Eric Parker – Consultant and Partner
The companies that survived 2020 were the ones that learnt to adapt quickly. The outdated proverb “if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it, was completely relevant this year. Covid -19 “broke” so many things and resulted in 2020 to be a year of adoption from online meeting, online shopping, living in isolation and for the most of us who were fortunate enough having quality time with our families, etc.
The biggest learning curve was being BBC (born before computers) and having to learn how to utilise technology to successfully interact with other and to implement various tasks.
The jury is still out on several things for example, I am not sure if “working from home” is as productive as people make it out to be. At the end of 2020 it will be a good to review the change that was forced on us.
Corporate companies are starting to see the value of franchising but due to their rigorous structures and cultures the transitioning to a franchise environment is seeming to be more complex, but it achieves great results and gives the corporate companies the opportunity to empower and develop individuals from within.
The damage Covid did to the society at large e.g. retrenchments, increased debt, downturn in the economy, etc will take years to repairs but we all need to be prepared to “vasbyt” in the immediate future and use 2021 as an opportunity to turn the situation around to the best of our abilities.
In times like this, it is necessary to look beyond the current situation and try to see the bigger picture. A Solution to the COVID-19 shake-out and increase rate of unemployment is to buy yourself employment by means of franchise opportunities. Buying a franchise is a life-changing decision. Individuals need to be entrepreneurial and consider buying or starting a business that will create employment for yourself and ultimately, members of your family.
This year we have seen such negativity and I strongly believe that we need to change the negativity by having a positive attitude and finding workable solutions to problems and challenges.
Sasha-Lee de Bod – Consutant and Partner
If 2020 has taught me anything, it is opportunities arise amidst all of the chaos, you need to be open and willing to grab them with both arms. The time is now or never, and you will never be completely ready for what waits for you around the corner. If you wait and sit back for life to happen or for the pandemic to pass, you might wait forever. It has been inspiring seeing businesses taking control of the situation, creating solutions to problems, and coming together as a collective to collaborate, grow and implement new strategies.
Managing your own business is the most rewarding opportunity, being passionate about what you do and having experience in your industry is certainly a big contributing factor to your commitment and drive to succeed. No textbook could ever prepare me for the pandemic and to successfully survive and thrive during times of uncertainty. It has been a year with the greatest learning curve for me, and I would advise any entrepreneurial individual considering venturing into their own independent operation or franchise opportunity to know what you are getting into, running a business is a big responsibility and a complete change in perspective and mind shift from your standard 8-5 career. I think the most challenging part of it for me, which I am still yet to master is to delegate and let go.
I realise now more than ever, having a support structure and a very capable team is essential to the success of any operation. The people really make the place and without my team, the transition to working from home in isolation, mastering online meetings and webinars, executing tasks and activities effectively to exceed client expectations, would have been very daunting if not for them.
Being in lockdown and isolation gave us all perspective in life, made us reconnect with those closest to us, helped us realise what we want to achieve or experience after the pandemic is over and allowed us to learn a few new interesting skill to pass the time.
By interacting with a wide spectrum of industries and businesses, I realised there is no one-size-fits-all solution to a successful business model and strategy, and you always need to rethink your business model to remain relevant in the market and prosper regardless of the economic conditions. I have seen drive, determination, and perseverance like never before in order to survive and overcome challenges. And this has inspired me to pro-actively and continuously revise, improve, and innovate our offering to the market to ensure that our client’s business model is geared for success.
We at Franchising Plus and Whichfranchise have weathered the storm, which was 2020. We survived, we had the opportunity to take the lessons from this year and learn to rethink, rebuild, improve, and grow from strength to strength. I am excited to implement new strategies and offerings successfully in the new year and to exceed your expectations in the new year.
Annie Baptiste – Franchising & Retail Management Skills Trainer
My insight for 2020 is that my average temperature is 36,4 C! Seriously, even the best ideas or innovations need a willing client base to make it succeed.
In 2019 we invested time and energy in online training and webinar based facilitation methodologies. We also spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince clients that these methods could work for them and their teams and even the companies who were willing to try, did not have great uptake. Along comes 2020 and all of a sudden nobody has a choice, but to go online.
Our innovation was slightly ahead of the market place’s willingness to try it, and this applies to most products and services. Without a willing market and buyer, even the best innovations are dead in the water.
Lesley-Caren Johnson – Operations & Procedures Lead
Even though it was a tough year for many, I was so inspired by those entrepreneurs who had no option but to change course – even short term – and came up with new products or services, and even new ways of doing things in their businesses. For some this was probably the survival instinct kicking in – it was sink or swim time for many – but the ability to turn situations around and be able to weather the storms this year has presented has been remarkable and I am in awe of them.
