4 Top Tips to Find Your Best Franchise Opportunity
Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters Southern Africa
- The SA franchise industry has grown its turnover by 55 percent from R465 billion in 2014, to R721 billion in 2017.
- Alongside this, the sector’s contribution to South Africa’s GDP has expanded by 62 percent, from 9.7 percent in 2014 to 15.7 percent in 2017
- The sector’s contribution to South Africa’s GDP has expanded by 62 percent, from 9.7 percent in 2014 to 15.7 percent in 2017.
- Franchising could be the answer to create more jobs, but with 865 different franchise systems active in the country last year, the huge range of choice can be confusing.
Several years of strong sectoral growth combined with business opportunities that are often backed by an investor safety net is making franchising the top choice for many who want to own their own business. This assessment is based on the strong foundations of my own experience of establishing Cash Converters nearly a quarter century ago and the recent results of Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA) annual industry survey.
The President’s recent Job Summit highlighted the critical need to reduce unemployment and boost the national economy by growing business and stimulating job creation. The franchise sector employs 369 573 people, 93 percent employed by individual franchisees rather than franchisors.
Franchising can be a win-win for franchisees. It enables you to make your dream of running your own business come true as well as contributing to providing much-needed new jobs.
These factors make franchising a particularly attractive option for those wishing to start their own business. But with 865 different franchise systems active in the country last year, the huge range of choice can be confusing.
To prevent analysis paralysis and ensure you can get set to make the most of franchising, I can offer four top tips for selecting the best franchise opportunity for you:
- Choose a credible brand: As you shortlist franchisors that appeal to you, go beyond what they tell you about themselves and find out about what people are saying about them. Do social media searches to find out how consumers are reacting to the product or service offered, pricing and customer service. Your franchise fee should buy you a halo effect thanks to your franchisor’s good reputation. Too much negativity around the brand will affect the potential success of your franchise, from your ability to attract customers and the turnover and profit you can hope to generate.
- Look for a proven business model: A worthwhile franchise shares with franchisees the intellectual property it has developed over the years. It has created and grown this business model over time, knocking off rough edges and fine-tuning systems for mistakes as they become apparent. Check the brand’s news history online as well as its own sales material. Be wary of any franchise that claims to be perfect or invincible. Nobody is – so either it has something to hide or it is fooling itself. Either way, such a brand is not keeping its eyes open to navigate the brand and its franchisees through the changing fortunes of business.
- Check the support systems: Getting relationships and systems right is vital in business success. They have become even more important since we founded Cash Converters nearly 25 years ago because the volume of legal compliance has mushroomed. Make sure that the franchises you shortlist offer you support in coping with this and that those running the brand are in touch with what happens on the ground in the franchisees’ stores. At Cash Converters, for example, our front-end support staff are in stores every day and the directors devote three days each month to visiting stores. This ensures that our expertise is available to guide the franchisees through any business issues they face.
- Follow the recipe: When you sign up with a franchisor, you receive access to its business model, including the “recipe” for running your franchise. This forms a kind of safety net so you do not need to reinvent a wheel when setting up your business. But you cannot complain that the business model does not work if you do not implement it. This is one of those times when you must follow the recipe to bake the cake successfully. If you are not the kind of person who wants to do that, then think again about whether franchising is for you.
Trading and entrepreneurial instincts are key elements of the business DNA of Cash Converters Southern Africa co-founder and managing director Richard Mukheibir. He traces his family’s lineage in small business development back more than a century to his grandfather who founded Mukheibir Brothers in Barkly East in 1897. Mukheibir co-founded Cash Converters Southern Africa with Peter Forshaw in 1994 and has now been involved with franchising for nearly a quarter of a century, thriving on its energy and the people-driven environment.
About Cash Converters
Cash Converters Southern Africa was co-founded in 1994 when Richard Mukheibir (Chief Executive Officer) and Peter Forshaw (Chief Financial Officer) bought the licence to establish a master franchise of the Australian brand, the world leader in trading and marketing second-hand goods and now the world’s largest cash and asset converter. Cash Converters Southern Africa purchases merchandise from customers, enabling them to have instant access to cash.
Since 2007, it has also offered short term loans against a customer’s valuables or against their salary. Cash Converters Southern Africa is built on a solid foundation of franchisee owner operators, guided by core values of passion, professionalism, integrity, respect and collaboration. It has already empowered nearly 100 franchisees to run their own businesses and create their own wealth. Each franchise store, in turn, provides job opportunities for an average of 12 employees, each supporting about five other people.
This network of businesses is supported by robust processes and systems and ongoing training programmes for franchisees and staff.
Dynamic growth of up to 20% per annum has created more than 84 Cash Converters stores in Southern Africa (as at 1 January 2018). These stores will have a combined annual turnover in excess of R1.7bn across all products and services in 2018.
They are part of the rapidly expanding Cash Converters International network of more than 740 stores around the world. These can be found in such diverse countries as Australia, the founding country, the United Kingdom, Singapore, New Zealand and the UAE, as well as France. Cash Converters Southern Africa was a finalist for the Franchise Association of South Africa Franchisor of the Year Awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016.