Local entrepreneurs are behind some of the country’s most iconic franchise brands in the country. The good news is 92% of all franchise concepts in South Africa are home grown, this includes popular Portuguese restaurant Nandos, braaied meat fast-food restaurant, Chesanyama, and even the luxury spa shop Sorbet.
Many brands have embraced the franchise model strategy, and many have tried and failed. To find out the secrets of those that have succeeded, we turn to the founders of some of the country’s most successful franchise brands.
Here are some of our favourite quotes from franchising leaders.
Find the right reasons – “You don’t go into business to make money. You go into business to serve people and if you can then serve them well you will make lots and lots of money.”
No quick money – “People (potential franchisees) have to buy into the business concept from the word go. The franchisees who are in it to make a “quick buck” always do your brand more damage than good, and one then has to work twice as hard to fix it.”
A shared vision – “Taking the slower approach, waiting for the “right” franchisee who shares in your vision, always results in success. We are now much stricter with regards to potential franchisees. We ensure a culture and business fit before anyone signs on.”
Choose carefully – “Be very selective in your franchisees. Only let people join your business who are as passionate as you are – teach them and invest in them. Don’t be tempted to grow too quickly. The old saying “easy come, easy go” is very relevant in franchising. Take the “tortoise” approach, rather than the “hare”, as I can guarantee it will be more rewarding that way.”
Import potential – “There [are] so many new things coming out in South Africa everyday, but also there is so much happening in the rest of the world that hasn’t yet been done in South Africa.”
For the love – “For some people it’s a money-making scheme, but you have to love your business enough to see it work and see yourself working hard for it”.
Never give up – “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming”.
Start small – “We never got tons of money to start Nando’s … it was done trench by trench, we had to duck and dive.”
Don’t fear failure – “More often than not people are not afraid of failing itself, it’s actually what comes with it – the negative stigma, the loss of income. But we need to fail more – if you do more, the chance of failure is more but the chance of success is more as well.”
Global focus – “We need to think global but act local, because those are where the opportunities lie.”
You are the brand – “As an entrepreneur every single time you open your mouth, you are presenting yourself, your brand, your company, your ideas, your vision.”
Embrace failure – “I think my many failures in the past really assisted me in fine-tuning the vision I had.”
It’s about the people – “You have to value the people around you, mentor them, learn from them, be inspired by those below you, because that is part of the journey and that’s what should be more important than money, because when you have those values, you start appreciating different aspects of being an entrepreneur and a business person, and the business becomes more successful. The only part that you have to fixate on with regards to the money side of business is balancing the books.”
Quality matters – “Okay is not good enough. In business, you’re either the best or you can get out. You really need to live quality.”
Listen to your customers – “Many brands ignore that customers want healthy products and they’re focused on what they put into their bodies. Customers are not stupid.”
Get your culture right – “If I [had to choose] a personal claim to fame going forward, I would definitely like to be known for creating a great culture in the company. That I think to me would be something I could be really proud of.”
Choose the right partners – [It’s important to] have a big growth vision to partner with people who do not just put the money in, but also facilitate the platform for you to grow. It’s not an easy thing. The right partnerships and growth [is key]”
Share the pie – “I’d rather own one percent of a massive thing than a 100 percent of something very small. For me, I know my product is bigger than me, I know I don’t have all the tools to expand internationally so I need to rely heavily on people who have done it in the past, while I’m still growing and learning.”
Take care of yourself – “I think having an outlet is important, whether that’s screaming in a dark room in a fetal position. No, an outlet like a sport or a type of physical activity. Routine is very important too, have a specific routine that you do everyday. I’m terrible at it. I am working hard [at it], but routine is very important. Third thing is wake up before everyone else so you have more time in a day to perfect what you want to perfect in that industry.”
A working model – “Franchising is a fantastic method for raising capital and employing dedicated, passionate and motivated management (franchisees) to grow a business concept quickly and effectively.”