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Franchisee Advice

Maximising your Franchise’s Profit Potential

Seven tips for making the most money from your franchise.

Jeff Elgin

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So how can you make a lot of money as a franchisee? At the risk of sounding trite, the easiest way is to start by selecting a franchise opportunity that is capable of making a lot of money.

Actually, there are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of making good money as a franchisee. Though picking the right opportunity where others are making a lot of money is a good start, it’s no guarantee you’ll do the same. The key secrets to making as much money as possible include:

1. Starting with the right definition

This goal begs the question, “What is a lot of money?” Many people think of this answer first in absolute terms such as making a fixed amount like R400 000 per year. I think it’s wiser to define ‘a lot of money’ in terms of return on investment. If you can invest R20 000 and get a return of R100 000 per year, I’d contend you’re making a lot of money on that investment by any reasonable standard of measure.

2. Starting with the right opportunity

It’s essential to select an opportunity that matches up well with you, in which you are willing and capable of performing the primary role of the franchisee. As just one example, I know of a franchise that cleans public restrooms. This can be an intensely profitable business with a great return on investment, but many people simply wouldn’t want to be involved in such a business.

Their reluctance would probably mean they wouldn’t make a lot of money, because they couldn’t project the excitement and enthusiasm necessary to sell a prospective customer on the value of a sparkling urinal.

3. Keeping the investment size reasonable

A host of franchises can produce a great return on investment. Make sure you focus on ones where the per-unit investment is reasonable, given your net worth and the liquid capital you have available to invest. Remember what your mom told you about not putting all your eggs in one basket.

4. Reinvesting to achieve your absolute goal

If you find an opportunity that fits well for you and has a great return on investment, and you’ve got your first unit up and making a lot of money, you can reach your absolute number goal by acquiring additional units. This can either be done through further out-of-pocket investment or through the reinvestment of the profits you’re making into growing the business.

I have a good friend who owns more than 40 haircutting franchises. The return on investment in each unit is great, but the absolute rands in any one unit don’t meet his overall total income goal. He found that by adding additional units over time through the reinvestment of profits, he could realise a total income far in excess of what his absolute goals were when he started the business.

In the example mentioned in the first point, if you want to make R400 000 per year, make four of the R20 000 investments and you’re there.

5. Following the system

The biggest reason to get a franchise, rather than start an independent business, is to acquire the rights to use a proven system to achieve predictable results. A good franchise company has developed its systems through extensive trial and error and should be able to tell a new franchisee exactly what to do to make a lot of money.

All you should have to do is execute the system well to achieve the success you want. If you want to make a lot of money, don’t be an innovator – just pick a great system and execute it well, and you’ll get your wish.

6. Capitalising your business properly

This is a corollary point to the one about making sure the size of the investment for each unit is reasonable for you. There are many ways to capitalise your new business, including using all cash, or using some portion of your cash combined with loans or leases, to come up with the total investment.

Most franchisees use a combination approach. When you’re evaluating how to capitalise your business, keep in mind that the service costs of loans or leases will reduce the amount of money you’ll have for other purposes. Too much leverage can be very dangerous and get in the way of making a lot of money.

7. Working with a good accountant

One of the hard lessons of life is that there can be a big difference between the money you make and the money you have. The difference is taxes, and they take many forms. One of the most important steps to making money that stays in your pocket is to use a good accountant.

They help you structure your business entity and ongoing activities in a manner that reduces the tax bite whenever possible.

In terms of your business activities, some techniques can be as simple as the timing of investments and major purchases, or the type of capital structure you use. It’s typically well worth paying some accounting fees to ensure you’re minimising the tax bite if your goal is to make a lot of money in your franchise.

Finally, keep in mind that in any successful franchise system, many people have travelled the path before you. Whether they are other franchisees or the franchisor, take advantage of their experience by asking for advice whenever you have doubts or your results aren’t what you expected, especially when you’re first starting out. They’ll be happy to help you, and you can return the favour to other new franchisees in the future.

Jeff Elgin has developed a consulting system that matches pre-screened, high-quality prospective franchisees with the franchise opportunities that best fit their personal profile.

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Franchisee Advice

5 Tips For Franchise Agreements

Below are 5 tips to ensure that your franchise agreement complies with the CPA.

