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Expansion Insights From One Of SA’s Power Partnerships



Mike Templeton, key account manager for the Vida-Shell relationship, imparts some useful insights from their journey for entrepreneurs rolling out their own expansion plans.

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There’s no secret South Africans love their coffee – with new stores popping up on a weekly basis across the country, both through independent and retail chains.

Two of the country’s biggest players in their respective industries are leading the pack in the explosion of coffee in SA, with Vida e Caffé and Shell announcing the opening of their 100th store in South Africa, in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch.

The Vida-Shell relationship started off in 2013, and after just two years the partnership has hit a significant marker, coming together to offer South African motorists a moment of sanity amidst the malaise of their daily commute.

Related: (Slideshow) Believe It or Not, Starbucks is Not Just About the Coffee

Vida introduced a new brand within its stable, known as Torrador, specifically to work within the majority of Shell sites, together with Vida stores in selected large Shell forecourt environments.

With over 100 Vida e Caffé, and Torrador by Vida e Caffé, coffee bars at Shell service stations across the country, the pairing have seen a very positive consumer response with robust growth in coffee, food, convenience retail as well as fuel sales. Motorists are now becoming accustomed to getting their coffee fix at Shell whether in the Cape, Gauteng, KZN or at a Shell Ultra City somewhere in between.

After a great deal of research into convenience trends in the South African market, Shell identified the rapid emergence of the coffee culture in South Africa as a significant opportunity and key lever of its convenience retail strategy.

South Africa had been identified as a key growth market for the business and building on Shell’s 113-year heritage in the market, Shell invested in upgrading its store formats and non-fuels offers over the past few years.

Related: Wiesenhof Coffees: The Cream On Top

After considering all potential partners both locally and globally, the Vida brand stood head and shoulders above competition given the critical role the brand has played in creating and establishing the coffee experience in South Africa.

To meet the varied trading environments within which Shell operates, the Torrador sub-brand was then established, ensuring that the Vida experience is readily available across the Shell network.

Mike Templeton imparts some useful insights from Vida’s expansion:

Customers-drinking-coffee

1. Meeting customer expectation

Identify the demand and plan the full solution accordingly. While any expansion plan may be all mapped out on paper, be sure to keep top of mind what it is the customer likes about your offering and what they’re expecting, and then give it to them. If you veer too far from that, your plans may not net the required result.

2. Build management teams

Select wisely and develop the people that will be rolling out and leading the realisation of your vision. All too often, those that are expected to perform are not in place. Identify and employ the right individuals and how to get there. Share the vision and the journey with them, train them, and ensure they have absorbed the entire concept and how to make it a reality.

3. Training and routine

It’s imperative that there has been ample investment in human resources to ensure the stores are operational and excellent at all times. Businesses are built on skilled and motivated people. Be sure to take it slow, pilot and test, fail, assess and re-design, then improve and roll-out.

4. Maintain day to day involvement

Keep a close and watchful eye on the brand, ensure compliance with standards and operational guidelines, as this will give you the best opportunity to stay true to brand delivery.

5. Keep it fresh

It’s all too easy to get a bit stale and complacent once you have launched. But as time progresses, it’s critical to stay motivated, seeing what the customer sees, and making the necessary amendments to exceed customer expectation. Continuous improvement and innovation is a key principle in good business.

6. Partner up

Leverage your partnerships, identify the strengths in each other’s skills and brands. Use one brand or offer to drive feet for the other which will increase your total basket.

7. Consistency long-term

Launching and building a business is the easy part – running the operation and keeping the quality and energy up is the challenge. Stay the course.

Vida e Caffé has had an impressive 12 months. Alongside the 100 Shell stores, they continued their development of new stores that opened in corporate and mall environments throughout Africa.

Related: 5 Minutes with Vida e Caffé Founder Grant Dutton

Explains Vida e Caffé CEO Darren Levy, “We spent the last year focusing equally on coffee, the in-store experience, and our food and beverage product innovation. October 2015 was our new food launch and this contributed significantly to some fantastic growth in the past few months. As an organisation we have placed a high level of importance to the sourcing and roasting of quality components that make up our coffee blend. To this end, we have been actively engaging importers, roasting experts and industry experts as we continue to evaluate the taste profile in line with international and local trends. Much of the success of a perfect in-cup experience is attributable to the methodology followed to make the flat white or meia in store. The coffee market is growing exponentially in SA and we have to do what is necessary to remain on top in a very competitive space. I think we’re well positioned to do that.”

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5 Businesses You Should Start in 2019

Here’s the lowdown on consumer and technology opportunities in 2019 and beyond.

