DURBAN - Durban’s first International Franchise Expo at the weekend closed with satisfied franchisors leaving with extensive lists of potential franchisees and an undertaking for a bigger and better 2020 expo.
Speaking to guests at the launch of the expo Councillor Busi Ndlovu said eThekwini fully supported the event as small businesses formed the backbone of the economy.
The City wanted to ensure that SMME’s were included in the mainstream economy and that they grew into mainstream economic players. She also indicated that the City wanted to work with Ithala in developing SMME’s and co-operatives.
Ithala’s Deputy Chairman Siphesihle Mkhize said that forging developmental partnerships was important if Ithala was to deliver on its goals.
He said the South African franchise system had weathered the economic downturn better than other business models. The sector had grown steadily and continued to make a strong contribution to the South African GDP across its various sectors.
Mkhize also pointed out that franchising was a model that banks were more open to possibly financing because they knew franchisors would support the franchisees.
"What do your customers hate about doing business with you? You need to listen. What can you do about it as your job is to solve the problem for them," he said.
Vera Valasis Executive Director of the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA) said, "We tend to always look at the negatives in business and we miss the wonderful opportunities we have and that we have the right young people with the right attitude who want to work and to be developed".
Valasis said the one thing people outside of the industry hated about franchising was the difficulty in finding funding.
"Now here is Ithala offering a solution to the problem. That is why we were so happy to partner with Ithala in bringing the Expo to Durban. We commend Ithala for putting a stake in the ground and we believe we will be back here next year with a bigger and better event," she said.
While most of the more than 2000 visitors were from Durban the Expo attracted people from Swaziland, Mahlungulu on the Mozambique border, Johannesburg, Vryheid and Greytown among others.
The visitors made sure they got as much information about franchising as possible over the two days ensuring a full-house at all the Speaker’s Corner presentations. And the franchise experts had plenty of advice.
Lindy Barbour, Director Franchize Directions said that the onus was on the potential buyer to evaluate the franchise they wanted to buy and not a business consultant nor anyone else. You need to find out as much information from as many sources as possible.
The turnout and the interest surprised many franchisors, but the real work they said lay in following up on their extensive lists and it will be some weeks before they know how many of their leads will turn into sales.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE