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Showing posts from October, 2012

Sustainable funding options for small business

Access to funding is deemed to be the key limiting factor resulting in slow growth within the small business sector.

By Kobus Oosthuizen

Why is it then, that despite the large number of preferential lending options available from both governmental and non-governmental institutions, sustainable small business growth is not conforming to our expectations?

With the high failure rate amongst small enterprises, funders are hesitant to proceed unless the underlying causes can be addressed. The answer is vested not only in the access to suitable funding structures, but also in the availability and affordability of business skills training, coaching and operational support.

Appreciating the fact that entrepreneur assessment and operational support has a big part to play, for the purpose of this article we focus on the issue of gearing, the related cost of capital and the effect thereof on the cash flow of a business.

Funding, and the optimum structure thereof, remains a pertinent element of e…

The importance of competitor analysis for franchises

Marketing is the process of finding out what consumers want, and then providing it for them. However, meeting the needs of customers alone is not enough to guarantee success. The real challenge for franchises is the ability to satisfy customer needs better than their competitors.

By Gerhard van Wyk

Effective competitor analysis starts with answering the following questions (Jooste et al, (2009)):

Know your competition – who are your present and potential competitors?

Although the answer to this question might seem straightforward, it is often more complex than it first appears. Franchises must consider that competitors don’t always offer the same or similar products or services and that what you are really competing for, is available customer spend. Airtime or Ice Cream?- this is but one example of two totally unrelated products that compete for the same available customer spend.

Analyse strategic groups - what positions have your competitors established in the market?

Competitors can i…

Important considerations for new franchisees

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While franchising is an exciting business venture for up-and-coming entrepreneurs, there are many areas that prospective franchisees should be aware of to ensure long term success. Sally J’Arlette-Joy, CEO of the highly successful Sandwich Baron franchise, elaborates.
For any aspiring businessperson, franchising presents an enticing and lucrative opportunity to dip their toes into the business world. The industry itself is developing and growing at a rapid rate, and it is visibly apparent that this sector is a viable business option that can offer significant returns.
However, before acquiring ownership, franchisees should distance themselves from certain misguided perceptions, which they might have about the industry so that they have a clear head when making important decisions.
One of the most common notions is that buying a franchise with an established brand is a guarantee of financial triumph, and therefore doesn’t require consistent hands-on involvement.
On the contrary, whilst a …

Col’Cacchio pizzeria Montecasino Now open!

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The Col’Cacchio pizzeria family just got bigger – with the addition of two new restaurants in Montecasino, Fourways, Johannesburg. Montecasino is Gauteng’s top entertainment destination, with with an array of shopping, gaming, theatres and dining options, you’ll now be even more spoilt for choice with the inclusion of Col’Cacchio pizzeria.

Col’Cacchio pizzeria and Montecasino are a perfect combination, says Steve Howell, General Manager of Montecasino. The addition of this establishment fits in so well with Montecasinos intention to provide memorable dining experiences with offerings for all patrons and taste preferences. Col’Cacchio pizzeria is a truly innovative brand that offers a special menu and signature pizzas created by talented chefs.

Dine at Col’Cacchio pizzeria Montecasino and experience Italian inspired food at it’s best. Or simply get it to go – they do take aways too! Mio Col’Cacchio pizzeria is an express store for people with discerning palates convenitently situated i…

Climbing Sandwich Baron’s ladder to success

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A Sandwich Baron employee’s rapid ascent from a delivery driver position into a managerial role in just three years proves that the franchise has the appropriate business model to help aspirant entrepreneurs climb the ladder to success.

Sandile “Sipho” Mhlongo begun employment in 2009 as a delivery driver at the company’s first store in Alberton North and recently took over as the store manager of Sandwich Baron Northcliff.

Due to his great passion for customer service, Mhlongo underwent an apprenticeship at Sandwich Baron’s training centre in October 2011.  Having gained a better understanding of Sandwich Baron’s product and the process of handling orders, he then progressed to a cashier’s position. Starting at the bottom of the corporate ladder, Mhlongo continued to learn the ins and outs of the business, before grabbing the opportunity to apply for the manager position at Northcliff.

Sandwich Baron’s Managing Director, Sally J’Arlette-Joy notes that Mhlongo’s impressive career adv…

Accelerate your business by committing to a culture of continuous learning

When it comes to your business, would you say your knowledge is half-full or half-empty?

By Carl Bates

In this case, being half-empty is a good thing. It shows that you are open to learning something new and seeing your business from a different perspective. Being half-full may be an indication that it is time for you to move on. Without fully embracing that there is always something new to learn, your business will not have the forward momentum needed for extreme business success.
The Law of Continuous Learning, the third law from my book The Laws of Extreme Business Success, focuses on the role continuous learning and improvement plays in your business. Too often I have observed business owners, especially when the business was founded on their knowledge, having the mind-set that they know their field and business so well that there is nothing left to learn. They would balk at the thought of an external consultant coming into their business and providing expertise and guidance, or e…

Online Reputation Management

In its simplest form, Online Reputation Management (ORM) is “the result of what you do, what you say, and what other people say about you”. How are you managing your reputation, and the reputation of your brand, online?

By Francois Muscat

Being the number one person or company in your industry means that you will need to create and publish content online. You simply cannot be a thought leader if you are not creating content. But what happens when your customers, employees and old business acquaintances, or anyone really, is also publishing content about you? How are you managing your reputation, and the reputation of your brand, online?

ORM is important because it has a direct impact on the image of your company. People want to trust the companies they are supporting, so a positive reputation can have a direct impact on your bottom line.

Listening, Engaging and Measuring

A robust ORM process is all about listening, engaging and measuring. Before you kick-start any type of internet mark…

Alternative funding sought when banks decline business loans

With the latest employer figures revealing a decline in the number of self-employed individuals – from 1 281 000 in the beginning of 2008, to 1 243 000 in the second quarter of 2012 – it is clear that entrepreneurs are experiencing more and more difficulties in getting their businesses off the ground.

David Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Retail Capital – a business cash advance provider – believes that small business entrepreneurs are a massively underserved segment in the South African banking and credit environment. “In recent times, the 'credit crunch' and the associated bank liquidity problems have resulted in banks becoming far more conservative in lending policies which has increased overall decline rates. Some banks have exited entirely from specific small business market segments that are perceived as 'higher risk'. In short, the business need for working capital has increased, but the availability and accessibility of credit has reduced.”

Retail Capital re…

Returns Policies and the CPA

Many retailers have standard policies that deal with returns and repairs relating to defective products. Some of these policies may have been drafted long ago and have possibly become outdated due to changing legislation.
By Danie Strachan

Amongst the provisions contained in the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) are standard warranties for goods supplied as well as remedies for consumers who purchased goods that do not comply with the warranties. These provisions have a direct impact retailer’s returns policies and since the CPA came into effect on 1 April 2011 there has been some confusion as to when consumers may return goods to suppliers, or request refunds or replacements.
Prescribed warranties

The CPA prescribes four warranties for products (in Section 55). These warranties constitute standards with which all products supplied must comply.

Suppliers must warrant that their goods:

- are reasonably suitable for the purposes for which they are generally intended;
- are of good quality, i…

THE SELLER’S DUE DILIGENCE

Historically, due diligence investigations were carried out by the buyer on the seller, however, times they are a changing and perhaps it is time to embrace a philosophy of “let the seller be cautious” along with “let the buyer beware”.

By Bob Power

Resulting from the changing dynamics in our country and the substantial increase in the number of SME businesses being bought and sold, it increasingly occurs that the buyer is unable to raise the necessary funds to conclude the transaction and/or knows very little about the business he wants to buy.

In embracing the “let the seller be cautious” philosophy it is advisable for a seller to exercise control during the transaction and due diligence investigation for the following reasons:

• The seller is disclosing sensitive information to the buyer. What if the buyer is fishing?
• The process takes up much of the seller’s management’s time.
• With no established date for completion the buyer may drag the process out indefinitely.

As only aroun…

Scooters Pizza franchisee shares his recipe for success

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Scooters Pizza’s multiple Port Elizabeth store owner, Glen van Rooyen has undeniably proven that business ambition is only as limited as the extent of one’s dreams.