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Savvy entrepreneurs should keep a close watch on consumer and technology trends in 2019. This, according to Silvertree Internet Holdings Co-founder and MD, Manuel Koser. Having invested in and grown a number of highly successful South African brands (among them Faithful-to-Nature.co.za, UCOOK.co.za, Pricecheck.co.za, CompareGuru.co.za, Petheaven.co.za, Cybercellar.com, and CarZar.co.za). Silvertree’s management team sees several business opportunities set to grow exponentially over the coming decade.

Here’s the lowdown on consumer and technology opportunities in 2019 and beyond.

1. Indigenous and ethical: Personal and home care products

2019 Sees growing potential for personal care products – ‘Those with local and indigenous ingredients, ethical sourcing which is kind to nature and the body,’ Koser explains. ‘There is a lot of room to play in the African haircare market particularly, as it’s often overlooked by the major FMCG companies.’

The Silvertree MD also sees increasing room for innovative natural home cleaners as consumers become increasingly environmentally conscious. ‘Until now, it was all about the well-known cleaning products the major chemical manufacturers put on the shelves. Now, there’s increasing space for new, exciting entrants.’

2. New beverages

‘Locally-sourced ingredients and an earth-first mindset will also play an increasing role in the consumer beverage market. Add to this the fact that major soft drink manufacturers will struggle to produce drinks for increasingly health-conscious consumers. They’re often just not quick enough to adjust to changing consumer tastes – particularly the tastes of millennials. Think less about a standard fizzy drink, but rather one that’s kind to the body, with natural ingredients. Non-alcoholic: water plus, say, cucumber, or another indigenous ingredient. The market for this will grow.’

3. Ethical snacking

Plant-based, vegan, ancient grains, ethical, protein-rich snacks – these are just some of the trends Koser sees dominating in the snack segment in 2019 and beyond. It’s about unique, tasty, functional foods that cater to the modern, time-starved consumer, Koser explains.

4. Buy, sell and compare online

In the technology space, marketplaces, e-commerce sites and classifieds will all gain momentum in 2019 and beyond. This encompasses aggregators as well as more unusual online businesses, which are increasingly able to find and reach consumers interested in niche products and services.

‘Consider an online ice-cream business. Once, something like that would have been unthinkable,’ Koser explains. ‘But as consumers demand greater choice, room for niche products like this grows.’

Yet, dabble online and seamless execution and delivery become make-or-break factors. ‘Many South African consumers use services such as Google, Amazon, Uber and Spotify daily – world-class products that function on a global scale. You can call an Uber and wait for just two minutes before getting a ride,’ Koser explains. ‘It’s quick and totally seamless. Consumers have come to expect that level of service across the board. Aligned to this is the fact that the millennial wave is currently hitting Cape Town right now, and Joburg secondarily, meaning a number of opportunities are opening up. Go after products and services in the right space and consumers will follow.’

5. Reinvent the wheel – and make it better

The final type of business entrepreneurs should keep an eye on is those that currently have low Net Promoter Scores. ‘This means that very few people like them, or the services they provide are of very poor quality,’ Koser explains. ‘Think of postal service providers or telecoms companies. With any monopolistic or oligopolistic structures, the service is often terrible because the heavyweights hold so much power. There’s a huge gap here.’

An allied approach for entrepreneurs is to assess opportunities for automation, or cutting out the middleman with technology. ‘Once, many markets – such as real estate were opaque, meaning you needed a middleman to help you transact. However, as the capabilities of technology have grown, markets have become far more transparent – making it easier for buyers to match with sellers safely. Today, a lot of this is easy to automate services – think about connecting a homeowner to a prospective renter through a digital solution where renters can be qualified, for example, in terms of their finances, personal information and criminal records. Quick and simple. And no middleman.’

The biggest opportunities here centre around where consumers spend the greatest amounts of time and money, Koser notes. ‘Housing and rent are always major costs. In terms of where consumers spend their time, on the other hand, much of it is, on a mobile phone, or PC.’

However, entrepreneurial success is never down to any one magic formula, Koser emphasises. Nor does Silvertree invest in prospective entrepreneurs solely on the basis of the product or service they offer. ‘It’s about passion, perseverance and tenacity as much as it is about the quality of the product.’

Silvertree Internet Holdings is an investment growth partner who aims to understand, grow and scale business, consumer and digital brands to unlock the brands’ exponential growth.

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What To Watch For In Tito Mboweni’s First Budget Speech

By Rob Cooper, tax expert at Sage, and chairman of the Payroll Authors Group of South Africa.

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Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, delivers his first Budget Speech on 20 February at a difficult time for the South African economy. Even though President Cyril Ramaphosa has done much to restore business confidence in his first year in office, GDP growth remains weak, government finances are in relatively poor shape, and renewed load shedding is hurting business confidence.

Judging from his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in October last year, I expect Minister Mboweni — backed by the team in the National Treasury—to deliver a relatively cautious budget. Much of the focus will be on refinancing the state-owned enterprises and putting them back on to a sustainable footing.

