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Franchisee or Entrepreneur?

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Franchisee or Entrepreneur?

Franchisee or Entrepreneur?

Richard Mukheibir Pix for CFPR and Cash Converters in August 2014 by Jeremy GlynBy Richard Mukheibir, MD of Cash Converters

It is fundamental that when you choose to go either the entrepreneur or franchise route, you do so fully aware of how comfortably you fit into either business model.

There are major differences between the entrepreneur and the franchisee. Recognising them and working with them will prevent you from setting yourself up for failure.

The Entrepreneur

Starts a business completely at his or her own risk, risks include the following:

  • Financial,
  • intellectual and
  • emotional

Things you’re putting on the line when becoming an entrepreneur:

  • Your starting capital,
  • Your potential profits,
  • The viability of your ideas and planning,
  • Your skills in managing people,
  • Securing sales and
  • Relating to customers and
  • Even your relationships with family and friends.

But you have chosen to be an entrepreneur because you want the personal thrill of making yourself known to your target market and building up a name for yourself and your business.

You’ll recognise yourself as an entrepreneur if you can implement innovations or your own methods of problem solving whenever you see fit. Your bottom line is that you want to control every aspect of whether your business sinks or swims.

The Franchisee

  • A franchisee is reassured by buying into a proven business model
  • Franchising is an opportunity for beginner owner-operators to learn and build from
  • A franchisee is backed by an established name and target market, while using the franchise’s knowledge of how their business operates within its market.

Limiting the risk

If you prefer to limit your risk more, you are likely to enjoy being a franchisee. This is the opportunity to use a franchise’s foundation of knowhow, from accounting to marketing, to build a business for yourself but not completely by yourself. You would enjoy the security of a franchise’s business framework, whereas an entrepreneur wants to devise and build that framework for him/herself.

If you are a natural franchisee, the thought that entrepreneurial new businesses fail at the rate of about seven out of every 10 gives you sleepless nights. Instead, buying into a proven business model reassures franchisee personalities. It reduces risks to within your comfort zone and increases your chances of being successful.

How an entrepreneur sees a franchise

Entrepreneurs will see a franchise as imprisoning his or her creative business vision and will kick against it.

Entrepreneurs value the freedom to make their business dreams come true over the security of working within a franchise. If they find themselves in a franchise environment, they are likely to wreck it themselves.

How a franchisee sees a franchise

Successful franchisees are happier following a franchise’s proven methods, developing their new business step by step in accordance with the franchisor’s guidelines.

90% of new franchisees succeed thanks to the support of an established business model, brand and the market knowledge that is part and parcel of a franchise.

The franchise business model

The Cash Converters model, for example, works best with franchisees who are hands on, have good people skills and some entrepreneurial flair for sourcing and marketing stock.

A franchise’s business model is what you are paying for when you buy a franchise and it is what makes you as a franchisee more likely to succeed than if you started your own business from scratch.

So, before you invest:

  • Make sure that the franchise does indeed have a business model which it can prove is successful.
  • Ideally, you should select a franchise from among the top two in the industry in which it operates, which will allow you to capitalise on the brand’s success and on how well known it is.

The franchise’s model should be based on years of experience of the business evolving within market and economic conditions.

Get value for your money

Make the most of the support you have bought from them as part of your franchise fee. This will include aspects such as:

  • Good deals with suppliers,
  • Centralised buying power,
  • Tried-and tested business process,
  • Well-honed administrative procedures and
  • General business assistance, including what you need to do to comply with current legal and taxation requirements.


Whichever route you choose, it is vital to work hard and always believe in your business.

Cash Converters Logo

“Since Peter Forshaw and I co-founded Cash Converters in Southern Africa in 1994, we have been unapologetic about our mission to turn SA pawn broking into a slick, 21st-century business that brings benefits to franchisees and customers alike. Whether you choose to be an independent entrepreneur or to build your business within the greater security of a franchise, belief in the need for your business and its product, as well as belief in your understanding of the market around you, will be key factors in your success.”

You can be too much of an entrepreneur to be an effective franchisee – and you can be too much of a franchisee at heart to be an effective entrepreneur. Make sure you know which one applies to you before you risk your hard-earned capital.

Richard Mukheibir co-founded Cash Converters and personally opened its initial pilot store at Parow in the Cape. The franchise now extends to 75 stores across Southern Africa. Cash Converters was a finalist for the Franchise Association of Southern Africa Franchise of the Year Award in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

To apply for a Cash Converters franchise, click here

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