to get involved in the community surrounding your business. This could be sponsoring the local kids’ baseball team, hosting a charity donation or drive, wearing your business logo proudly on a shirt around town, or setting up a booth at the summer carnival.
There are tons of ways to get involved in your community and it only takes a little creativity and effort. This is the true key to outlasting big chain stores that don’t make an effort to get to know the community they serve, and win the support of locals.
Utilize your Support System
Running a business by yourself can be challenging, and that is why it’s important to build a support system that you can trust and lean on. Franchising makes that part easy with the built-in support system of industry veterans ready to help with anything.
Wanderstadt credits a lot of her success to the great support system SpeeDee has given her throughout her years as a franchisee. With great franchisee support and training programs through FullSpeed University, an online training platform that has over 250 classes and certification courses, she has an endless supply of resources to help train her staff and run a successful business.
Though the automotive industry and many male-dominated trades are continuing to grow with more female entrepreneurs, there is still a lot of change that needs to come. That will only happen if more women take the risk to join these industries and change the stigma. Women can truly do anything they set out to do, and it is leaders in the industry like Wanderstadt who will inspire a future generation of entrepreneurial women.
To learn more about SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service franchise opportunities, you can visit https://speedeeoilfranchise.com.