We probably won’t see much in the way of radical thinking since the room for manoeuvre is so limited. Click each header below for an indepth video on the upcoming topics.

National Health Insurance (NHI)

Renewal of the country’s public healthcare system with a mandatory health insurance fund and free healthcare at the point of need has been the ANC government’s policy for years, but progress has been slow to date. There isn’t much money in the country’s coffers to fund something as ambitious as NHI, yet the government will want to show that it is advancing the concept ahead of the elections.

With an NHI bill to be tabled in Parliament soon, we could learn more about how NHI will be funded in this year’s Budget Speech — it’s still not clear whether we will pay for it through payroll taxes, VAT increases or other fundraising measures. As an initial step, we could see medical aid tax credits reduced (or at least not adjusted for inflation) to free up some funding for the NHI.

The Employment Tax Incentive (ETI)

The ETI Act came into effect on 1 January 2014; as a fan of this incentive, I was delighted that President Ramaphosa announced that it will be extended for 10 years another decade in his state of the nation address. However, I have also long argued that the scheme is not performing to its true potential because it is so complex for payroll managers to administer.

The introduction of the national minimum wage adds even more complexity— until and unless the ETI Act is amended, SARS is of the opinion that the National Minimum Wage will not qualify as a “wage regulating measure”. I hope the Budget Speech will announce steps to align the ETI with the national minimum wage and take other measures to simplify administration.

Tax hikes

I don’t expect any major increases to corporate or personal income tax this year since the taxpayer doesn’t have much more to give. I think the top 45% rate will remain unchanged, while tax bracket creep relief (to compensate for inflation) will be limited to lower income earners. It seems unlikely that the Minister will increase VAT again this year, given last year’s increase.

That means the Minister is likely to look at ‘moral’ taxes (sin and sugar taxes) to raise more money; we can expect another steep increase in the fuel levy. Perhaps we’ll also hear about efforts to improve SARS’ revenue collection after several years of under-performance. The agency seems ripe for a turnaround strategy, with high-powered team looking for a permanent chief to take the reins at SARS.

Follow us on @SageGroupZA on 20 February 2019 for LIVE expert insights from the annual Budget Speech.

For more information about Sage’s annual tax seminars, please visit: https://get.sage.com/PRL_19Q1_C4L_ZA_EVCU_NPS_AnnualPayrollTaxSeminar2019

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Top SA Entrepreneurial Competition Praises Sector Optimism And Calls For 2019 Entries

Entrepreneurs interested in entering the competition can enter online here.

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Even in the face of ongoing sluggish growth, exacerbated by widespread allegations of corruption and muted domestic economic activity, South African entrepreneurs remain overwhelmingly optimistic. This was revealed in the Real State of Entrepreneurship Survey 2018, which found that the vast majority of over 1000 business owners surveyed feel very positive about the business climate and outlook for the 12 months ahead.

It is these resilient individuals who will have their deserved time to shine in the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, says Kobus Engelbrecht, spokesperson for the competition, who says entries for the renowned competition – now in its 31st year – are officially open.

Entrepreneurial competitions of this nature, however, serve a greater purpose than just celebrating South Africa’s spirited self-starters, notes Engelbrecht.

“Credible platforms such as the Entrepreneur of the Year® competition also act to inspire the next generation of budding entrepreneurs, who have the potential to drive real economic growth at a time where the country needs it most.”

Engelbrecht refers to the World Bank’s recent downward revision of South Africa’s projections for economic growth in 2019 to just 1.3% – 0.6% lower than the South African Reserve Bank’s earlier prediction of 1.9% in November.

“Despite these challenging economic conditions, year on year we still find exceptional entrepreneurs who continue to identify gaps in the market and transform these into viable businesses.

“It is our aim, through this long-standing competition platform, to continually recognise, encourage and support the hard-working entrepreneurs who continue to do well despite the challenges they are faced with. We use the competition to convey our appreciation for the role they play in inspiring others to venture into the world of business,” he says.

In addition to offering valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and national media exposure, Engelbrecht says that the2019 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, offers prizes valued at over R 2 million, which includes cash prizes of R 70 000 for each main category winner, and R200 000 for the overall winner.

“All South African businesses are eligible to enter this competition, and prizes will be awarded across six categories, namely: Overall Entrepreneur of the Year®; Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year®; Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year®; Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year®; Job Creator of the Year; and Innovator of the Year.”

Entrepreneurs interested in entering the competition can download entry forms online at www.eoy.co.za as well as interact with fellow entrepreneurs and entrants on the competition’s social media platforms www.twitter.com/@EOY_SA and www.facebook.com/EOY.SA. The closing date for the competition is 31 May 2019.

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