Tina Howell is a resilient entrepreneur who has learned to roll with the punches. In 1996 she launched a home health care company that she eventually merged with a competitor. After years together, the duo came to an impasse.
“In 2013, we decided that it would be best to part ways having different visions for the future of the company and methods of operations,” Howell explained. “We split the company in 2013. She kept the company’s former name and I re-branded the portion of the company I kept as Virtual Home Care Inc.”
The agency provides a variety of home health and medical services in north central Texas where Howell acts as CEO. She is also a vocational nurse, so the healthcare industry is second nature to her. She’s turned Virtual Home Care into a profitable enterprise generating $4.5 million in annual revenue.
When Howell was interested in expanding her portfolio, she looked to the world of franchising. She now is the owner of two Wing Stop franchises in Miami-Dade County, Fla. She joins an increasing number of women getting into the franchise industry. According to Franchise Direct, an online resource for franchise opportunities, 20.5 percent of franchised businesses are owned by women. With her business acumen, Howell’s two Wing Stop locations produce $3 million combined in annual revenue and she plans on adding two more locations to her resume in the near future.
Still, there are challenges with running a franchise with operating standards to abide by. Howell explained the pros and cons to franchise operation. “I enjoy the benefits of the support and existing infrastructure [as a positive element of franchises]. The aspect that can be viewed as a downside is the lack of control you have regarding branding, advertising and processes.”
Esource Franchise Coach Steven Rosenkrantz agreed that becoming an owner of a franchise can be difficult and problematic. “My advice is to first determine if you are seeking a change in your current career and life, and curious about alternative career options with desired flexibility and positive lifestyle components. Then I encourage these curious Entrepreneurial minded individuals to be open for education and explore all their options…including franchising knowledge and discovery.”
Howell warns that being a female entrepreneur or franchise owner can be tough. “Make sure that you are up for the challenge of being a women business owner in a male-dominated society,” she said.
Rosenkrantz had encouraging words for women interested in owning a business or franchise. “We are seeing a steady rise in women seeking to control their own destiny. Some feel stunted in the corporate world, are highly educated, and ready to branch out into their own business. Others are stay at home moms, the children are now grown, and they want to make their own mark with a fulfilling career path.”
Evelyn Fiske is a junior, English major, at Western New England University. She loves tackling each day with a positive attitude and lots of coffee. Evelyn hopes to one day teach English in another country, with her biggest goal being to positively effect everyone she meets.