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From Franchisee to Franchisor: The Journey of Entrepreneurial Growth

News, Articles, Success Stories and Advice on Franchising
From Franchisee to Franchisor: The Journey of Entrepreneurial Growth

From Franchisee to Franchisor: The Journey of Entrepreneurial Growth

In the dynamic landscape of business, one woman’s journey from franchisee to franchisor exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurialism and resilience. Kholofelo Nengwenda, a graduate in Geology and Oceanography from the University of Cape Town, embarked on a path that diverged from her academic roots but led to remarkable success in the franchising world. Let’s delve into her story and glean insights from her experiences, strategies, and aspirations.

The Evolution of Entrepreneurship

Kholofelo’s career trajectory wasn’t a straight line. Despite her background in geology, she found herself struggling to find fulfilment in traditional employment. It wasn’t until life circumstances nudged her towards recognising unmet needs in her community that her entrepreneurial spirit ignited. Her journey began with Household Maids and Cleaning Services, a venture born out of necessity and observation of market gaps. From there, she expanded her business into various sectors, including horticulture and gardening services, quick service restaurants with Galito’s franchises and later ventured into ink and toner supply with Cartridge Depot.

Seizing Opportunities Amidst Challenges

Despite already running successful businesses, she felt the urge to further expand and diversify her portfolio. Intrigued by the ink cartridges and toner industry, she conducted thorough research with the intention of establishing her own supply and manufacturing company in 2019. During this exploratory phase, a friend suggested a more prudent approach: learning from established players. Consequently, her friend discovered Cartridge Depot, which not only provided valuable insights but also offered franchise opportunities. Recognising the potential to leverage their expertise, she opted to become a franchisee. She stated: “I thought I could piggyback of their learnings and be a franchisee and once the agreement expires, I wanted to start my own thing”. Her entrepreneurial spirit shone through as she harboured ambitions of eventually venturing into independent endeavours once her franchise agreement expired, highlighting her inclination towards innovation and autonomy.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges for many businesses, but for Kholofelo, it became a test of resilience and adaptability. While her Cartridge Depot franchise faced setbacks due to enforced legislative closures, her cleaning business flourished as it pivoted to meet the demands for fumigation services. Through strategic diversification and a keen eye for emerging opportunities, she not only weathered the storm but emerged stronger.

From Franchisee to Franchisor: A Strategic Shift

Kholofelo’s transition from franchisee to franchisor marked a significant milestone in her entrepreneurial journey. Embracing the role with a strategic mindset, she prioritised understanding the intricacies of her newly acquired network. Rather than imposing immediate changes, she adopted a methodical approach, observing operations, and listening to stakeholders. Her focus on people and corporate sales underscores her commitment to sustainable growth and market expansion.

The network currently has 20 stores of which 18 corporate owned stores and 2 franchised stores. Kholofelo mentioned as a franchisee she made a reasonable return on investment with this franchise despite the challenges COVID-19 presented.

Funding and Acquiring a Franchise Network

Effectively managing finances has been a cornerstone of their business strategy. Leveraging a diverse portfolio of companies and services, they secure contracts and accumulate savings to fuel their expansion endeavours. Recognising the importance of financial planning, they allocate a portion of their profits over the first decade of business to be reinvested into future opportunities and arranged payment plans that benefit all parties involved. Additionally, forging strategic partnerships with Nkululeko Kevin Nondzaba (he has experience in strategy, sales, business development and IT), who is a shareholder in the business, along with strategic connections/partnerships. This partnership, coupled with their majority shareholding, forms the foundation of our funding structure, fostering a trust-based relationship. To further support our growth, they’ve utilised loans to fund ventures like our Galito’s stores, demonstrating their commitment to strategic financial management and sustainable expansion.

Lessons Learned and Advice Shared

Reflecting on her experiences, Kholofelo offers invaluable advice to aspiring franchisees and franchisors. Central to her philosophy is the importance of understanding the business intimately, being a consumer of the brand, and fostering confidence in its potential. She emphasises the need for entrepreneurs to resist the allure of novelty and instead focus on ventures they genuinely believe in and comprehend.

She stated, “As an entrepreneur, I firmly believe in investing only in businesses that I personally support as a consumer. If I haven’t patronised the business myself, I wouldn’t consider investing in it. My journey as a client with Cartridge Depot started in 2014 when I registered my first business, and I’ve been a loyal customer of Galito’s since 2012 when I moved to Gauteng. This principle guides my investment decisions, ensuring that my ventures align with my values and preferences.”

Managing Multifaceted Ventures: The Key to Success

Balancing multiple businesses requires astute management and a capable team. Kholofelo’s approach revolves around empowering operators within her organisation, nurturing them to take ownership and drive success across divisions and stores. By delegating responsibilities and cultivating a culture of accountability, she ensures sustainable growth and scalability.

Looking Ahead: A Vision for Growth

As Kholofelo steers her businesses towards the future, her vision is clear: to consolidate her presence in the franchising landscape and expand her network strategically. With plans to open additional stores and tap into the corporate sector, she envisions a trajectory of sustained growth and profitability.

In Conclusion

Kholofelo’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of entrepreneurship, resilience, and strategic foresight. As she navigates the complexities of the franchising world, her story serves as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned business leaders alike. In an ever-evolving business landscape, her tale underscores the enduring principles of vision, adaptability, and unwavering commitment to excellence.

Interested in Cartridge Depot and complimentary collaborations with the brand, such as delivery services visit their website or contact them to find out more.

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