It’s time to think laterally about spring cleaning your business, says Cash Converters CEO Richard Mukheibir – convert this seasonal chore into an opportunity to market your brand internally and externally.
Building greater cohesion and motivation across the Cash Converters franchisee network has been an unexpected spinoff of their first network-wide promotion, the company now realises.
“Like any trader, we find that some goods move fast but other stock lingers so we decided to experiment with our first-ever Spring Clean Sale in early September,” he says.
“The idea of clearing some of our inventory quickly at discounted prices is a perennial, of course. But what seems to have made the difference was how we implemented it.”
Related: Cash Converters Franchise Listing
Franchising typically appeals to owner-operators who want a small business that combines independence and franchisor support. It was not possible to be absolutely sure how franchisees would respond to this first-ever promotion across the Cash Converters network.
“In the event, we were blown away that 100 per cent of stores participated,” Mukheibir says. “Overall we were rewarded with a strong spike in sales – from 25 per cent to nearly 40 per cent, depending on which period you use as a baseline. There is no doubt that we all ended up surprising ourselves.”
That is because everybody in the network, from head office to each of the 82 stores, tackled the promotion according to the Cash Converters values of passion, professionalism, integrity, respect and collaboration, Mukheibir believes. The promotion was driven by a team of 18 in operations, marketing and training at head office. They were reinforced by online motivational material, including a video message from Mukheibir himself.
Countdown calendars were devised to guide franchisees and their staff through preparations for the sale, from selecting items for markdown to submitting material for local area marketing. This was driven largely across social media, with paid ads in news feeds reaching nearly 1,2 million people of whom just over 28 per cent engaged with the ad. Meanwhile, staff at stores enjoyed getting creative with the promotional material, engaging enthusiastically with the novelty of a network-wide Cash Converters promotion.
“Because this was a first for us, we created a special Spring Clean Sale training module for staff that we could deliver through our state-of-the-art e-learning platform,” says Mukheibir.
“This was originally designed to assist with training new franchisees and staff and to deliver refresher training but we now see that we can capitalise on its potential even further in future.
“We ourselves were surprised at how quickly we saw uptake on the promotion and on the associated tasks and goals. We realise that this will be just the first of many and we have an excellent vehicle to launch future promotions, campaigns and initiatives.”
We are all familiar with the concept of using spring cleaning in a practical way to freshen, order and take stock at your business premises but the far-reaching impact of this Cash Converters promotion made him realise that we could be missing an opportunity as business leaders, says Mukheibir.
“We talk to our customers about benefitting from a spring clean to easily turn unwanted items from their homes into cash at one of our stores but we do not look at what spring cleaning can offer businesses internally,” he says.
“There is no doubt in my mind that spring cleaning allows businesses to capitalise on the team effort it mobilises to build greater cohesion and motivation among staff. It is a concept that you can employ whenever it suits your business cycle and is a rewarding opportunity that should not be missed.”
Africa’s Top 10 Tech Start-Ups Selected For #Africa4Future Accelerator Programme
Airbus and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have announced the top 10 African tech start-ups that will take part in the latest Airbus Bizlab #Africa4Future accelerator programme. They were selected after an open public pitch event in front of experts, potential investors, the media and other stakeholders in Kenya’s capital city.
#Africa4Future is a joint business accelerator initiative of Airbus and GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa initiative together with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a non-profit seed fund and pan-African organisation that brings together startups, entrepreneurs and the tech community, and Innocircle, the South African-based innovation consultancy.
The top 10 start-ups were selected from 314 entries representing 19 African countries that were received when the challenge was opened last October. These were assessed by a panel of Airbus and other independent experts.
The programme aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship in Africa. The continent’s young and increasingly techno-savvy population is likely to be the driving force behind Africa’s socio-economic development. The competition identifies Africa’s own pool of talented entrepreneurs using innovative aerospace based solutions to tackle the continent’s most pressing challenges such as transportation, agriculture and healthcare.
As a global aerospace accelerator, Airbus BizLab is ideally suited to help African startups transform innovative ideas into viable and valuable businesses. In doing so, it increases the aerospace industry’s engagement with hardware and software innovators and entrepreneurs in Africa while helping to nurture the establishment of competitive entrepreneurial ecosystems on the continent.
The Nairobi event kicks off an intensive 6-month business incubation and accelerator programme involving technical, commercial and mentorship activities in France, Germany and South Africa. This includes workshops and coaching sessions with Airbus experts, GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa, MEST and Innocircle coaches.
The programme will culminate with Demo Day events at the biennial Paris International Airshow and a special event in Germany from 19-26 June, when finalists will launch their products, define their collaboration with Airbus and announce their investment commitments in front of representatives from across the aerospace industry.
1. Astral Aerial (Kenya) – using drones for humanitarian cargo transport, surveillance and emergency response.
2. Cote d’Ivoire drone (Ivory Coast) – locally-manufactured drones for various applications.
3. Elemental Numerics (South Africa) – applies computational fluid dynamics techniques to the design of machines and components, ranging from aircraft to heart valves.
4. Lentera Limited (Kenya) – applying remote sensors to monitor and transmit environmental data to enable more efficient and smarter farming.
5. Maisha ICT Tech PLC (Ethiopia) – deploying locally built drones for delivering medicines, blood and healthcare items to remote and rural areas.
6. MamaBird (Malawi) – provides a platform to help Governments, NGOs and other organisations deliver vital life-saving supplies to remote communities.
7. Map Action (Mali) – a solution offering real-time online urban mapping to identify problems affecting water supplies, hygiene and sanitation.
8. MobiTech Water Solutions (Kenya) – an online real-time water monitoring solution that allows businesses, homes and water-service providers to manage their available water using an app-based dashboard and instant messaging.
9. Track Your Build (Nigeria) – a novel infrastructure management tool for construction and operations.
10.WiPo Wireless Power (South Africa) – offers reliable and convenient wireless power chargers for businesses, conference centres, airports, restaurants and other venues for the charging of mobile devices, laptops and drones.
Related: 21 Steps To Start-Up Success
Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
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