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It’s About The Money With Wimpie Sevenster

Why work for money when money can work for you? The Interface Financial Group (IFG) offers a unique business model that gives entrepreneurs unprecedented freedom. Entrepreneur speaks to Wimpie Sevenster, IFG master licensee for South Africa.

GG van Rooyen

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Whether small businesses are trying to expand or fighting to survive, cash flow is always an issue. Regardless of whether the economy is struggling or booming, businesses are always in need of cash.

Brief history of The Interface Financial Group

Interface, like the financial services industry of which it is a part, is a very mature player. Having been in business since 1972, Interface is clearly the market leader in invoice discounting.

It has hands-on experience and a growing network of offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, Singapore, the United Kingdom and, of course, South Africa.

Related: Chicken Xpress – The ‘No Frills, No-Fuss, Keeping-It-Simple Franchise’

For the first 20 years of its operations (before franchising), Interface acted as an invoice discounter. This activity has resulted in a very solid knowledge base from which Interface franchisees/licensees can draw support.

Senior management of Interface have ‘been there and done that’ — their experience now translates into your franchise/licence success story.

What does IFG do?

IFG-south-africa

The Interface Financial Group offers factoring services. Importantly, this isn’t the same thing as lending money. Simply put, an IFG licensee buys an asset, and the asset that’s bought is an accounts receivable that is evidenced by an invoice.

The IFG licensee buys this at a discount from the face value and holds it until maturity, usually about 40 days. At the end of the credit period they receive payment of 100% of the face value and, therefore, the discount is taken as income, which is their gross profit in the transaction.

Your client’s customer pays the invoice in full directly to you on the due date. Your working capital goes to work the moment you purchase an invoice, and it offers an above-average return on your capital with minimal marketing and a work schedule that is within your control.

Why do you need an IFG licence to do this? Isn’t this something that you can do on your own?

Absolutely. This is something that anyone can do. However, in the same way that there’s a great advantage to opening an established fast food franchise store, IFG offers the training and support needed to get up and running quickly.

The Interface Financial Group is an international operation that’s been around since 1972. It has also been given ‘World-class Franchise’ status by the Franchise Research Institute.

We like to say that IFG allows licensees to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves. Licensees benefit from a proven model, operating system and support structure. It offers an exceptional training programme, a powerful start-up marketing programme, ongoing transaction support and international invoice discounting opportunities.

Lastly, licensees benefit from the Interface Risk Management Programme, which has been perfected over more than 40 years, and is a key reason why IFG licensees all over the world are incredibly successful.

With many franchise/licence opportunities out there, what makes IFG uniquely attractive?

There are a lot of factors that make an IFG licence attractive. Firstly, start-up costs are low and there are no pre-set capital requirements. Secondly, you don’t need to hire employees and you don’t need a shop front, or even an office. This is an operation that can easily be run from home.

The Interface licence is designed as a home-based business concept. A home-based office is usually more economical than renting office space. We do not, however, mandate that you must be home-based. It is a matter of personal choice. Are you comfortable working at home, and does the home environment lend itself to a professional office?

The small business market keeps growing, and that increases the number of small businesses that need cash flow assistance. A wide range of industries and markets benefit from invoice discounting, including manufacturing, construction, distribution and professional services.

An uncertain economy does not affect your business, because you are there for small business owners when traditional banking institutions cannot help.

However, you do not compete with large financial institutions. Instead, you work alongside them to provide short-term solutions that they cannot assist SMEs with. A lot of our clients are referred to us by banks, business brokers, lending institutions and accountants.

How do IFG licensees go about finding clients?

We have found that the best clients come from referral sources. We have, therefore, created a professional marketing approach that does not rely on cold calling and ‘selling’ to an end user. We train our franchisees/licensees in the art of forming a ‘Lead Source Referral Group’ that will supply the bulk of their business.

In the majority of locations, where Interface licensees operate, that group consists of three basic components: Banks, non-bank lenders and accountants that run small business practices.

Interface franchisees do not ‘sell’ the service. A typical marketing approach is to work with a lending officer of a local bank. We request a meeting time, by appointment, of only 15 or 20 minutes.

During that meeting, we explain who we are and what we do. We are mindful of showing that we are not in competition with the bank, and simply ask for referrals when the bank is unable to accommodate their customers’ business funding needs.

This approach allows the bank to continue supplying their regular services and maintaining a deposit relationship, while Interface handles the funding requirement.

At some future time, the client will become ‘attractive’ to their bank, from a lending point of view, and the bank will then take over the funding role.

Banks are in the business of providing services to their clients. Those services vary and may be readily available, or not available, due to the incompatibility of the applicant.

Where they are not available, the bank then becomes a ‘problem solver’ for their customer by referring that aspect of the business need to Interface.

Who is the ideal IFG licensee?

IFG

There is no such thing as a universal description of an Interface licensee. There are, however, several significant characteristics that all IFG franchisees have. First, we always look for individuals who have excellent communication skills — both verbal and written.

