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BOUNCE Business Backflips Into SA

The BOUNCE business concept is springing into action as the business grows and develops from it’s launch in 2015. We catch up with Shaun and Nicolle to learn more about their start-up.

BOUNCE

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The BOUNCE business concept is springing into action as the business grows and develops from it’s launch in 2015. We catch up with Shaun and Nicolle to learn more about their start-up.

Bounce-Founders

Shaun Strydom and Nicolle Weir have known each other for close on 20 years where they developed a strong professional bond while working together at Deloitte. Since leaving Deloitte they often joked about getting together again in some form of business opportunity and after discussing the opportunity with BOUNCE it was clear that this was the one….

Entrepreneur caught up with Shaun and Nicolle to ask them about BOUNCE INC.

Why Bounce?

Truth be told when we initially got presented the opportunity we did not fully appreciate the concept as in many respects it was foreign to ourselves and the SA market. It took many discussions and eventually a visit to one of the international BOUNCE venues where we were blown away by the concept and overall professional setup.

BOUNCE is such a unique business that offers a healthy, fun and an accessible adrenaline rush to pretty much anyone and everyone.

Ultimately, we are ourselves quite discerning when it comes to professionalism and service and as parents we are both very sensitive to identifying quality offerings for families in the market.

Following lots of due diligence into BOUNCE and other similar businesses around the world it was clear that BOUNCE was the leading Brand and organisation in this category.

Related: Hello Group’s Initial Product Failed The Night Before Launch. Today They Are An Industry Disruptor

What lessons have you learnt in the first year of Bounce?

Bounce-team

Part of what we loved about the BOUNCE Brand was our ability to recruit young and often inexperienced staff and give them opportunities to grow and develop, specifically as youth employment is a huge need in SA. We initially battled to keep up with the amount of people streaming in through our front door – you can train staff in a “classroom” environment but nothing really prepares you for those first few weeks when the public are bubbling over with excitement and all they want to do is BOUNCE.

We are very proud to say that the team has really stepped up and we continually get compliments from customers around the level of service from our staff – it’s something that we are passionate about and we will continue to keep driving a customer centric business. Our staff also have fantastic international opportunities to work at other BOUNCE venues around the world.

BOUNCE Voucher

Did you ever expect Bounce to be as well received by the South African public as it has been

It is fair to say that the build up to our opening on 12 June 2015 had its share of sleepless nights and sweaty palms.

  • What were we thinking?
  • This huge investment!
  • Our reputations?!
  • A new Brand and a totally new concept and the first of its kind in Africa!
  • Would this work?

On the day that we opened, our doors were almost pushed over with kids and families streaming into bounce. It was, to say the least, a very emotional and humbling moment.

We never expected the Brand and response from SA to be so overwhelming and it continues to grow as people from all over SA are calling for BOUNCE to come to their city or area – we are very grateful for this, as ultimately, this business is for all South African’s. Continuing to deliver on the BOUNCE experience and staying ahead in the market is what gets us out of bed every day.

Related: How Merchant Capital And Retroviral Were Built To Sell

Where to from here…Launching Menlyn Maine and Fourways. What is your vision for the company?

Bounce-trampoline

We will be launching 2 more venues in Gauteng this year – one in Johannesburg and the other one in Pretoria area. These venues will include some new innovations and surprises for our customers. Our plan is to open a BOUNCE in all major cities in SA as part of our initial rollout plan including KZN, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Polokwane, Mpumalanga which are already in motion.

There are a lot of competing trampoline parks that are emerging now, how do you feel about this?

It is great to see the market being opened up following our launch and believe this will assist in stimulating and educating the market on the many benefits of Trampolining.

Our primary concern however with other operators is that they are not necessarily following the world’s leading safety standards in terms of design, equipment, safety padding and training of staff. This could have a negative outcome for a new growing industry if profit is put ahead of safety.

It is for this reason that we welcome the fact that the South African Gymnastics Federation is busy implementing a South African Trampoline Parks Association whereby membership will be based on meeting stringent safety standards. They are looking to adopt the Australian Trampoline Park Association (ATPA) Standards which are considered the most stringent in the world. We are obviously very excited by this move as BOUNCE already complies with these strict standards in every aspect from design, equipment, padding, operations and training of staff. Furthermore we are very proud of our first year safety record which is well below the ATPA average rate of 2 significant injuries per 10 000 jumpers.

