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Franchisee Advice

Where Your Tyres Meet the Road with Supa Quick

Sharon Tattersall started out working for Bridgestone. Eventually, though, she felt the urge to launch her own business. But what sort of business to start up? The answer was obvious…

Tracy Lee Nicol

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Vital Stats

  • Company: Supa Quick
  • Franchisee: Sharon Tattersall
  • Branches: Gallo Manor and Craighall Park
  • Visit: supaquick.com

The Road to Supa Quick

Once Sharon Tattersall had matriculated, she wasn’t sure what to do. Quite by coincidence, she ended up interviewing for a position at Bridgestone. She got the job and started working as an internal sales clerk.

Bridgestone turned out to be a great fit, and she ended up spending about a decade at the company. She moved on to warehousing, logistics, and eventually started working as an external sales person.

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But, by the early 2000s, she felt the itch to strike out on her own. She wanted her own business. Almost immediately, the idea of opening up a Supa Quick came to her. Supa Quick is a subsidiary of Bridgestone, so Tattersall had the experience needed to tackle the business. Supa Quick touted itself as a tyre expert, and Tattersall knew tyres.

Sitting at the Wheel

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In 2006, Tattersall started as owner/operator of Supa Quick Sandown. It was, well, a bit of an adjustment. She might have had loads of industry experience, but corporate life hadn’t completely prepared her for all the other aspects of owning and operating one’s own business.

“I knew about tyres, but Supa Quick stocks a lot of other items that I didn’t know at all. I had to learn about shocks, brakes and exhausts very quickly. It was a steep learning curve,” she says.

That said, getting to know the products wasn’t the toughest challenge. The biggest adjustment was suddenly being responsible for every aspect of a business.

“When thinking of opening a business, you have to remember that you will ultimately be responsible for every aspect of that operation. You will have to manage the business’s finances and staff, keep an eye on stock levels and deal with customers. There’s tons of admin to deal with, especially in the early days of a business.

“You need to accept the fact that you’ll be spending a lot of time at the business — you’ll be eating, sleeping and breathing the business. Prepare yourself for 16-hour days,” she laughs.

Steering in the Dark

Tattersall’s situation, however, was particularly tricky. As Murphy’s Law demands, load-shedding was implemented shortly after she started operating her first Supa Quick franchise.

“We needed to buy a generator, which was obviously a sizeable investment. But there was nothing that could be done about it. We had to be able to trade even when the electricity was switched off.”

The experience taught her a valuable lesson: “I think a lot of new business owners underestimate the amount of operating capital they’ll need. This is especially true in a business such as this. You need to have cash available for an emergency, and you need to carry a sizeable amount of stock. Modern cars run on lots of different tyres, and you need to carry the different sizes and types. If you don’t have a particular tyre in stock, you’ll lose a sale to a business down the road.”

A good co-driver

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Despite those inevitable initial hiccups, Tattersall found her groove and has been operating a Supa Quick ever since. When the property in Sandown was sold, she closed that operation down, and opened a Supa Quick in Gallo Manor, which has been going since 2011. In June 2015 she also opened up a Supa Quick in Craighall Park.

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“The operation in Gallo Manor is well established and I now have a manager who oversees the operation, so I’m spending most of my time at the new franchise.”

And what is it like opening up a second store?

“It’s keeping me busy, but it’s been a positive experience. As a franchisor, Supa Quick is very supportive. It offers new staff members at franchises excellent technical training, and also negotiates with suppliers on our behalf. This means that we can obtain stock at a very competitive price.”

About Supa Quick

  • Supa Quick has been in existence for more than 28 years.
  • The brand has the largest footprint of any fitment channel in Southern Africa.
  • Franchisees boasted a combined turnover of more than R2,1 billion in 2014.
  • Of the original 24 founding franchisee family members that signed up in 1986, 20 are still involved today.
  • Supa Quick has collective franchisee owner experience of 2 636 years
  • With 238 outlets currently operating, the brand appears set to have 288 stores open by 2020.

Advice for Rookies

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Having been a successful Supa Quick franchisee for almost a decade now, what advice does Tattersall have for prospective franchisees?

“I would recommend spending as much time as possible at an existing franchise. If you can spend a whole month there, do it. Not only will you see what owning a Supa Quick entails, but you’ll also gain useful insight into operating a successful business.

“I also recommend surrounding yourself with the right people. You don’t necessarily need substantial industry knowledge, but you need to ensure that you hire the right people. Quite often, you’ll find that your success is in their hands.”

Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.

