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.
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.
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.
What lessons have you learnt in the first year of Bounce?
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.
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.
Where to from here…Launching Menlyn Maine and Fourways. What is your vision for the company?
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?
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.
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.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio – More Than An SUV
The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession.
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Win A Business Makeover With Retail Capital To The Value Of R250 000
Retail Capital is giving SMEs an opportunity to win a makeover to build their brand with an investment of R250,000.
Retail Capital is giving SMEs an opportunity to win a makeover to build their brand with an investment of R250,000. During the summer campaign, SMEs are encouraged to share the vision of how they would like to see their business grow, and led by a team of experts, Retail Capital will work with the winning SME to help make their vision come true.
While South Africa’s economy is not faring well, Retail Capital CEO Karl Westvig remains optimistic about the country’s retail and hospitality sectors. “We are seeing some green shoots, with an increase in turnover in these sectors – starting from the end of September. Economic conditions remain very tough, but businesses seem to be trading well into October and we’re hoping this continues into the festive season trading.”
According to recent statistics from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), South Africa’s retail sales rose by 5.5% year-on-year in August 2017, following a downwardly revised 1.6% gain in the previous month and above market expectations of 2.3%. It is the biggest gain in retail trade since August of 2012.
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“I do believe that these sectors will see an improvement during the summer season. But, key to this will be for small business owners to ensure that they have the right amount of stock, adequate cash flow, as well as other systems in place to meet the ever-changing needs of customers,” says Westvig.
For many small businesses, however, continually adapting to market changes requires cash injections that they don’t often have.
The prize includes the following:
- Business plan/consulting
- Marketing strategy
- Design and branding
- Website and social Media and,
- R50k capital to gear your business.
Westvig explains that the summer campaign tagline ‘Your Vision. Our Belief’ really speaks to why Retail Capital first opened its doors. “Our goal is to see the potential of small businesses and to work with them in making these become a reality.”
He adds that the idea is not to simply help one business during the campaign either. Westvig points out that one of the biggest challenges that small businesses face in the sluggish economy is enough foot traffic through their doors. “Generally, the main hurdle in creating brand awareness and projecting credibility of their establishments boils down to establishing a strong online presence.”
“One of the first ways that South Africans identify a business or service provider that they want to work with is over social media – even in a country where the digital divide has traditionally separated the technological haves from the have-nots,” he says.
He explains that companies that don’t have a social media presence are running the risk of being overlooked entirely. “They may attract customers in their own community with signage or word of mouth, but to grow a business, they need to expand their reach – and that’s where social media comes in.”
But, the reality is that resource and time constraints mean that for many SMEs, social media is not prioritised. “Unfortunately for the average small business owner, they don’t have the time or expertise to get connected.”
Understanding the importance of having an online presence, Retail Capital has also committed to developing the digital presence of all campaign entrants. This would include setting up each entrant’s digital presence on platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tripadvisor, Zomato and any others that may be relevant to their specific market or industry.
“As a partner to many SMEs in South Africa, we are continually looking at new and innovative ways to help provide them with the much-needed support in order for them to realise their visions. SMEs need to be supported with initiatives like targeted education and training, supportive legislation, and funding opportunities that collectively help them grow our national economy,” says Westvig.
Who we are and what we do:
“More than R1.25 billion has been extended to a range of businesses including food trucks, hair salons, restaurants, spas and franchised retail stores. Many of these businesses have not been able to raise funding in any other way, other than to go to unscrupulous lenders,”says Karl Westvig, the CEO Retail Capital, a company that provides working capital with the help of innovative lending technology.
“We have also estimated that for every R160 000 we lend, we create a new job. This means that 625 jobs have been created purely by enabling small businesses to get the funding they need for working capital requirements or expansion opportunities.”
Retail Capital’s system, which enables it to advance funding to small businesses, based on real time information on credit card transactions, is providing a new funding alternative to entrepreneurs who have previously been turned away by banks. Because it is able to get actual sales information, it can approve funding immediately, and allow for flexible repayment options based on sales cycles of the particular businesses it is funding.