We will work towards educating our customers to ensure they appreciate the importance of a trampoline park that meets strict safety standards and it will also give us the opportunity to differentiate ourselves from our competitors in the market.

Who is your target market?

Bounce-target-market

The best part about BOUNCE is it doesn’t matter if you’re under 5 or an action sports junkie in training – you’re never too old or too young to have an awesome time.

The benefits of Trampolining are universal and therefore our target market is very broad although we have specific programs designed for each customer segment and age category.

BOUNCE is packed with lots of things to do with kids and the family; it takes the rush of getting airborne and adds a bunch of new dimensions – from aerial maneuvers to slam dunking, wall running and dodgeball warfare.

Related: Silulo Ulutho Technologies Tackles Tech Target Market

What are some of the unexpected challenges of running this sort of business?

One of the biggest initial challenges in bringing BOUNCE to South Africa was finding the right premises in the ideal node at a price that makes commercial sense. You need a landlord to take a risk on a new concept and new Brand and a very large space.

Subsequent to opening our doors and as the BOUNCE Brand has gained popularity within South Africa, property is no longer a challenge however the challenge now is not chasing every opportunity but to be discerning about where and how many BOUNCE venues we roll out within South Africa.

We believe the greatest on-going challenge will be ensuring our staff remain at the top of their game and are well trained both from a safety and a customer service perspective. We believe that this will be the secret to differentiating us from our competitors along with our innovative new offerings that we will be introducing into our new venues.

See more on BOUNCE on the website: www.bounceinc.co.za.

For corporate group bookings contact richard@bounceinc.co.za and jade@bounceinc.co.za.

BOUNCE is a world where the wall becomes the floor, a slam-dunk is within your grasp and the rules of gravity no longer apply. It’s packed with lots of things to do with kids and the family, it takes the rush of getting airborne and adds a bunch of new dimensions – from aerial manoeuvres to slam dunking, wall running and dodgeball warfare. The best part is it doesn’t matter if you’re under 5 or an action sports junkie in training – you’re never too old or too young to have an awesome time.

Company Posts

Is Your Business Ready To Be Funded?

A venture capitalist and an entrepreneur who has secured funding weigh in on what you need to become funding-ready.

Matt Brown

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1. Ability to Scale

According to Clive Butkow, CEO of VC firm, Kalon Venture Partners, there are many important criteria VC firms evaluate when making an investment decision, but the ability to scale is the most important.

“At Kalon Venture Partners we only invest in businesses if we believe we can make a 10X return on our investment when we exit the company. If we do not believe the business can scale, both in South Africa and globally, we will not invest,” he says.

“Scalability can swing an investor valuation discussion towards a ‘blue sky’ scenario, presenting an endless opportunity for revenue multiples on an initial capital cost-base,” agrees Benji Coetzee, founder and CEO of EmptyTrips.

“However, unless the potential is paired with execution capability it remains irrelevant,” she warns. “As a founder you need the perseverance and commitment to prove that your product will be scalable. In other words, you need to demonstrate your capability to replicate the offering to unlock upside, clients and product growth.”

Related: What’s Stopping Your Business From Growing?

2. Founder’s Mindset

benji-coetzee

“The founders and CEOs of businesses are the visionaries. They are the fuel in the engine and the Lieutenant General on the front line fighting fires. A founder’s attitude, resilience and ability to rally their troops is therefore paramount,” says Benji.

“Before a company can scale it needs to go through painful growing pains. The product evolves, customer orientation flips, the team matures and competition increases. To navigate this changing multi-faceted journey, the CEO is critical in the fight. Founders create the strategy, rally the army and lead the effort, in both the tough times and the victorious ones.  Without a good fight-plan, and consistent implementation of it toward the objective, the company cannot scale.”

Clive agrees. “In my experience, what got you here will not necessarily get you there. Meaning the skills that helped you build a R10 million business are not the same required to build a R100 million business. Some founders either have the skills or are able to re-skill themselves and take the business to the next level, while others can’t. Sometimes the founder needs to be replaced with a professional CEO that can scale the business. This does not imply the founder leaves, but rather that they take on a new role that is more aligned with their strengths.”

3. Take Action

Clive doesn’t believe it’s right or wrong to scale a business – instead, it comes down to what the founder wants. “Many founders are happy to grow their businesses organically and maybe only build a lifestyle business,” he says.

“Other founders want to build a business that will change the world. We call these exponential entrepreneurs. The key to scaling a business, in my experience, is having the right skillset, as well as a mindset that embraces a ‘can do’ attitude and has a bias for action.”

