Women in a man’s world


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Ann-Baker-and-Elzabe
WilcoteName: Ann Baker and Elzabe le Roux
Location: Nelspruit
Franchise: Wilcote Mpumalanga
  
Why I chose franchising
It was a way of owning your own business but with the back up of a “Head Office” for help and advice. It was also a way of being part of the network and greater whole which we thought was an advantage over starting a business alone.
 
What I did before taking up a franchise
Ann was the National Sales Manager at a large insurance Company in Johannesburg.
Elzabe who is an accountant by profession was a partner in an accounting practice.
 
How I raised the finance
Ann was retrenched and we used the money from her package to buy WIilcote so were lucky enough to be able to pay cash for our franchise.
 
The training and support I receive from my franchisor
We spent 3 weeks in Ballito with Will Rogers and also visited the other Franchises in the area. We found the training to be invaluable and could not have started off without it, However, training cannot do it all, we have made a lot of mistakes and learned from those. No matter how much you learn on training there are still “school fees” to be paid. We have always received excellent support from the Franchisor who are diligent about being available to offer advice and assistance.
The challenges I have faced
The challenges were enormous especially given the fact that neither of us had ANY experience on the building industry at all. The other major challenge was being two women in what is still largely a male dominated industry. Gaining credibility has been difficult amongst the local contractors.
 
My advice to someone thinking of buying their first franchise
 
Don’t make a hasty decision, take time weighing up the pro’s and con’s, there are a lot of things to consider. Take time to evaluate the business and what you have to contribute in terms of knowledge and skills to make the business a success. It is really worthwhile to do a proper business plan before making the final decision to buy. You need to know your marketing strategy and how you will go about bringing in business before you start otherwise you will grope around in the dark and waste a lot of time in those first few months. There is no more pay cheque at the end of the month so you have to start earning from day one.
Be totally honest with yourself, is this really what you want to do and are you committed enough to stay the distance. This business great but it is not an easy way to make a buck, it is really hard work.
MOST IMPORTANTLY FOLLOW THE BUSINESS MODEL PROVIDED BY THE FRANCHISOR IT WORKS. We made the mistake of not doing what we were advised to do to the letter from the beginning and we paid the price for that.
 
My plans for the future
Our immediate goal is to become the service provider of choice in the Nelspruit and White River areas by the end of 2012. We then hope to expand into the Limpopo region.

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