Since May 2012, van Rooyen has been the proud owner of four of Scooters Pizza’s six Eastern Cape stores, namely the Newton Park, Uitenhage, Walker Drive and Fig Tree outlets and is set to open a fifth store in Port Elizabeth early 2013.

van Rooyen’s four outlets were the first of 137 stores nationwide to be revamped with Scooters Pizza’s contemporary, fresh and trendy new branding. He notes that the new look and feel has increased staff morale, and provided customers with a vastly improved customer experience.

“We have been able to provide significant enhancements to our already great products, such as visibility and greater consumer appeal, which have been supported by the more upmarket rebrand and menu changes. Without exception, customer feedback relating to these adjustments has been extremely positive, paying tribute …

Scooters Pizza franchisee has a taste for franchising

Having proven that he has the necessary ingredients for a successful franchising recipe, Northern Cape’s multiple franchise owner, Johan Lamprecht recently launched his third Scooters Pizza outlet, this time in Postmasburg.

Lamprecht has already achieved notable results through his ownership of Scooters Pizza Kuruman, located at the Caltex on Main Street and Scooters Pizza Kathu, located at Kathu Village Mall, which opened in November 2010 and June 2011 respectively.

He notes that the Kuruman outlet has largely monopolised the local market, while the Kathu outlet continues to thrive, which resulted in the latter winning Newcomer of the Year at Scooters Pizza’s Operational Awards.

Lamprecht asserts that he is confident of similar results for Scooters Pizza Postmasburg.

“I firmly believe that the store will become the preferred take away outlet for the Postmasburg community, and that customers won’t be able to resist Scooters Pizza’s slice of the good life, which is complimented by i…

Formulating Your Franchise Expansion Plan

You have assessed the feasibility of your proposed expansion and the numbers are stacking up. Now it is time to start formalizing your expansion plan by delving into the nuts and bolts of your franchise.

By Lindy Barbour

In this segment of our franchise development series we provide a guideline as to the information to be covered in the franchisor’s expansion plan. Albeit the expansion of a proven business format, a franchise expansion is the inception of a new business and the franchise expansion plan can also be regarded as the business plan of the franchisor.
Always remember that there is no easy route to anywhere worth going and starting out with a solid foundation is key. The franchisor must be willing to commit the necessary resources, be it time, money or expertise, to ensure that the business plan is sound before offering it to third parties.

One of the biggest pitfalls in franchising, in South Africa and around the world, is the misalignment of expectations. To avoid this commo…

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF AN ENTREPRENEUR

Advice on franchising by Pieter Scholtz, Master Licensee for ActionCOACH SA. ActionCOACH is one of the fastest growing and most successful business coaching franchises in the world today.

There are certain traits that are common to all successful entrepreneurs. Here we explore ten of those traits without which most people will fall short of what it takes to succeed in a franchise.

1) ConfidenceConfidence is a hallmark of an entrepreneur. We are not all born confident, but that does not mean we are not capable of it. Many confident people gain their sense of self esteem and faith in their ability to meet challenges by acting.

2) Communication skillsTrue entrepreneurs recognize that the most important element of any business is the human element. Human resources, whether referring to clients, employees or strategic partners, are what makes or breaks a business. Communication is the key to successful relationships and whether it is written, spoken, or the non-verbal messages conveyed throu…

FNB takes first steps towards making merchant services more mobile

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Johannesburg, 2 October 2012 – First National Bank today announced that it is working towards introducing an exciting new mobile payment device to its merchant services offering in the coming months.  The announcement follows the conclusion of an agreement between the bank and mPowa, the first company to introduce this technology in the United Kingdom.

mPowa works by using a free mobile phone app and a reader which connects to a smartphone or mobile device by plugging into its headphone socket or connecting via Bluetooth. It enables companies and individuals to accept card payments from their customers on the go in a quick and convenient way. The mobile app is free to download on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows and Blackberry devices and functions as the control centre that accepts the payment.

The agreement will involve First National Bank embedding the mPowa tools and software into FNB’s own merchant services, which will enable them to tailor the look and identity of the card servic…