Interface licensees are charged with the task of communicating with professionals such as bankers and accountants on the one hand, and with small business owners and entrepreneurs on the other.

Interface clients are by nature very entrepreneurial individuals who are striving to get their business venture up and running as quickly as possible. Because the business is in its early development stage, the owner is probably handling numerous responsibilities within the organisation. Licensees need to be able to effectively communicate with these individuals in order to obtain the required information and also to work with them on an ongoing basis.

Second, we look for individuals who are decision-makers. Licensees gather and analyse the information, confer with Head Office, and then make a decision to move forward or not. Our process is designed to be handled quickly, efficiently, and in a professional manner.

Finally, we seek to work with licensees that are entrepreneurial in their outlook. We look for people who have a vision for themselves and their Interface business.

Is a background in business or finance a must?

A background in business will certainly never hurt, but it is by no means a must. The list of successful IFG licensees is incredibly varied.

Related: Minuteman Press Advises You To Under-Promise And Over-Deliver

We have licensees who come from all walks of life. But what they all have in common is drive, a good head for business and great communication skills.

It also helps to have some ‘number crunching’ abilities, but it is not imperative, since our detailed system will easily walk you through the process and procedures.

Our personalised training programme will also ensure that you grow to understand the Interface system. Part of what we bring to the table is a comprehensive transaction tracking system that takes care of all of the monthly chores in terms of creating your income and expense statements and your monthly balance sheets.

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GG van Rooyen is the deputy editor for Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa. Follow him on Twitter.

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Muscle And Grill Is Your Daily Chef. We Provide Fresh, Nutritional Food At Affordable Prices

It isn’t always easy to stay in tune with both body and mind. We do all the prepping for you so that you can keep up your pursuit of greatness.

Muscle and Grill

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Muscle and Grill is a healthy fast food establishment based in South Africa. In the face of modern South Africa, lives spent on the go require a fuel to match their aspirations while maintaining a delicious, fast and fresh service.

As our lives swirl into life’s vast depths of opportunity, our bodies are often the product of poor health habits, while trying to keep on the move to achieve our goals. Muscle and Grill challenges this. We want to be able to support the South Africa of tomorrow by offering the food your body needs to keep reaching new heights – to keep pushing the boundaries of accomplishment with health food convenience.

At Muscle and Grill we’ve got you covered. We provide nutritional fast food that is fresh and affordable. We have your health at heart. You could start your day off with some free-range scrambled eggs or fresh oats – for lunch a mixed bowl of rice, protein and fresh vegetables – or to round off your day, replenish your mind and body with a hearty health-infused burger and all its wholesome goodness. We have not forgotten that home constitutes a hungry family who have all been active, so grab a lean beef pasta salad with some greens on the side to go.

Related: SA Fast Food Franchising On The Rise

It isn’t always easy to stay in tune with both body and mind. We do all the prepping for you so that you can keep up your pursuit of greatness.

About us

It was once said that great ideas are born from ones’ frustrations. That is exactly how Muscle and Grill came about. Having no real on-the-go option to stay healthy, or having the time to prepare to be healthy, became a huge frustration for us. We struggled to find enough hours in the day to keep up with a busy lifestyle and still eat healthy while on the move. Our work came first and our lifestyles suffered.

The vision for Muscle and Grill is to make it possible to stay healthy on the go. We want healthy food to be easily accessible for all walks of life.

Our mission is to provide quality, healthy fast-food. The food we provide is delicious and will keep you coming back for more.

Concept

muscle-and-grill

Muscle and Grill works on an almost self-service basis. The point of sale system is customer operated where you can select what meal you would like to have. Once payment has been processed electronically the kitchen staff will receive the order and prepare it to spec. Muscle and Grill will be a completely cashless business, making it super-efficient for consumers and business owners.

Related: 3 Crucial Considerations For New Multi-unit Franchisees

The concept of Muscle and Grill is partnered with Puré Frooty. Puré Frooty is a self-service smoothie bar which prepares smoothies for you at the touch of a button. You can have a store with or without a machine – the choice is yours. Both concepts look to promote the idea of healthy living on the go.

We’ve looked to compliment our values by looking after that which grounds us. Our packaging and utensils are all eco-friendly, as we believe ‘going-green’ is not just a choice of eating but of the environment too.

So, when you are ready to join the next revolution in the fast food industry contact Muscle and Grill at info@muscleandgrill.co.za or visit the website at www.muscleandgrill.co.za to inquire on our franchise options today. Achieve your goals, stay on the move and look after yourself through Muscle and Grill.

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Nando’s Is Firing Up The East

Carlos Duarte has been part of the Nando’s brand since inception. When his brother Fernando co-founded the flamed grilled chicken brand in 1987, Carlos soon participated in its success and today owns four highly successful franchises in Johannesburg — three in the east and one in the south. Here’s how it all began.

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  • Player: Carlos Duarte
  • Franchise: Nando’s
  • Position: Franchisee
  • Visit: www.nandos.co.za

What were you doing before becoming a franchisee?

