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How Body20 Moves Their Franchisees In The Direction Of Success

Nivi Kassiram abandoned the corporate life for a career in health and fitness by investing in a Body20 franchise. She never looked back.

Entrepreneur

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Nivi Kassiram, owner of Body20 Atholl Square in Sandton, left behind her career in finance to focus on being a new mom. Little did she know that this decision would lead her into a venture that would enrich her physically, financially and emotionally.

“After I had my baby I struggled to lose the weight,” she says. “I attended a Body20 trial session. I was new to the concept and curious to try it.”

Nivi loved the experience, but she saw something bigger than simply meeting her weight-loss goals — she saw a business opportunity. A franchise gave Nivi a way to join an established brand with proven systems, while still owning her own business.

“My husband and business partner, Priyesh, who is a doctor, has always been my support and was instrumental in showing me the upside of the business and the validity of the science involved.”

After doing her due diligence, Nivi confirmed that Body20’s unique electro muscle stimulation training concept has established a niche in an untapped market, making the brand a worthwhile investment.

Related: Healthy Body20 Franchise Leads To Happy Hearts

Leaving the comfort zone

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As a new franchisee in a pioneering location, settling into her role as a first-time business owner was a challenge, but a supportive franchisor eased her in.

“Bertus Albertse is hands on and extremely smart,” Nivi says of her franchisor.

“We’re close to him and understand how he operates. His energy, passion and approachability influences everyone in the business network.”

The personalised support coupled with the easy buy into the franchise was enough for Nivi to get into Body20. “We’re an agile brand that never rests,” she says.

Lessons learnt

Many franchisees buy a business and get someone else to run it. “Owner-operation is vital. You need to be part of the brand. It all ties in with having your finger on the pulse of your industry and the business, and knowing your clients personally. Your clients’ goals become your goals, you feel their pain and celebrate their achievements,” she says.

“We change lives doing what we do every single day,” says Nivi.

“Some clients have undergone so much of a transformation that they are even able to come off their blood pressure medication, or complete a sports event that has always been a goal.”

Related: Is It A Good Time To Invest In A Franchise Right Now?

To keep clients motivated, Nivi’s team focus on a personalised touch, ensuring each Body20 client feels special when they walk through the door.

“Your staff are an extension of your business and if they love what they do, clients will enjoy being there and look forward to each session. Our trainers all have their unique strong points and we’re always keeping the training fresh and dynamic, making sure we’re effective and ensuring the training is not boring. We’re a lifestyle brand and work relentlessly in the pursuit of a holistic, sustainable solution for our clients’ ultimate goals.”

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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Nedbank’s Full Service Offering for Franchise Owners

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Prithivan Pillay, National New Business Development Manager on Nedbank’s offering for Franchise owners.

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How The Sanlam Enterprise And Supplier Development Programme Is Helping Start-up Businesses

The balance between funding, business development and mentorship can make or break an enterprise development programme

Francois Adriaan

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165 new employment opportunities, 172 SMEs developed and 1046 jobs sustained. These are some of the numbers recorded by Sanlam as the company prepares to wrap up the fourth year of its Sanlam Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) programme.

The flagship incubation scheme has turned around loss-making enterprises, helped some participants get critical accreditation and funding, but most importantly, R12.6 million was spent procuring goods and services from the participating businesses by the end of 2016.

Related: Enterprise Development Programmes For Black Entrepreneurs

Receiving funding isn’t the secret to start-up success

Francois Adriaan, head of Sanlam Foundation says the secret to a successful enterprise development programme is not the amount of funding big corporates can give SMEs: “It’s having the right mix of mentorship; business intervention and procurement spend flowing from your corporate to small businesses.

You have to show the entrepreneur you are mentoring that you trust them enough to do business and walk the journey with them instead of giving them a once-off grant and leaving them to their own devices,” says Adriaan.

Financial support that’s timed to business need

Like in many other ESD programmes, participants in the Sanlam ESD programme also have access to funding. But what sets the programme apart from others, says Adriaan is that the amount of funds disbursed to each participating businesses is directly linked to its need, its commitment and progress record.

“Financial support is timed according to the specific needs of each SME. Those who qualify for funding are then provided with a further seven years of SME growth support through the ASISA Enterprise Development Fund.”

The Sanlam ESD programme

The Sanlam ESD programme was launched in July 2013 in collaboration with the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) to empower SMEs, create jobs and contribute to economic growth in South Africa. An independent evaluation shows that participating enterprises have grown their annual revenue by 19% on average.

D&P Auto participants

One of the programme participants is D&P Auto, a panel beating business based in Retreat. For two decades, the owners of the business (husband and wife) poured their life savings, bank loans and even pension policy pay-outs into the business to keep it afloat because it was not making profit. Three years of focused business incubation and mentoring under the Sanlam ESD programme resolved D&P Auto’s 20-year loss-making battle.

“Our business has grown from a non-profitable business to the extent that we now have to pay provisional taxes to SARS for the first time in 24 years,” said Pam Douglas on their business maiden profit.

Successes of the incubation programme

The incubation from the programme has helped other participants brush up their bookkeeping skills, file successfully for tenders and get accreditation that took their businesses to the next level.

