The Franchising Craze – Entrepreneurship Made Accessible for Women
by: Lindsey Coffelt, Owner, Graze Craze Okemos, Michigan
When I decided to start my own business, I started researching business models and found franchising to be the most effective way to get up and running. We discovered Graze Craze while doing our research and instantly fell in love with the concept. Graze Craze is a unique business model based on charcuterie, the creative arrangement of meats, cheeses, fruits, and dessert items on an attractive board. Graze Craze is leading a nationwide food trend known as “grazing” by offering charcuterie-style grazing boxes for personal snacking or larger social gatherings. The grazing style allows people to enjoy small portions of food during the day or at special events.
Once we decided to invest, I learned some key lessons during my franchising adventure.
1. There’s Help Along the Way
My husband, Silas, and I did not have any experience or knowledge in this industry, but franchising provides a built-in support system and a framework that helps you get your business up and running. It’s one thing to know about a trend and a whole other thing to know how to make it a business. We’re incredibly grateful for Graze Craze because they lay out all the processes and structure for you. A franchisee’s role is to execute the ideas they’ve provided – which are really thoughtful, efficient, and fun!
2. Find a Mentor & Be a Mentor
Franchising gives you access to a variety of inspirational female role models, and it also gives you the opportunity to help others. I fully believe that once you get to where you want to be, it’s important to turn around and help the next person in line. I apply this to all aspects of my life and feel this sentiment strongly among all the women I’ve met on my franchising journey. Find a mentor and be a mentor.
3. Be Prepared to Wear a Lot of Hats
I’ve owned the Okemos Graze Craze for about a year. I oversee all administration, marketing, sales, accounting, and human resources for the business. It’s hard work, but if you invest your time and energy in the right places, it truly pays off. I was very proud to receive the Social Media Presence Award at the annual Graze Craze Brand Expo. To be recognized in just my first year of ownership – that really blew my hair back. I am proud of my work marketing our location, and what an honor to be recognized by so many other marketing professionals!
4. Ensure Your Loved Ones are on Board
Besides the team at Graze Craze, my husband Silas has made the most impact on my journey. He trusted me and my research, business experience, and decision-making to move forward with a franchise model.
5. The Future of Franchising Looks Bright
The future of franchising looks excellent. More people that have an established career are exploring the idea of entrepreneurship and this model gives them a variety of industries to choose from and a road map of how to get set up and going.
I’d advise anyone thinking about going into a franchise to do it – especially women. We hear a lot today about the wage gap, the difference between what men and women earn at the same job. Franchising puts us on a level playing field; there is no wage gap in franchise business ownership. It’s all up to you and what you make of it. Owning your own business gives you freedom and the ability to control your future. It also gives you a lot of responsibility that can be overwhelming, but with hard work and a support system, you can make it a fulfilling career for years to come.
Lindsey Coffelt is Co-Owner of Graze Craze in Okemos, MI, a franchise that delivers a customized, artful style to catered charcuterie boards for their customers. Coffelt is using her vast administrative and marketing experience to promote and manage her new venture while remaining committed to her full-time work. She is a side-hustler who still finds time for her community!
Coffelt is a member of the National Association of Home Builders – Professional Women in Building Council, Eaton Rapids Art Council committee member, and animal foster volunteer with Capital Area Humane Society.
Read more inspiring stories from Women in Franchising
According to research by Guidant Financial, it’s estimated that women account for approximately 31% of all small businesses and franchise ownership in the U.S. A third of these have successfully owned and operated their businesses for 10 years or longer. Get to know some inspiring women in franchising on She Owns It: The Franchising Craze – Entrepreneurship Made Accessible for Women with Lindsey Coffelt, Owner, Graze Craze Okemos, Michigan and Why Women Should JUMP into Franchise Ownership – The Benefits of Joining a Franchise with Wendy Graves – Franchise Co-owner, Signarama Louisville East, Kentucky and From Nurse to Franchisee – Why I Made the Biggest Pivot in My Career from Kristine Ellis, Owner/Operator, The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill Bend, Oregon.