“This creates significant opportunity for small business owners to focus on their business and grow volumes or look for expansion opportunities rather than spend their time frantically trying to repay debt or keep the business alive after debt repayments have eaten away at any cash reserves they might have had.”
Retail Capital funding is repaid by it taking a percentage of a business’s recorded credit or debit card sales, with repayments fluctuating in line with their business cycle. This has the effect of ensuring that it isn’t overburdened with debt.
“In the past six years since starting the business, small businesses have had the benefit of R1 billion in funding they would have been unable to get through traditional channels,”says Westvig.
Against the backdrop of recessionary conditions in South Africa, Retail Capital’s client information reveals growth in informal sector turnover across a number of industries.
“We believe that growth in the informal sector is outstripping that of the formal sector,”says Westvig.
As a large proportion of the businesses it funds are women- and black-owned, there is evidence that entrepreneurs who have previously been excluded from access to finance are now enjoying success now that their access to finance problem has been solved.
How Investors Can Take Advantage Of The Rand’s Currency Trading Rates
Negative sentiment is likely to be pervasive with the SA economy, and it will take more than a new figurehead in government to right the wrongs of a mismanaged economy.
The USD/ZAR currency pair is trading in the 13.65 range heading into mid-December 2017. Over the past year, the 52-week low was 12.3126, and the 52-week high was 14.5742. As one of the more volatile currencies in the trading spectrum, the ZAR is closely associated with the political shenanigans taking place in South Africa.
The year to date return for the currency pair is -0.50%, after having started 2017 at 13.7351. Much of the activity taking place with the ZAR is speculative. Futures contracts are largely responsible for the whipsaw movements in prices.
Wilkins Finance strategists stress the importance of credit ratings agencies on currencies:
‘Whenever credit ratings agencies such as Moody’s and Fitch downgrade their assessments of the South African economy, this has a negative impact on the ZAR. The impact is not always predictable however – towards the end of November 2017, the USD/ZAR had appreciated after the recent ratings downgrade of the economy.’
Moody’s Investors Service downgraded South Africa’s economy to a rating of Baa3. This is the lowest rating level for Moody’s. Further ratings will be announced in February next year. Fitch has already downgraded the foreign currency and local currency to BB +, but has offered a stable Outlook for the ZAR.
That S&P also downgraded the South African economy to sub-investment grade is an important decision, and one that will have negative ramifications for the South African bonds market. Now, the Barclays Global Bond Index will no longer feature South African bonds. That South Africa’s bond market will be excluded from the World Government Bond Index will also be a bugbear to any hopes of the ZAR appreciating.
Interest Rates in the South African Economy
The South African interest rate is highly attractive to foreign investors, given that the UK, US, Canada, Japan, and European bank rates are at historic lows. There is little to be gained by investing cash in fixed-interest-bearing securities in these economies. The current interest rate in South Africa is 6.75% (as at November 23, 2017). The interest rate has dropped to expand economic activity in the country.
Overall, South Africa’s inflation rate for the year is expected to remain at 5.3% dropping to 5.2% in 2018 and rising to 5.5% by 2019. Global investors remain concerned about the risk/reward environment in South Africa. The country has experienced significant capital outflows in recent years, driven in large part by uncertainty regarding future prospects. The USD/ZAR was trading at 14.60 in late November, and current ZAR strength is being attributed to USD weakness.
Factors on Both Sides of the Atlantic
One of the major economic events affecting exchange rates will be the reconciliation of the House and Senate bills on US tax legislation. Any major overhaul of the US tax code will invariably result in a dramatically boosted USD, and a weakened ZAR. For traders, it appears to be short-term call options on the local currency and long-term call options on the USD.
It is evident that currency traders are hedging against the ZAR over the long-term. The fundamentals of the economy are structurally unstable. The power grid infrastructure, water supply problems, and political instability at the highest echelons are but a few of the many problems plaguing South African growth prospects.
However, the ZAR will draw strength from the election of a credible leader, and this will be particularly noteworthy with Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment. Overall, negative sentiment is likely to be pervasive with the SA economy, and it will take more than a new figurehead in government to right the wrongs of a mismanaged economy.
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