Justine Krige

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South Africa has some great homegrown franchises – Mugg and Bean, Steers, Debonairs and Nandos, to name a few.  South Africa is also no stranger to international franchise groups, such as McDonalds, KFC, Wimpy and SPAR, although there has been an increase in the number of international franchises investing in South Africa in recent years.

The Consumer Protection Act, No 68 of 2008 (“CPA“) is the first piece of legislation in South Africa that specifically regulates franchise agreements. The CPA prescribes certain minimum requirements for franchise agreements, as well as certain information that must be disclosed prior to a franchise agreement being signed.  It is important that all franchise agreements comply with the CPA as provisions in franchise agreements may be declared to be void for non-compliance.

Below are 5 tips to ensure that your franchise agreement complies with the CPA:

1. Make sure you meet the minimum requirements

The CPA prescribes “minimum requirements” for franchise agreements.  These requirements, which are set out in the Regulations to the CPA, set out mandatory terms (i.e. terms which must be included) and prohibited terms (i.e. terms which must not be included).  They also prescribe that franchise agreements must be drafted in simple and plain language so as to be easily understood.  Legal jargon must be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

Related: The Perils Of The Franchise Agreement

2. Include prescribed minimum information

The CPA prescribes minimum information that must be included in a franchise agreement.  Most of this minimum prescribed information is fairly general in nature and would be contained in the franchise agreement in the ordinary course (for example, name and description of the types of goods or services that the franchise relates to, the obligations of the franchisor and franchisee, and any territorial rights).

There are, however, certain more unusual requirements in relation to prescribed information, which information would not necessarily be contained in a franchise agreement in the ordinary course (for example, the qualifications of the franchisor’s directors, and details of the members/shareholders of the franchisor).  These more unusual requirements must be kept in mind when preparing a franchise agreement.

3. Prepare a disclosure document

The CPA requires the franchisor to provide certain minimum prescribed information to the franchisee in a disclosure document delivered to the franchisee prior to the signature of the franchise agreement (including a list of current franchisees, if any, and of outlets owned by the franchisor; the direct contact details of the existing franchisees; an organogram depicting the support system in place for franchisees; and an auditors certificate confirming that that the franchisor’s audited annual financial statements are in order).

This information is intended to provide the franchisee with enough information about the franchise, its financial viability and potential business success so as to enable the franchisee to make an informed decision as to whether or not he/she wishes to “acquire” the particular franchise.

4. Prepare a non-disclosure agreement

It is important to ensure the protection of confidential information which may be disclosed to the prospective franchisee during the preliminary stages of negotiating and concluding a franchise agreement.

This may include, for example, the growth of the franchisor’s turnover, and written projections in respect of levels of potential sales, income and profit. Although not a requirement under the CPA, it is advisable for a franchisor to ensure that a prospective franchisee executes an appropriate confidentiality agreement prior to being sent the disclosure document.

Related: What Constitutes a Fair and Balanced Franchise Agreement?

5. Beware the “cooling-off” period

It is important to bear in mind that a franchisee has an entitlement under the CPA to cancel a franchise agreement without cost or penalty within 10 business days after signing such agreement, by giving written notice to the franchisor.

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Franchisee Advice

6 Top Tips For Reading Management Accounts

There is a golden key that reveals the secret of whether your business will survive and thrive. It is keeping tabs on the figures that summarise the strength of your business – your monthly management accounts.

Richard Mukheibir

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There is a golden key that reveals the secret of whether your business will survive and thrive. It is not the brilliance of your business concept. It is not your talent for talking clients to sign on the dotted line. It is keeping tabs on the figures that summarise the strength of your business – your monthly management accounts.

Related: 6 Things You Need To Know About Profit And Cashflow

Many entrepreneurs are usually more interested in operations and find product development or sales much more enjoyable than catching up on accounts. I sympathise – I’m one of them! So if you feel the same way, my top tip is always to make sure that you partner with or employ someone who can oversee the finances for you.

But that does not mean you can let the figure boffins and the finances take care of themselves. To function properly in your business, you need to know the outcome of your sales and development strategies – and the story of that is told in your management accounts.

