When Tien Stafidas looks back on her career before franchising, she remembers what motivated her decision to forego a job and start a business. “Before Dream Doors, I worked in sales for a tech company and had just had my second child. I just knew I needed to find something that would give me more work/life balance. Plus, after having worked for others for so long, I thought it was about time I did my own venture”. Stafidas is now a successful Dream Doors franchisee in South Sydney, Australia, a leading kitchen design and remodeling franchise.
Though franchising is popular among both sexes, women in particular seek that all important balance between caring for the family and also wanting to be involved building a business of their own, and franchising has increasingly been the vehicle they choose to get there. Statistics reveal that women will only continue to have a dramatic impact on business. Based on The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute's projection, women-owned small businesses will generate more than half of the estimated 9.72 million new small business jobs ahead, and roughly one-third of the 15.3 million total new jobs anticipated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics by 2018.
A typical day for Stafidas is “Waking up, getting the kids out the door and off to school and then I’m in the office by around 9:30. I’m with my staff for about 2 hours before I go off to do quotes. And then I’m back to pick up the kids around 3:30. Sometimes I take the kids to the showroom for about an hour. But for me, it’s a good balance in terms of family and running a business of my own.”
When asked about being a woman in the male-dominated kitchen remodeling business, Stafidas is confident. “The majority of the decisions made about the home are made by the woman of the house. My being a woman gives me an insight many of my male competitors simply don’t have. Plus, I have the back up support from my franchisor. Their award winning systems and marketing go far beyond anything I could have invented on my own. Being able to get out there and sell something that you know is a valued proposition for the person you’re talking to – usually a woman – I think that is the best part of the business.”
Dream Doors is now entering the US market as EatGatherLove. The name change reflects how their customers felt after their remodels – they were impressed at how much they were enjoying having friends over for informal dinners again. It was this kind of satisfaction that told Stafidas she was on the right track with her decision. “Becoming a Dream Doors franchise owner was definitely the right decision for me. I have unlimited earnings potential, flexible hours that work around my busy family and I take great satisfaction in knowing I’m providing my customers something in excess of what they pay me.”
When asked if she’s happy with her decision, she puts it this way – “I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s no regrets at all. I think that the reason why that is, is because I made small goals along the way, and making those small goals and achieving them has actually helped me to keep going and continue. I just continue making more goals and trying to achieve those.”
Sounds like she’s on the right track.