Personally, I rather enjoyed 2020 and even coped “just fine” with the hard lockdowns specifically. As someone who generally works from home, I did not really need to change or adapt to that part of the “new normal” but it did open my eyes to several opportunities for me going forward. I now know that I can pretty much work from anywhere in the country, and indeed the world and still provide my services to franchising clients. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the human interaction and of course going into all the different businesses we get to work with, but knowing I can achieve and produce a great operations manual product, even at a distance was a huge positive for me this year.
I was thrilled to see how quickly people adapted to online meetings and remote work, in fact how they embraced it; and I feel that this sets us up really well to take our online franchise management platform – HerdingCats – to the broader marker. The benefits of having such a powerful tool to help our clients run their franchise networks and communicate to their audience in real time are phenomenal. For example we were able to draft and publish COVID protocols and response plans in short turnaround times and make these available to the franchisees to ensure that they could get their businesses opened and operational in the quickest possible time. The business, and especially support from the franchisors’ teams, didn’t have to stop because a field service consultant couldn’t get around to visit his / her stores. Information and resources could be made available online and allowed for some form of continuity.
I am also encouraged by business owners and entrepreneurs who haven’t sat back and waited for someone else to sort out the problems but have decided that if 2021 is going to be a better year then the power is in their hands and minds. I’m looking forward to an exciting new year in the hope that we all continue to embrace business (un)usual and I can’t wait to see what new and exciting things we dream up and create for ourselves and our businesses – not because we have to, but because we want to!
Maria DAmico – Franchise Law Expert
2020 was the year of adaptability. The quicker one adapted to the environment the better one thrived in their business and grew as a person.
I needed to get up to speed on the Disaster Management Act (DMA), the constantly evolving regulations, the many court applications and reading of judgments handed down on these matters.
During the first few months of lockdown, a large portion of the legal advice I gave to my clients was on the DMA and the interpretation of the regulations. Many of my clients, who are franchisors, gave their franchisees moratoriums on their monthly management fees payable to them to assist them with their financial commitments. I also assisted a few tenants to negotiate a moratorium or reduction of their rental fees from their landlords and found that my clients who are franchisors were far more adaptable to assisting their franchisees during this year of commercial upheaval than the landlords were prepared to assist their tenants. I was fortunate and am extremely grateful that I, as well as my staff, were able to work from home and therefore the impact of COVID-19 and its severe lockdown regulations did not negatively impact D’ Amico Incorporated
Roz Sandham – Franchising Trainer
2020 was a bit surreal and I feel like we are all going to wake up and find it was a weird dream!
Having worked from home for so long, I was not impacted by that change. Having said that, I did miss going to the odd meeting and connecting with other people and feeling free to pop to the shops at short notice.
I did see many people struggling to adjust to the isolation of working at home and I think that it really challenged a lot of peoples “need for belonging”. The companies that were good about regular communication on various platforms helped some people through this.
Many people took time to learn/develop a new skill and many people made some lifestyle changes.
I witnessed some merciless decisions that have impacted individuals on many levels and in the long term the organizations that made very quick, thoughtless, decisions may take some time to recover as the economy opens up over time.
I also realized the importance of networking on an ongoing basis, even just through a phone call, as some surprising opportunities presented themselves as a result of this.
Those that were able to adapt to a new way of doing business have continued to thrive and those that did not will have to do so to survive into the future. Finally, for me 2020 was a great opportunity to spend time with my adult kids which would not have happened under other circumstances
Natalie Veli – Website and Marketing Coordinator
Working online is what I do but to me it has been amazing how the world has adapted to it through this crazy year. New, exciting and time saving ways to communicate have been awesome.
Even if we could not get outdoors, we could still socialise through so many platforms. Becoming even more creative with how we marketed our company and socialised was exciting.
Franchisee recruitment didn’t need to come to a halt, www.whichfranchise.co.za didn’t need to shut down and face-to-face meetings were replaced by all the fabulous and trending communication channels.
Unfortunately, not all advertising mediums are effective or offer a good return on investment, for example, billboards and magazines due to marketing budgets being reduced and ever-changing market needs and trends. I honestly believe that online is the most cost-effective and influential marketing space and was proud of how people took advantage of it and learnt how to use it during the tough time and are now able to continue implementing it.
What I truly respected during our slight anguish was the level of kindness and selflessness that was portrayed toward those that struggled by people and companies that weren’t just in it to survive by themselves and that of course, could afford to.
Other than that, I learnt that I cannot home-school my children, to raise them may take a village but to teach them may take a vineyard!