There is no question that franchising’s saving grace in a struggling economy is the fact that, by its very nature franchising is entrepreneurial, flexible and forward-thinking. Not only does it continue to be resilient, but it also offers, largely due to its strong business format and support system, a better chance of surviving the ups and downs.
Thinking outside the box and looking for ways and means to cross-promote and reach new markets is a trait that many of FASA’s members do extremely well. They are the ones who find a ‘niche’ that sets them apart or, by default, thrive on the back of challenging conditions.
Many second-hand franchises and those in the DIY and Automotive sectors are thriving on the back of consumers who need to cut their spending by repairing rather than buying new or looking at the second-hand market for bargains.
Using other brands or entities to cross-promote your offerings is another way to get more reach. Kauai, for example, partners successfully with Virgin Active Health Clubs and Discovery Health through their rewards programmes, apps and newsletters with many workouts at the gym ending with a satisfying smoothie or healthy snack from Kauai.
Convenience stores within fuel forecourts are another way established brands are offering after-hours convenience to consumers. Whether you stop in at a Wild Bean Cafe or get your caffeine fix at your favourite Seattle on the way to work; pick up your favourite Steers or Wimpy for lunch as you fill up your car or pop into the convenient Woolworths, Pick n Pay or Fresh Stop to pick up those last-minute groceries, strategic partnership between brands and cross-promoting ensures increased market share and better brand awareness.
Health, wellness and exercise is another area that has done well in South Africa and will continue to do so as it widens its appeal from the standard gym offering. Globally we see innovative workout concepts like FASA members Bodytec and Body20 that use EMS (Electro Muscle Stimulation) and new entrants like rowing, kick-boxing and those that combine ballet and yoga. Many have linked in with the banks’ rewards cards to reach new customers.
The Beauty & Wellness sector is also an area of growth as specialist beauty services now cater to men as well and now include nail salons, waxing salons and even vitamin boosting clinics.
One of the things that make South Africans unique is that all of us have a bit of entrepreneurial spirit. Our country was built by people like ourselves, who were ready to open their own businesses and become the economic leaders of tomorrow.
New business ideas are rarely ‘new’ – and no doubt you’ve read an article just like this one every new year. What makes new business ideas ‘new’ is innovation and nuances to existing ideas. Of course, franchising is about following a system and franchisees can’t really add to it with their own flair. However, you can make suggestions to the franchisor to make it innovative and ‘new’ – e.g. The McDonald’s Big Mac was a franchisee invention suggested to the top.
Whether you’re looking to boost your existing franchise in 2020 or to buy a new franchising concept, you need an idea of what type of business is right for you, then get creative within your operation.
Franchise website Whichfranchise has identified the top five business ideas that are current as well as eternal:
1. Food franchises
Everybody has to eat, right! They will carry on needing to eat until the end of time. Get the right idea and you can scarcely lose. Find ways within the rules of your franchise business to leverage South Africa’s many traditional cuisines.
If you’re looking to buy into a franchise, find a restaurant or fast-food franchise offering authentic South African cuisine, or see if you could add it your existing menu. For instance, large franchised grocery chains like Woolworths, Pick ‘n Pay and Spar make an effort to promote traditional South African food including boerewors rolls, milk tarts and koeksisters. Another possible idea is an outreach programme from your existing food outlet by opening up a food truck. These are growing in popularity.
You can serve traditional South African food to locals and visitors outside local hotspots and tourist destinations.
2. Senior Care
The dichotomy of South Africa is that notwithstanding the youthful average age of the population, a significant sector is also living longer. South Africans are getting older, fast, and the demand for qualified senior care is skyrocketing. Senior care businesses work by providing in-home care to people as they age. The owner of a senior care franchise would typically focus on finding new clients while hiring others to actually provide the care.
Find a franchise that educates. South Africa ranks 56th out of 60 countries in a recent study on illiteracy by Central Connecticut State University.
We also rank 56 out of 60 for computer illiteracy. Like food, education is an evergreen business idea. New low-cost housing estates proliferating around the country are increasingly offering after-school training and activities to kids to keep them out of mischief as much as to educate them. There is potential there for franchising concepts to bridge the education gap within South Africa.
Keeping kids physically active is an integral part of the above concept, so there are sporting options too. On a broader scale, as health and fitness evolve the demand for quality fitness training is outstripping supply.
People are demanding not just gyms but in-home trainers to help them achieve their goals of living a healthier lifestyle.
A a large portion of South Africa’s economy is directly linked to tourism. South Africa was voted 48th out of 141 countries as a popular place to visit by the World Economic Forum. South Africa’s popularity among wealthy international visitors stems from its rich natural resources, cultural heritage and quality infrastructure.
There are still many tourism-related opportunities which are restricted only by imagination.
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