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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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Fintech Hackathon To Support South Africa’s Entrepreneurs

Xero hosts South African developer technology challenge – and appoints a new General Country Manager.

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 Xero, the global leader in online accounting software has today launched a national competition, to put South Africa’s growing fintech industry firmly on the map. To mark the start of the developer technology challenge, Xero has also announced the appointment of Colin Timmis as Country Manager for South Africa, to take Xero forward.

Launched with Amazon Web Services, the virtual hackathon will enable the region’s technology entrepreneurs to compete with other forward thinking developers on a global scale. To take part, they need to develop an app that can sit within the Xero’s global ecosystem of over 600 apps.

As announced last night at an exclusive event in Johannesburg, the winner will receive R62,720 and the opportunity to attend and exhibit their app at Xerocon the world’s largest conference for over 3,000 accountants and bookkeepers, taking place in London in November.

Related: How The SA Government Can Help Small Businesses Thrive

Xero, which first launched in South Africa in May 2016, is now one of the fastest growing software companies globally, with 1.4 million subscribers around the world. In South Africa, the company is currently supporting tens of thousands of local small businesses, and a substantial support network of accountants. The competition marks the first in a series of Xero-led initiatives created for the South African tech community, as it continues to help more businesses and their advisors thrive.

“Since Xero first set foot in South Africa, I’ve been really impressed by the strong entrepreneurial spirit amongst the small business community. It’s really important that they are supported in the right way; and given space to pursue their best ideas and to grow. That’s why it’s time to open up our global developer competition to a South African audience. Those that have won it elsewhere have instantly been able to propel their business, and compete at a global scale,” said Gary Turner, Managing Director, Xero EMEA.

To support its continued growth in South Africa, Xero has promoted Colin Timmis, to Country Manager. Previously Head of Accounting at Xero SA, he brings a wealth of experience and skill to his new role. Before arriving at Xero, Colin founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice, Real Time Accounting, in 2011 – becoming Xero’s first Global Gold Partner in 2013, and its third fastest growing partner in the global territory by 2014.

“With over 12 years of experience in the accounting profession, promoting Colin to Country Manager will accelerate adoption of Xero in South Africa.” said Gary Turner: “His experience in cloud accounting, software implementation, development, integration and best practice is peerless. He’s already done great work for us during our market entry phase and I can’t wait to see how together we can help more and more South African small businesses realise the benefits of cloud-based accounting.”

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Breaking Down Borders – Top Considerations For SMEs Expanding Into Africa

In light of Africa Day on the 25th of May, more South African small and medium enterprise (SME) owners should be encouraged to look at how they could expand their operations into the rest of the continent.

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In light of Africa Day on the 25th of May, more South African small and medium enterprise (SME) owners should be encouraged to look at how they could expand their operations into the rest of the continent.

This is according to Mark Paper, Chief Operating Officer at Business Partners International (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that Africa has for long been regarded as a region with untapped economic opportunity. “The African Development Bank1 reports that the economic growth in Africa is set to accelerate to 4.1% over the course of 2018 and 2019, which can potentially yield benefits for SMEs.”

Paper points out that entrepreneurs should however firstly consider that each of Africa’s 54 countries represents a unique market with differing challenges and intricacies for doing business.

“The various economies, laws, languages and cultures need to be thoroughly assessed as part of the entrepreneur’s expansion plan, which should be structured around the target region’s strengths, weaknesses, potential opportunities and threats.”

Related: Expansion Funding Options For Your Growing Business

He says that once the enterprise is ready to start operations in a specific region, the entrepreneur needs to ensure that the regulatory requirements of the region are adhered to.  “It is crucial to conduct due diligence and understand all relevant regulations. Most of the companies that make mistakes during this phase find themselves facing massive fines or potentially devastating legal action further down the line.”

According to Paper, the information that should be at the entrepreneur’s fingertips include the required permits, business and property registration processes, credit requirements, tax legislation, labour market regulations, and local content requirements.

He adds that the entrepreneur should also know which laws are in place to protect foreign investors. “Developing robust contracts and using local attorneys to ensure that contracts can be enforced under local laws is therefore imperative.”

Next, Paper says that it is essential to have a strong local presence, knowledge of the local market, and an understanding of customer expectations. “Employing workers from the region can potentially be one of the best ways to support the company’s operations. It will not only benefit the business and its reputation, but the local economy too.”

He notes that finding the right employees, creating cohesive teams and implementing skills training within the organisation relies heavily on understanding the culture of the region, and being able to effectively work around the potential language barriers. “It could help to consult local human resources firms and hiring agencies with strong track records in the region.”

Another point for entrepreneurs to consider, is whether the country has reliable electricity supply, says Paper.

“Electricity supply continues to be a challenge in various countries, and there are many regions that only receive electricity from their national power grids for a few hours per day. Where necessary, the entrepreneur will need to budget for the installation of generators, or even consider signing contracts with mobile fast-track power suppliers who can operate and maintain their own generators on the business’s property.”

Related: Thinking Of Cross-Border Expansion? Consider This First

While entrepreneurs need to consider a number of aspects when expanding across borders, he adds that the rewards for getting it correct are significant, and that the perceived challenges should not deter entrepreneurs from taking the leap, rather serving as a reminder of the amount of research that should be conducted beforehand.”

“Africa is open for business. All it takes is enough drive, passion and perseverance to tap into its growing markets,” Paper concludes.

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President Ramaphosa To Address SA’s Biggest Board Meeting, The Directors Event

President Cyril Ramaphosa will be delivering a keynote address at The Directors event on 8 June 2018, at the Sandton Convention Centre.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa will be delivering the keynote address at South Africa’s biggest board meeting, The Directors Event, which will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre on 8 June 2018.  Dr Jabu Mabuza, Chairman of Business Leadership South Africa will deliver this year’s Chairman’s Report.

Now in its fourth year, The Directors Event invites industry leaders to unpack three issues of national importance and discuss solutions in a public forum, moderated by highly-respected media personalities.

Youth employment & entrepreneurship, the use of technology to promote inclusive growth, and our political economy will be hot topics in this year’s highly focussed discussion programme which attracts participation from the country’s most prominent business and government leaders, and an audience of 300 ‘board member’ delegates.

“We are honoured to have President Ramaphosa address this important gathering of some of the top minds in South Africa. We invited him as a response to the call he made during his maiden State of the Nation Address earlier this year, calling on all South Africans, in their small corners, to help develop this country. We believe, strongly, that corporate South Africa has a massive role to play and we are very excited that everyone seems to have accepted the President Ramaphosa’s “Thuma Mina” call,” says Bongani Siqoko, editor of the Sunday Times.

Nontokozo Madonsela, Chief Marketing Officer of MMI, the JSE listed holding company for Momentum, Metropolitan and other financial services providers says, “We are incredibly honoured and excited that President Cyril Ramaphosa will be delivering the keynote address at this year’s Biggest Board Meeting. Over the past few months, we have experienced a wave of change in the country that has brought with it much needed confidence in what we can achieve. As a company with deep roots in South Africa serving a broad spectrum of citizens and businesses, we are heeding the President’s call to lend a hand in addressing our challenges. We are saying #CountUsIn, we want to be there. We believe this platform creates a space where we can have constructive dialogue and come up with concrete solutions that can positively contribute to improving the state our country”.

Related: President Ramaphosa’s Support Of Entrepreneurs And SMEs In SONA Had Us Cheering

President Ramaphosa will be the highest ranking government official to address The Directors Event with his keynote message.  Previous keynote speakers at The Directors Event have included Caroline Galvan (Lead Economist & Editor: Africa Competitiveness Report for the World Economic Forum), and Mcebisi Jonas (Former Deputy Minister of Finance).

Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, Minister of Science & Technology, and Enoch Godongwana, Chairperson of the ANC sub-committee on Economic Transformation will also be representing the perspectives of Government and the governing party during the round-table discussions at this year’s event.


The Directors Event programme is tailored for corporates, SMEs, educators, and non-profit organisations who are serious about turning South Africa’s socio-economic crisis around.

The Directors Event will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre on 8 June 2018.  To view the 2018 agenda, speaker profiles, or to book tickets: www.thedirectorsevent.co.za 

The Directors Event brought to you by the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies and MMI Holdings Limited, is supported by partners Mancosa (GSB), the Institute of Directors (IoD SA), and Greymatter & Finch.

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