Exhibitors explain how to get a business going and list the key elements of success


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Ahead of the Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo (BOFE), exhibitors explain how to get a business going and list the key elements of success

Would-be business owners can start up their own franchise for investments as low as a few hundred rand, say exhibitors taking part in this year’s Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo (BOFE).

The Expo, set to take place at the Coca Cola dome at Northgate from 12 – 15 September, will showcase over 220 business and franchise opportunities, as well as related financial and support services. The event, now marking its 20th anniversary, is hosted in partnership with platinum sponsor Eskom, and presents the widest range of business opportunities under one roof.

Exhibitors participating in the event will offer business opportunities requiring investments of anything from as little as R350, all the way to over R2 million. Whether you’d like to be a sales associate or agent, open a coffee shop or pub, a décor shop, a car body repair service, education or beauty services or a fax, print and internet company, the Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo will highlight business opportunities suited to your skills, area and budget.

The lowest cost business opportunities on show at this year’s expo involve buying initial stock and becoming an agent, selling products such as cosmetics, household cleaners or costume jewellery. With a good network of customers, these opportunities could provide a steady income. The highest cost business opportunities are franchises for well-established restaurant and food chains with extensive experience and nationwide marketing.

When deciding between launching your own business or buying in to a franchise, there are pros and cons to both, say this year’s BOFE exhibitors. In your own business, you have the freedom to make the decisions on all aspects of the business. However, you also all take on the challenge of designing, fitting, marketing, building up contact with suppliers and managing it all yourself. With a franchise, your business has to conform to the brand’s guidelines, but support, training and marketing is usually provided.

Ahead of this year’s expo, some of the exhibitors offered their top tips for those looking to set up their own businesses or buy in to a franchise:

  • “Understand the contents of your business plan, get a qualified person to look at all your contracts, source a good administrator to assist you with the day-to-day administration and register your company for all legislated registration processes like VAT, UIF, PAYE, etc. Be conservative with your cash-flow forecasts.” – Shanduka Black Umbrellas
  • “Before you start, you should ask yourself – how much can I afford to invest, am I an entrepreneur, what are my abilities and what are my goals? You should also attend business seminars and register with entrepreneurs’ clubs.” – Johannes Mongatane, La Vita Products
  •  “Choose an industry you enjoy and feel a passion for. Do your homework; research the organisation; speak to current franchisees, and be prepared to work hard.” – Bronwyn Oliveira, Maxi’s
  •  “Make sure that it is something that you are passionate about. You will be investing a lot of time, money and human resources into this enterprise, so you need to have joy in your work.  Don’t just go for it because you are tired of working for a boss and want to be your own boss.” –  Laura Clark, Kumon Education
  • “Research the best franchises, Look for the best business profit model, Look for credible franchises with integrity, understand the financial model and understand the meaning of the contract.” – Godfrey Sono, moWash
  • “You have to be 100% confident the idea will work, be prepared to take risks, educate yourself and always seek improvement.” – Jennifer Glodik, Diva Beauty Studio
  • “When buying franchise rights, watch out for fly by nights.” – Heni Bosch, KT Shop
  •  “In a franchise, understand what a franchise is, and how the franchise system works. You should be aware of the do’s and don’ts. It is also important for the business owner to know his exclusivity rights and the franchisor and franchisee obligations.” –  Itumeleng Mpatlanyana, Spykos Fast Food
  •  “Check – is the contract legally binding?  Does it favour both parties?  What will happen to you if you do not honour the contract?” –  Getrude Maseko, Mebala Aluminium Glass and Doors
  • “All Franchise documentation should comply with the Consumer Protection Act. In addition, prospective Franchisees should investigate the status and strength of the Franchisor’s trade marks and brand.  It is highly recommended that a Franchisee obtain independent legal advice before signing a Franchise Agreement.”- De Kock Attorneys
  •  “Get the best rent deal on the best premises possible. If rentals are too high, you won’t make it.” – Basil O’ Hagan, The Brazen Head
  • “Have enough money set aside for any unforeseen circumstances, especially if it is your first or only business.” –  Amina Mabalane, Java Web Cafe
  • “It is important to have discipline, to be prepared to sell, and to have a client base to sell to.” – Manus du Toit, NLInspirations
  • “Get organised, keep detailed records, analyse the competition, stay focused, and prepare for sacrifices.” – Christopher Fox, Custom iPad Enclosures
  • “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Just because you are now the boss doesn’t mean you have to know the answer to everything. Each would-be business owner should seek independent legal and financial advice before entering any new arrangement.” – Erik Malan, Renew My Car
  • “You have to have a thick skin for business and don’t let a failed deal stop you from trying for the next.” –  Bhupesh Vala, Durashine Technologies
  •  “A proactive franchise owner should expect to see a return on investment within 24 months of operation.” – Gawie Erasmus, Scooters Pizza
  • “The lessons learned in business are hard won and most often very costly. On the other hand, franchises come with the benefit of a proven formula, extensive training, the benefit of group marketing, information on best practices, what to buy, from whom and when, and proven selling and running techniques.” –  Yvonne Pearce, Bay Tree Home and Décor
  • “Stick with it, get the right support that fits your business plan and learn as you go.” – Sindy Snow, Snow Printers

These exhibitors and dozens more will be in attendance at the expo to discuss their business opportunities and give advice to would-be business owners. Law firms and entrepreneur support organisations will also be on hand, offering guidance and information to help you get your business venture started. For more information about this event, go to www.bofe.co.za

Visitors to BOFE will benefit from participating in free entrepreneurial development workshops, including the Watt a Buzz Zone and the Standard Bank BizConnect Zone. Here, business owners will learn from, and directly interact with, some of South Africa’s most influential business experts regarding the successful running of a small business or franchise.

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