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Franchisee Advice

5 S-Words Make Your Store Site Pay For Itself

Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters recently addressed delegates at the FASA (Franchise Association of SA) conference on the topic of choosing the best location for their business. He spoke about the 5-S technique to assist business owners with deciding which premises is best suited for their business.

Richard Mukheibir

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The combination of continuing trading uncertainty in South Africa and the new financial year for many businesses can add up to carefully reviewing costs – including leases on premises. Choosing a site to set up or relocate your business can be just as stressful as deciding where to buy a house – and just as fundamental to its health, finances and sustainability, says Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters.

This is not the time to snap up the property with the cheapest rental as that might turn out to be something you regret in the long run. Nor is it the time to be dazzled by the swankiest premises you can find. The potential for bragging rights could turn out to be poor value for money.

“This is a time for your head to rule your heart regardless of the industry you trade in.” he says.

The real-estate mantra of “location, location, location” works just as effectively in commercial as it does in private property but you will often be looking for rather different factors. Mukheibir shares his 5-S technique to help you begin narrowing down the areas where you will consider locating your business – first at the macro level, focus in further to the meso level, then look more closely at the micro level before you start weighing up specific sites.

1. Strategy

Remind yourself of the medium and long-term strategies you have developed for your business. Keep your understanding of your business’s customers, purpose and growth prospects top of mind when you are selecting the areas where you will start looking for sites.

Related: Effective Ways To Bring Customers To Your Door

2. Scope

Within those areas, redline any sections where you feel the competition from other businesses will detract from your potential to grow your market. Greenline areas where there are good synergies between the people who live or work there and the demographic that you have identified as your target market.

3. Synergy

Make sure there is clearly a good pool of potential customers for you – size definitely matters when it comes to ensuring that there are plenty of customers available to you. Look specifically for facilities that cater for the kind of customers you want to attract. Sports stores benefit from being close to schools and tertiary colleges, for example.

4. Sight

Although many businesses now have an online element, most still benefit from attracting customers to walk through the door. For your premises to be a good fit for your business, you should be located in plain sight and ensure that your ability to market yourself locally through signage and lamp-post posters is not restricted by local bylaws.

Related: FASA Establishes Industry Specific Food Franchise Forum

5. Security

You will attract and retain good customers and staff if they feel they’re secure in the area. This perception includes factors such as easy, safe parking and a welcoming environment.

“Making a success of your business is not just about the product or your branding,” says Mukheibir. “It can be as fundamental as finding a site that ends up paying for itself. To do this, it must offer you a well-calculated gap in the market where the strong demand for the product or service that your business offers ensures sales and profit. If you have considered all these steps carefully, you will never worry about making rent and wages payment again.”

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Franchisee Advice

6 Things You Need To Know About Profit And Cashflow

Why your business needs both and how to check.

Richard Mukheibir

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In the heat of the action as you build your business or launch a new line, it’s easy to hope some aspects will take care of themselves. It’s especially tempting to fall into that trap with your accounts if you don’t like dealing with figures.

Despite having a B. Comm degree, I’m happy to admit that I don’t really like accounts. I much prefer strategies, management and business development. Fortunately, my co-founder and our Chief Financial Officer Peter Forshaw tirelessly keeps us on track financially – and his message to our franchisees is always that in your own business, you must understand enough of the financial basics to know whether your business is swimming or sinking…

It’s so important that we include this as part of our franchisee training. To get you started, here’s what Engela van Loggerenberg, our Group Financial Manager, tells new franchisees:

  1. Cashflow and profit aren’t the same: You can’t track one and assume the other shows the same pattern. There is no natural correlation between the two – your cashflow can be positive and you can be making a loss or your cashflow can be negative but you’re making a profit.
  2. Cash keeps you going: It’s vital to have money available in your business so you need to be generating enough cash to pay operating expenses. Otherwise you could be making a profit but not be able to pay staff wages. If so, you will either have to put in some of your own money or take a loan to keep your cash flowing and your business afloat.
  3. Time for a checkup: Both cashflow and profit are important to a business – but you can’t do anything without cash which is why you have to manage your cashflow carefully. Check your profit monthly but your cashflow daily. This will alert you to problems in the making so you can head them off. You will see if your clients are overdue in paying their accounts with you, for example. If they fall behind, this could in turn squeeze your ability to pay your operating expenses, which is why cashflow monitoring is such an important tool to keep your business afloat.
  4. Different perspectives: Remember when you look at your figures that profit figures are a result of what has already happened and are usually reported with a time lag of a month. Cashflow is a snapshot of what is happening in your business now and will have an impact on profit figures in the months to come.
  5. Know what you’re looking for: What you need to know are your net, not gross, figures. For net cashflow that is your incoming cash less your outgoing cash for the period. So if you are receiving more than you are spending, you will be left with money in the bank to meet future expenses. Similarly, your total sales less direct costs make up your gross profit. Deduct all your operating expenses from the gross profit to calculate whether your business is making a net profit.
  6. Make the most of your cash: Take pressure off yourself by keeping spare cash for future expenses such as VAT and taxes in a good interest-bearing account such as a money market, call or investment account. Then set up reminders ahead of time to arrange to withdraw the sum required.

