Women are Tough Enough to Own a Franchise
Franchises can empower women in many ways and contribute to community development, but franchisors will do well to take note of the fact that women empowerment must also happen at the home of the franchise, says Richard Mukheibir, Managing Director of Cash Converters. He has seen women take on the challenge to become franchise owners in the past two decades, turning the theory that women are not tough enough to own a business in the second-hand category on its head.
“Working to change the male-dominated environment to make space for women and empower them in the business world, we were also aware that our own staff, at head office, was predominantly male. If we wanted to empower women outside the business, we also had to empower them from the inside. We had to attract women to our business and help them to thrive.”
And thrive they did. Various studies of women in business have found that they are loyal, conscientious, full of initiative, display a high standard of workmanship and deliver work of good quality. Women also care about social values and non-monetary measures of achievement and success. More than money, they are after personal fulfilment and good relationships and they care about product quality, personal enjoyment and helping others.
“This sounds like the attributes of the ideal employee and this is indeed what we found. Under women’s hands our business has thrived,” Mukheibir says. “Our rebranding was done by a woman. Our group financial manager is a woman. Our training and development manager is a woman. Our site selection and property manager is a woman. Our store build project manager is a woman. Two of our regions are run by women, and all three departments (including collections) in our personal finance division are headed by women. In a world where women make most of the decisions about where money is spent, it is important to ask the experts: the women,” he explains.
This group of women changed the way of the business. “They used their initiative to rebrand our stores to bring our corporate identity and store design in line with our Australian principal. Our financial manager makes sure that our financial tools, management accounts and business intelligence systems are running smoothly, while we have our own training and development department to assist employees as well as franchisees to further their knowledge and careers, and to ensure that the entire network lives our values daily,” Mukheibir says.
Mentoring has also been proven as a valuable tool to develop entrepreneurs and staff. “Women have proven themselves to be excellent at keeping the momentum going with mentoring and I can say that I have seen it work in our business. They have great people skills and they are good listeners, with the ability to hear what is going on in the background.”
Mukheibir says it is important to remember the spirit of Women’s Day. “It is one thing to turn it into a commercial event and something completely different to live it every day – to empower the women around you in business so that they can go on to empower others.”
About Cash Converters
Cash Converters Southern Africa was co-founded in 1994 when Richard Mukheibir (Managing Director) and Peter Forshaw (Financial Director) bought the licence to establish a master franchise of the Australian brand, the world leader in trading and marketing second-hand goods and now the world’s largest cash and asset converter. Cash Converters Southern Africa purchases merchandise from customers, enabling them to have instant access to cash. Since 2007, it has also offered short term loans against a customer’s valuables or against their salary. Cash Converters Southern Africa is built on a solid foundation of franchisee owner operators, guided by core values of passion, professionalism, integrity, respect and collaboration. It has already empowered nearly 100 franchisees to run their own businesses and create their own wealth. Each franchise store, in turn, provides job opportunities for an average of 12 employees, each supporting about five other people. This network of businesses is supported by robust processes and systems and ongoing training programmes for franchisees and staff.
Dynamic growth of up to 20% per annum has created more than 80 Cash Converters franchise stores in Southern Africa (as at 1 July 2017). These stores process over 2.2 million transactions a year and have a combined annual turnover in excess of R1.2bn across all products and services.
They are part of the rapidly expanding Cash Converters International network of more than 700 stores around the world. These can be found in such diverse countries as Australia, the founding country, the United Kingdom, Thailand, New Zealand and the UAE, as well as South Africa. Cash Converters Southern Africa was a finalist for the Franchise Association of South Africa Franchisor of the Year Awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016.Click here to find out more about owning a Cash Converters franchise