 If you never look at your management accounts, it is like blinding yourself in one eye. It means you risk being literally blindsided by a big surprise, whether it is heading for a significant loss or being confronted by an unexpected provisional tax payment.

Here is how Engela van Loggerenberg, our Group Financial Manager, puts management accounts in perspective for our new franchisees. She urges them to focus on six key areas:

  1. Priorities: Management accounts can help you pinpoint areas that you need to prioritise, whether to capitalise on growth or because they are not performing as well as you hoped.
  2. Strength: All businesses aim to grow their assets over time and the balance sheet in your management accounts will reflect whether and how you are achieving that.
  3. Control: A strong balance sheet is one that shows you have your business liabilities well controlled. The key marker here is your current liquidity ratio, which results from dividing your current assets by your current liabilities. To keep your business healthy, always aim to keep this ratio at least 2:1.
  4. Revenue: Ideally, you want to see your revenue grow month by month. Check your income statement both for the trend in actual revenue and also for actual against budgeted revenue to check how well your strategies are delivering results.
  5. Profitability: Of course, revenue is not the same as profitability. You need to know your gross profit – the basic figure of your sales less the cost of those goods – and net profit, which also deducts a range of other expenses including taxes. Track the percentage of these two profit figures as well as the actual cash amount they represent to keep a check on whether your costs are creeping up too high.
  6. Finance: Most businesses at some point want to finance their growth by borrowing from a bank. A set of well-regulated management accounts is a prerequisite to obtaining finance.

Your management accounts do not have to be particularly complicated to give you these vital pointers – and if you are figure-shy, the more straightforward the better.

The important thing, though, is that you do not allow yourself to be too scared to ask if there is something which is not clear to you. That is the way to keep control of this key to your business fortunes and to keep building your business from strength to strength.

Related: 7 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Managing Cash In The Business

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Company Posts

A Three-Pronged Approach To Franchise Success

Danie Nel, head of business development for Cash Crusaders franchising, says the brand’s success over the past 22 years 
is attributed to the sentiment that “a profitable franchisee 
is a happy franchisee.”

Nedbank Franchising

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What is your current footprint?

220 Stores. We’re looking to increase that number by another 20 stores for the 2018 financial year, which will then bring us to a total of 240 stores. Depending on the economy, we’re looking to grow our footprint even more to around 300 to 350 stores nationwide in the near future.

What are some of your brand’s biggest achievements that other franchises can learn from?

Our ability to read the retail market and innovate to stay ahead of times. We have recently launched an online platform where customers can sell their goods or borrow money — all online. This was a first for online retailing. One other achievement that I would wish to highlight is the launch of our mobile phone range, Doogee, exclusive to Cash Crusaders. Personally, having the honour of opening our 200th store was a tremendous achievement.

Franchisor involvement has also played a big role in the success of the organisation. Our CEO Sean Stegmann and other senior managers are as much involved in the business as any other operations manager or operator.

There is simply no ‘ivory tower’ management in our business and it makes a huge difference.

Related: How Sorbet Franchisee Kate Holahan Is Nailing Success By Following Her Dream

What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered and how have you overcome these?

Some of our daily challenges include securing a premises at a favourable rental and securing a franchisee with sufficient unencumbered capital, who is credit- worthy. Once the store is open, cash flow management and stock procurement is key.

In addition to this, it’s a challenge to achieve profitability immediately and to meet franchisee expectations. It’s also vital to ensure superb customer service and to retain those customers in the current retail and economic climate. I would say that our single biggest challenge is to retain and to build our customer base.

What attracts franchisees to Cash Crusaders?

Our unique retail model that allows for multiple streams of income through one business. These three profit centres include: New goods (variety of imported quality goods), second-hand goods (which we buy directly from the public, either through customers coming directly to our stores, or via our house-buy system offered by some of our stores) and secured lending (a financial service where customers can borrow money against valuables, determined at store level, and the loan is repaid within 30 days — or the contract is renewed for another 30 days with interest and service fees charged).

Why is it important for successful franchises such as yours to have a strong banking partner and how does it benefit both the franchisor and the franchisee?

Gone are the days where you just got a deposit book or cheque book and a little business loan from your bank. Banking has become more sophisticated and the technology that the bank offers is as important as its service, making life for both the franchisee and the franchisor easier on a day-to-day basis.

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