Remember that any system is only as good as the person operating it. So if like me, figures aren’t your thing, make sure that you have someone at your side who can manage them for you.

Read next: 4 Factors To Consider Before Converting Your Independent Business Into A Franchise

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Franchisee Advice

3 Ways To Ensure Your Loyalty Programme is Working Hard For You

Plastic cards are making way for app-based loyalty programmes. Is your franchise keeping up with the digitally savvy consumer?

Diana Albertyn

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The average consumer today is a member of at least five of the 100-plus loyalty programmes in South Africa, according to a 2017 study by Nielsen. As the loyalty playing field becomes more cluttered and competitive, what are you doing to ensure each one of your franchisees are catering to customer needs when it comes to loyalty?

Mobility. It’s not the newest buzzword, but it is useful for attracting customers who don’t want to lose loyalty points because their card is lost or not with them. Ailsa Wingfield, Nielsen’s Head of Emerging Markets: Thought Leadership, says that as adoption of non-traditional payment methods increases, loyalty programmes also need to introduce payment type flexibility.

“Mobile payment platforms will increasingly deliver an opportunity for loyalty-programme engagement with consumers, providing a convenient and personalised way for programme members and retailers to engage with one another all along the path to purchase.” – Ailsa Wingfield Nielsen Head of Emerging Markets Thought Leadership.

Related: 11 Ways To Double Your Customers In 4 Weeks

Have you considered what role tech could play in your current loyalty programme? Here are three ways to apply digital enhancements that appeal to present and potential customers: 

1. Offer differentiation through more options

Research has concluded that the loyalty programmes devised by retailers and franchises are not innovative enough to capture the attention of the youth – Millennials and Gen Z. it’s time to diversify your rewards offering. But how?

If your customer base is predominantly younger, being omni-present is key, according to the Truth Loyalty Whitepaper: “An omni-channel approach will not only meet the demands of the younger customer, it will also allow your business to combine intelligence on shopping, search and web behaviour history to assist you in identifying when to offer an in-store promotion, extend a seasonal offer or make a product recommendation through the appropriate channels.”

Implementing a digital loyalty campaign is also a smart way to reduce costs. Coffee shop franchise Mugg & Bean’s Generous Rewards App and partnership with Vitality Active Rewards, means members can earn cash-back rewards to spend on their favourites. Just downloading the app earns you a R25 voucher.

2. Use your tools to engage more

A crucial mistake most franchisors make is not communicating consistently with their loyalty programme members once they’ve signed up and increased numbers. They spend a lot of time recruiting customers to join, but expect them to prompt cashiers for points’ balances and produce their cards independently in their various locations.

“You have gained permission to talk to your customers and created the opportunity to collect enormous amounts of valuable data. Use this to your advantage by creating meaningful and relevant engagement initiatives and communications across your customers’ lifecycle,” advises Truth, a boutique consultancy business specialising in customer centricity and loyalty programme strategy and design.

When enhancing your engagement strategy, Accenture advises that you keep the following in mind:

  • 54% of South African consumers are loyal to brands that actively engage them to help design or co-create products or services.
  • 57% are loyal to organisations that present them with new experiences, products or services.
  • 47% are loyal to brands that engage them in ‘multi-sensory’ experiences, using new technologies such as virtual reality or augmented reality.

Related: 3 Ways To Stop Taking Your Most Loyal Customers For Granted

3. Keep the experience simple

Review your loyalty programme. Honestly. Then ask yourself if you’ve made your programme too complicated for the layman. If your answer is ‘no’ or even ‘maybe’, how can your target consumer ever reap the full rewards of this programme if they don’t understand the rewards on offer and how to redeem them?

Changing rules too often is the first complication to go. No matter which one of your stores they choose to shop at, the redemption and earning process should be simple enough to keep members interested and engaged in the programme. Make sure you keep your programme simple and transparent.

“Clicks made a simple but fundamental change to its redemption process – paper-vouchers were replaced with virtual points that can be redeemed as cash-back when you swipe your card at the till. While Clicks and Dis-Chem are among only a handful of brands that do this, it’s a sure-fire mechanism for increasing redemption,” said Amanda Cromhout, founder and CEO of Truth.

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