Nelson Correia, Cash Converters Mitchells Plain Franchisee
THE LEAP FROM EMPLOYEE TO EMPLOYER – ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH?
Name: Nelson Correia
Franchise name: Cash Converters Southern Africa
Location: Mitchells Plain
Taking the leap from full employment to franchising is a huge decision that requires bravery, capital, a strong support system, and, most importantly, an in-depth knowledge of the brand you’re buying into.
For those brave enough to make the transition the rewards are plentiful – Nelson Correia, Owner of the Mitchells Plain Cash Converters is a case in point.
Tell us about your franchising journey? How did it all start?
I spent most of my career at Cash Converters. I started as a cleaner at a Cash Converters franchise in the UK. Like most young South Africans, I headed over to London for a working holiday when I was just 22. I already had some work experience, with management roles at Verimark and Glomail, but when I arrived in the UK, I took any opportunity that presented itself to me.
It wasn’t long before I got the job as a cleaner in a Cash Converters franchise.
Within four months I moved into a sales job and then a management role in up to six different stores in the region.
What was your success factor?
“I started selling our second-hand goods online on eBay and we quickly started seeing the growth in profit. I worked closely with the IT Development team from the Australia head office to develop a Cash Converters selling platform which was similar to the eBay operation. In just a few years, every single Cash Converters store in the UK was selling their products online.”
When you returned to South Africa did you plan on buying a Cash Converters franchise?
“I always knew that I would ultimately end up owning my own Cash Converters franchise, but taking up a position as Cash Converters Southern Africa National Training Manager before becoming an award-winning National Operations Manager was a natural progression which gave me valuable insight and experience. I took the role at head office because I knew it would be a great stepping stone from a career perspective and I would get the in-depth knowledge I wanted before starting my own franchise,”
“From head office, I could get a bird’s eye view of the franchise and this perspective helped me to better understand what needed to be done to create a really successful outlet. It’s imperative that store-owners follow the franchise model; however, sometimes franchisees find it difficult to take the advice. My biggest challenge was convincing franchisees to follow the best practices, not to worry about the little things and to rather look at the big picture.”
In 2013 you bought the Mitchells plain store – tell us about your success?
All new franchisees receive intensive training and by applying these management techniques and following the franchise model, I saw the business grow by 65% and doubled the staff compliment from nine to 18 in a short period of time. It is currently one of the top three Cash Converters stores in the financial services category and features in the top 20 in the Retail and Pawn Broking categories. The Mitchells Plain store is now also the training store for the region, helping new franchisees understand how to apply the model to ensure success in their own stores.
Does technology play a role in building your business? How have you kept up with the increasing need for technological development?
Cash Converters Southern Africa is in the process of developing an online commerce solution, however I already sell previously used items through platforms such as Gumtree, OLX and Bid or Buy. “The model works really well because while South Africans might be nervous to purchase goods online, they’re comforted once they see the Cash Converters logo. They know that most of our goods come with a six month guarantee and if there’s a problem they know exactly where and how to sort out the issue. The move has also helped grow reach, attracting customers from other areas of Cape Town, many of whom end up being repeat customers.
I always knew I would take the leap from employment to franchising and although it is hard work and the hours are sometimes long, I enjoy being able to focus on growing my own store, instead of focussing on a region, for example. In the next period, I will be looking at expanding this store and eventually opening more stores.
What advice would you give to aspiring franchise owners?
“If you’re looking to becoming a franchisee, my biggest piece of advice is to ensure that you’re hands on, become an owner operator. Remember, if you stick to the efficiencies of the brand’s best practice, you will get results!”