I was in the audio visual technology field, as an employee. Then I joined Nando’s as an assistant manager in the Savoy and Rosettenville corporate stores. Franchising was my first experience of entrepreneurship.

Why did you decide to become a franchisee?

When my brother, Fernando Duarte, launched Nando’s in 1987, I noticed its quick growth and wanted in on the action. Being assistant store manager prepared me for when the opportunity to run my own store came along soon after.

What prompted you to partner with Nando’s?

I joined Nando’s in 1991 as a joint venture partner. At the time, Nando’s hadn’t yet franchised its operations, and the JV partnership meant the brand owned 51% of the business, while I owned 49%. My first franchise store was in Edenglen in 2001.

Related: (Watch) Why Nando’s Is Clucking Its Way To The Top

Describe some of the challenges of running not one, but four franchise locations

At the Edenglen store, we initially battled with sales and getting feet into the store. To be honest, I think the area was overtraded at the time, so it wasn’t the best location. Since acquiring the store in Lambton, Germiston, another in Greenstone and a third in Comaro, I’ve learnt to be cleverer in how I do things — and how I handle some of the same challenges — and learn every day from the brand itself.

Name some of the benefits you’ve experienced as a Nando’s franchisee

Nando’s is 31 years old this year. We’re in 30-odd countries worldwide with thousands of stores across the globe. As franchisees, we leverage off the dynamism of an operational business that’s known for its marketing — customers talk about our ads and they love our food.

What kind of support do you receive from Nando’s as a multi-unit franchisee?

Besides the popular marketing campaigns that attract customers, Nando’s has an extensive training manual along with a skills development training consultant who comes to the store for two days to help staff understand and implement it. The training is really effective — it has to be as this industry involves a very high turnover of staff and new skills need to be taught often.

Why is it important for a franchisee to have a good banking partner?

As a franchisee, your bank should understand your business — from operating costs, to overdraft needs and revamping expenses — so it has cash available for loans that can be approved quickly, with minimal hassle. On the technical side, a reliable mPOS device is imperative, especially for us, because 30% of our sales volumes are from home and office deliveries. It’s a fundamental method of payment every bank should provide its customers of a similar nature.


What advice do you have for budding franchisees on seeking out a good franchise brand and banking partner for their business?

  • Do your research to ensure you’re partnering with a brand that is established, well-known and expect to pay a fair price for that franchise.
  • Be aware of how the franchise brand is perceived in the market and what location opportunities are available to you as a franchisee.
  • Choose a banking facility that always has the funds available to grow your business.
  • Ensure the bank understands the brand’s business model and where you’re falling short.

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Franchisors

Make Your Business A Good Neighbour

Take your business from invisible and struggling to a thriving neighbourhood landmark.

Richard Mukheibir

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Is your business invisible to your customers? You may have fewer customers than you would like because your business does not seem relevant to those in your neighbourhood. This is an even bigger mistake than not being able to reach beyond your direct trading area.

To appeal to people – customers – you should also present your business as a group of people who help other people. This can be helping supply them with goods they need to buy, helping provide them with loans or simply being a reassuring and consistent presence in your neighbourhood.

As our Local Area Marketing Manager, Juan Botha, tells Cash Converters’ franchisees, this is about blending and fitting in like a neighbour. It is about give and take. And all of that adds up to community engagement.

Related: Effective Ways To Bring Customers To Your Door

Here are six of his top tips:

  1. Introduce the family: Cultivate a friendly, welcoming atmosphere in your shop or office. Introduce new staff to regular customers. Make sure that new customers can get to know staff through your in-store welcome boards and name badges.
  2. Find your partners: Identify the gatekeepers in your community and create partnerships with them. Think about approaching sports clubs, schools, church groups, sewing circles and book clubs.
  3. Snatch some selfies: If you have local celebrities as customers, take a selfie and post it on your social media: “Guess who came to say hello today . . .” Build relationships with local heroes and you will be able to call on them to host your in-house fun day or charity drive.
  4. Give back to business: Be involved in local business chambers and groupings as more than a participant. Show you are a good business neighbour by facilitating speed networking, hosting a speaker or sponsoring a sound system or catering for the next meeting.
  5. Adopt a cause: Identify a local charity and rally support for it.
  6. Help the community: Launch or participate in a community project – anything from an area clean-up or helping repaint school classrooms to planting trees or a community vegetable garden.

Building relationships helps you build your business’s reputation. That is because you can make people start to feel a certain way about your business and influence them positively towards you. Then, when they need something that you supply, you will be top of mind.

That neighbourhood warmth creates a sense of ownership. These prospective customers will already know how you can benefit their lives and so are more likely to become your regular customers.

They will be acting on the fact that people remember you for the experience you give them. As top American writer Maya Angelou said, their memories will be shaped by how you make them feel – not how or what you make them think. Relationships may be intangible but they can bring real value to your business.

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