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Learning from the best at FASA's breakfast seminars

FASA’s monthly breakfast seminars are in full swing and both the February and March seminars focused on managing a business effectively when times are tough. Ian Lourens, CEO of Onelogix (owners of PostNet & Cash Converters amongst others), former FASA Chairman and guest speaker at both seminars, had one unified piece of advice for both franchisors and franchisees - GET BACK TO BASICS! “No-one is immune from the hard times,” said Ian Lourens at the talks. “Basics in business apply to all kinds of businesses - new businesses, big businesses, struggling businesses and thriving businesses - when the going gets tough, basic principles apply.”These include:

* Face Reality. Don’t get caught by surprise - always pre-empt problems and be prepared for them.

* Things will probably get worse before they get better. Don’t under-estimate the severity of a situation - being forewarned means you can be fore-armed.

* Cash is King! In these tough times, looking after the pennies might be your saving grace. Follow these words of wisdom: “Turnover is flattery... profit is sanity... cash is reality!”

* Get back to Basics. Applying strategic objectives to refocus your business is imperative. Analyse your business to see where there is wastage, look at ways of negotiating terms with suppliers and understand your customer and his changing needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s my value proposition? Have a clear idea of the who, what and why.
  • Why should people buy from me? Understand your customer and clearly communicate your differentiating points.
  • Is my business sustainable? Are my margins sustainable, can I absorb the tough times and can I move to the next level?
  • What differentiates my business from the competition? Often the difference between an average and good business lies in the small details.