Understanding your market is key to entrepreneurial success
For Lerato Sibanyoni, owner of the Greenstone Cash Converters franchise, it was about spending time every day with customers to better understand their needs and then responding to these needs accordingly. Sibanyoni explains that after owning a Woodmead Cash Converters for five years, she relocated her branch to Greenstone, where her customer profile had changed considerably.
“After spending so much time building up our clientele and nurturing relationships, the Woodmead lease wasn’t renewed - but thankfully the Cash Converters Franchise Support Centre helped me locate a new site in Greenstone. Although the site wasn’t new and customers in the area were already familiar with the brand, we had to work hard to establish the company’s name amongst the many new homeowners in the area. I soon saw that I would have to shelve my learnings from Woodmead, where my customer base was made up largely of retirees.”
Finding out the best way to appeal to the new Greenstone market was time consuming and all absorbing but, she insists, also necessary. “Understanding your market is key,” says Sibanyoni. Her store is now well on its way to growth, but she says that it has yet to reach its peak. “The best is yet to come! We’re learning on the way, and we’re continuously striving for improvement.”
Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters, says Sibanyoni’s approach is important to the growth of any business. “Success lies in flexibility, being able to adjust your strategy and adapt to changing markets is an important competitive edge for any business. Sibanyoni did the hard work to find out what her customers wanted and then she strengthened her offering by making sure she carried the stock they required,” he says.
Having the backing of the strong Cash Converters brand name helped Sibanyoni quickly gain the trust of her new customer base. “Customers typically feel more secure buying from a business they recognise. Our franchising model also gave Sibanyoni access to our marketing plans and local store marketing techniques that helped grow the branch’s reputation in the community,” says Mukheibir.
He continues to explain that although a successful entrepreneur has a high risk tolerance, franchising takes out some of the risk associated with running an independent business. “With franchising you have a support system and guidance, enabling you to use someone else’s intellectual property to gain the skills and grow your business. Our business model gives our franchisees access to support structures, workships, mentorshp and training programmes that help branches through challenging times.”
Sibanyoni’s most important tip is to keep learning and try to do better, a motto that’s proven to be successful with the success of the Greenstone branch. It’s undeniably hard work, but made easier by the fact that she and her team are passionate about what they do. “We have a lot of fun. We meet a lot of people, and we try to understand where they’re coming from. This job teaches you to appreciate people’s inherent goodness, because it shows you that even when you’ve hit rock bottom, you will somehow find the strength to carry on. I’m inspired by my customers – they teach you to just keep going.”