G&T Auto, the only fully accredited Major Structural Repairer in the programme, bagged Mazda accreditation last year, a rare accolade that will see the enterprise repair Mazdas that are still under warranty. The owner, Thembi Sithole says the programme has given her confidence to approach bigger clients as she now understands the requirements to get big contracts. She has also become more knowledgeable about financial statements and their impact on obtaining funding.

Related: Why Employee Engagement Programmes Backfire And What You Can Do About It

Adriaan says enterprise development initiatives of this nature give big corporates an opportunity not only achieve their business objectives, but also impact broader South African society.

“This commitment is around impacting issues of inter-generational poverty, unemployment and inequality. It is also about aligning around public-private-civil society partnerships in sustainable ways,” concludes Adriaans.

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The Rise Of Digital In Shaping Business Terrains

There is pressure for businesses to become agile with many being pushed to innovate rapidly, and those that fail to adapt being blind-sided and left scrambling to survive.

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The rise of digital is influencing the direction and conduct of business, large and small. It is challenging how entrepreneurs and their advisors, including finance professionals, produce and consume data.

The shift towards digital is transforming channels to market, customer preferences are shifting, product and service lifecycle is shortening and competition is merging from unexpected sources.

There is pressure for businesses to become agile with many being pushed to innovate rapidly, and those that fail to adapt being blind-sided and left scrambling to survive.

This changing business landscape is exerting pressure on CFOs and finance professionals to capture, measure, report and predict future performance in real time to support better decision making and business growth.

Related: Africa Rising: Contemporary Culture Revolution Presents Huge Digital Opportunities

It means capturing data at a granular level, processing massive amounts at the same time and visualising them to decision makers in real time through dashboards. This demands a massive shift in the CFO role to be a strategist, technologist and influencer.

ACCA has been championing research to understand the impact of digital on businesses, how emerging technologies are reshaping the economy and the impact on the finance profession. Research has identified the need to ensure that the shift towards digital is implemented as part of a broader transformation journey with clarity on how customer value is created, and how that is likely to change in the future.

Analytics, cloud, collaboration and robotics process automation (RPA) have been identified as the four pillars driving the rise of digital and bringing significant changes to how business is conducted, and will be conducted in the future.

Analytics is being spurred by the huge volumes of data generated inside and outside the organisation which is making it possible to inform evidence-based decision making.

Both businesses and consumers are generating tremendous amount of data that is easily accessible, whether free or paid, and capable of being analysed to extract insight. The rise of new technologies has made it possible to analyse huge volumes of data of all shapes and sizes including text, numbers, pictures etc in real time.

It’s making it possible for businesses to track sophisticated but useful key performance indicators. It is challenging the CFOs to understand the drivers of value, track performance and influence decisions.

A huge enabler of the shift towards digital has been the emergence of the cloud and the plethora of online applications accessible from anywhere in the world. The cloud has made it possible for small business to play in the big league without having to make the huge upfront capital investment normally associated with legacy systems. Cloud has made it possible for any business to have access to the very latest technology whether it is developed in Silicon Valley or Cape Town.

It has also transformed costs that were traditionally considered fixed into variable costs because of the revenue models of cloud based solutions. It has removed technology as a barrier to entry, creating competition and new possibilities. Business is driven by technological wave to think differently about business models, pricing and how to deal with competition.

The emerge of powerful online collaboration tools and applications, supported by improved access to broadband, has revolutionised how teams work together and made the gig economy a viable option.

Teams do not need to be housed in the same physical location to work together thereby lowering costs such as office rental and making access to skilled professionals more accessible and affordable.

Businesses can collaborate with advisors, such as accountants, online reducing consulting costs without comprising access to professional advice. On the other hand, professionals can service a lot more clients from the comfort of their office eliminating the need to frequently travel to client premises.

An emerging trend across the globe is the emergence of robotic process automation (RPA) to reduce process costs, increase control and standardisation.

While there may be moral questions around robots taking away jobs from humans in an economy with rising unemployment, the adoption of RPA can allow businesses to upscale rapidly and service more clients with the same number of resources.

While the financial services industry have taken the lead in the South African market, there is space for many industries and businesses of all sizes to adopt RPA.

Related: How To Thrive In The Face Of Digital Darwinism And Technology

The expected decline in technology costs will most likely make the cost benefit analysis tip in favour of RPA. It will challenge the world of business to streamline and standardise business processes and up skill staff.

Recent research indicates that even employees of SMEs and entrepreneurs see some good opportunities for innovation through technology. Whilst decision makers in the companies agree that technology will enable accounting and finance professionals to focus on higher value added activity.

The move towards digital raises the obvious questions around cyber-security and data protection especially customers and employees’ private information. Performing appropriate due diligence on potential partners, either for cloud or on-site options, is key as the consequences of a security breach could be fatal.  A recent example South African example is the breach of 30 million records containing sensitive information such as ID numbers‚ names physical addresses and property ownership details.

Businesses need a resilient cyber strategy to thwart and contain possible threats.

The rise of digital is here and the impact on businesses and the finance professionals will continue. What is certain that those who want to survive and remain relevant will have to adapt, fast.

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