Find out the Co-Founders’ advice for new franchisees, why the concept was a game-changer for the country and how different business perspectives help to strengthen the company.
A new concept for the new South Africa
“Nobody really aspires to get into the second-hand industry, but it made so much sense in the new South Africa,” says Richard Mukheibir, Co-Founder and CEO of Cash Converters Southern Africa, about the decision to bring the second-hand franchise model into the country in 1994. “At that time in South Africa, the franchise market was completely underdeveloped, compared to today ― and compared to the rest of the world,” he explains. Adds Peter Forshaw, Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer: “What sparked our imagination was the fact that besides building an international franchise business (a whole new concept in South Africa at the time), it was also a wonderful opportunity to develop entrepreneurs.”
Where it all started
For the duo who met at university, the excitement of bringing this upmarket retail concept – a place for people to buy and sell pre-loved goods ― to South Africa was tangible. What started as a single store in Parow in the Western Cape, owned and managed by Mukheibir for two years, has grown into a chain of more than 85 stores across Southern Africa, with more than 1 300 employees across the network.
Different approaches, common values
Each man brings different skill sets to the table. “Peter is extremely strong analytically and is a great entrepreneur as he can see business opportunities; he does a lot of our new business development,” says Richard. “My focus is to know what the opportunities and threats are for the business and to understand strategically where we need to go,” he adds. Although both approach business problems from very different perspectives, they come from a common value set – a combination that ultimately benefits the business.
A network to tap into
“Franchisees coming to us are sometimes people investing their total life savings into this business – from a money point of view and an emotional point of view,” says Richard. “From there, more often than not their whole family gets involved,” he says. Adds Peter: “We are a well-structured, carefully staffed, strategic organisation. We want franchisees to feel part of our network and to lean on HQ for support, whenever they need to, as we have the infrastructure to support this.”
Words to live by
“Our values – Passion, Professionalism, Integrity, Respect and Collaboration – are what really set us apart. They are critical, as they guide us in everything we do,” says Richard. They are words and characteristics that he wants all potential franchisees to live by. Testament to this is the fact that the first Cash Converters’ franchisee is still part of the company. Richard concludes, “The success of the business is really based on the success of every franchisee.”
Find out more about becoming a cash converters franchisee here.