“I call it AA or Attitude of Abundance,” says Benji. “Founders are the alphas. They need to lead, aspire to and believe in scale.”

Related: 3 Start-up Funding Tips To Help Launch Your Company


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See Benji Coetzee, Clive Butkow and Keet van Zyl live at the second Secrets of Scale event, which will be taking place at the MESH Club in Rosebank on Monday, 28 May. Buy your tickets online here: www.qkt.io/secretsofscale

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Company Posts

What’s Stopping Your Business From Growing?

Three masters of scale unpack the reasons why you might be failing at growth – or in danger of doing so.

Matt Brown

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rich-mullholland

So, what’s stopping you from scaling? If you ask Rich Mullholland, founder of Missing Link, the reality is that most entrepreneurs don’t need to understand what it takes to scale. “Scaling speaks to exponential growth,” he says, “which for the vast majority of business owners simply shouldn’t be a consideration. Growth by itself is okay, and even then, it should be growth as and when it’s required.”

Rich’s key point is that growth for the sake of growth should never be a business owner’s primary goal. Growth should be strategic, and good for the company. Growth without a solid foundation can actually harm – or even kill – your company.

If your goal is growth though, here are three key points to keep top of mind.

1. Too many business owners don’t understand what it takes to scale a business

“Entrepreneurs are so focused on getting through the month with their cash flow intact that they often fail to lift their heads and look to the horizon,” says Allon Riaz, CEO and founder of Raizcorp. “Scale requires strategic thinking, while most entrepreneurs are in operational thinking mode.”

Howard Mann, president at Brickyard Partners and a US-based business turnaround specialist, advises business owners to stop focusing on revenue growth alone. “Scaling a business is about balance and too many entrepreneurs just focus on the speed of revenue growth. When revenue grows without the infrastructure to support that growth, clients leave as quickly as they come in.

“Instead of focusing on top-line growth, focus on maximum profit margins. This will completely change where you focus your efforts. I would rather have a $10 million business with 50% margins over the false glamour of a $50 million revenue business with razor thin profits.”

Related: Raizcorp: Business ‘Think’ has to come before the Business ‘Plan’

2. Without the right systems, process and people, you’ll never be able to scale

Allon believes the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make are:

  • Not arranging sufficient cash reserves for a growth period
  • Believing that the people who brought you to point A are the same people who will take you to point B
  • Having insufficient systems to scale the business

Rich agrees, adding that you need to focus on the business you want to be, and not the business you currently are. “Businesses often commit legacide,” he says. “They allow the legacy systems, put in place for a business of a smaller stature, to hold them back. Not to get too cheesy here, but to quote the Great One, NHL hockey legend Wayne Gretsky, you need to skate to where the puck is going. The systems you put in your business should be systems appropriate for the business you want, not the business you have. Sure, you’ll possibly be paying more in the short term, but it will be a fraction of what you lose trying to play catch-up later.”

Howard believes that losing track of managing the expenses required to manage growth is one of the biggest stumbling blocks entrepreneurs face. “To intentionally over simplify it, you want to figure out the most efficient and effective way to rapidly attract and close new clients while being able to serve and delight them at the lowest possible cost,” he says.

“Another mistake is taking on too much debt in the name of growth. We are all mesmerized by VC backed start-ups that put out press about their massive growth. You do not see how much cash they are burning through and that most of these companies have net losses that are growing as fast (or faster) than their revenue growth. Again, protect your profit margins. That is your growth fuel and protection against shocks in the economy.”

Related: [PODCAST]: Listen To Rich Mullholland Share Tips On Building Your Personal Brand

3. Growth for the sake of growth can actually kill your business

Before you embark on your growth journey, understand that growth, without sufficient structural foundations, can often lead to a business collapsing. “Some scale has the opposite of economies of scale, and actually becomes more expensive as the business becomes more complex,” says Allon. “It’s important to restructure the model as the business grows to ensure the highest possibility of economies of scale.”

Howard warns that a business structured to lose money as it grows is a poorly structured business. “Making the switch back to strong profitability after a growth phase is difficult to pull off,” he says. “Yes, we all know Amazon.com eventually did it. You are not Amazon.com. Growing with a net loss is a straight road to the business graveyard.”

Rich disagrees with the notion that growth in and of itself will lead to death. He believes that growth is, generally speaking, healthy. “I’ve seen businesses grow too quickly and not know how to deal with it, and I’ve seen businesses that out-grow the maturity of their management teams and get strangled by the firm hold the management team try to keep,” he says, but for Rich, this is the product of a business ill-prepared for growth, rather than a product of the growth itself.

“This is why slow is often better, as opposed to scale,” he says. “I remember when my son was young, and I was still his hero. I couldn’t imagine him shouting at me the way I did to my folks as a teenager – I’d be destroyed. So, I asked my dad about it, he smiled and said, don’t worry kiddo, they ease you into it, it all happens over time. By the time they start screaming, you’re ready. That’s true too for business growth. Most entrepreneurs are running their businesses as a real-time business school. You can’t always rush that education.”

Related: [PODCAST] Howard Mann, President Brickyard Partners – How To Survive The Struggle Of Running A Business


TOP TIPS

Allon: One top tip for business owners on scale is to remain strategic by knowing what you want to create and by ensuring a healthy balance of capital resources, sufficient people skills and the appropriate support systems.

Howard: Famed business owner Ricardo Semler said “Only two things grow for the sake of growth: Businesses and tumors.” Get crystal clear on why you want to grow. Once you do, find your balance between accelerating new business and the cost to manage that business.Scaling, like a scale, needs balance

Rich: Stop thinking about scale, and start thinking about solving an important problem that world has, even (especially) if they don’t know it yet. It the problem is real, and big enough, you will have a scale-able business.


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See Allon Raiz, Rich Mulholland and Howard Mann live at the first Secrets of Scale event, which will be taking place at the MESH Club in Rosebank on Thursday, 24 May. Buy your tickets online here: www.qkt.io/secretsofscale

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Why Customers Don’t Respond To Disruption

You’ve got chatbots running your customer service, interactive screens across your stores and you’ve just appointed a chief digital officer. Why aren’t you seeing sales going through the roof?

PwC

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PwC partner Quinton Pienaar says there could be many reasons for this. But the short answer is probably that in your understandable rush to stay relevant and keep up with the latest technology trends and developments, you lost sight of your number one priority. You’re just not that into your customers – and they know it.

It’s fairly easy to get dazzled by the array of technologies out there. But the trap that you’ve got to guard against is that you start seeing the world through a technology lens, rather than a customer one. Remember, technology is a tool, not an outcome. It’s the means to the end, not the end itself.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be transforming your business digitally. You absolutely should. But there’s a big difference between investing in technology to keep up with the Joneses, and investing in technology that’s going to drive specific business outcomes and improve the customer experience.

Related: Reimagine The Use Of Technology

In fact, it would be downright dangerous to ignore the game-changing benefits that the current wave of emerging technologies brings to the table. To understand what they can do for your business, you have to know what they are. We at PwC talk about the ‘essential eight’:

  • The Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are the building blocks for the next generation of digital work.
  • Robotics, drones, and 3-D printing are all about machines that extend the reach of computing power into the material world.
  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) merge the physical and digital realms, and offer incredible advances in customer experience.
  • Blockchain rethinks our approach to commercial transactions by allowing participants to exchange value, and verify ownership of something, without a third party.

Some of these technologies are verging on science fiction. So how do we use them in a way that supports customer obsession? The starting point of any successful customer transformation is a customer-focused design that brings together three essential elements – business strategy, customer experience and technology – into a coherent, fully-fledged digital strategy.

In other words, today’s most successful companies have a strategy that is focused around a simple and regularly-updated list of priorities. They incorporate the new generation of technologies like IoT, blockchain and AI. But they keep their people, and their customers at the core of their business by designing strategies that directly address customers’ underlying needs and desired outcomes.

Related: Why Your Latest Tech Investment Might Not Be Wowing Your Customers

This sounds dead obvious. But what we find is that many companies we talk to are focused on growing their revenues, or making improvements to their products and services, rather than creating better customer experiences. Or they have the strategy, but are battling to execute it effectively.

Of course, to underpin this customer transformation journey, you’re going to need some data and the foundational technologies on which today’s innovations depend – data mining and analytics, mobile, and cloud. You may also need to rethink your processes to manage, enrich and maintain data, and operationalise it throughout your business.

So you have all of that in place? Good. Now stop. Breathe. Ask yourself whether your technology and data are truly supporting an unwavering focus on the customer. Because if you take one message from this article, let it be this: in today’s marketplace, putting your customer at the centre of your business is imperative to driving growth and profitability, winning market share and unlocking the value of your technology investments.

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