Eastern Cape winner turns on the heat
ASIMPLE philosophy of hard work and ensuring that he has happy customers by doing quality work - on time, every time - is this year's award-winning franchisee's recipe for success.
Six franchisees from diverse industries toasted their success as independent entrepreneurs and finalists in the Franchisee of the Year category at Thursday night's Fasa gala awards banquet to honour achievements in franchising.
Winning Franchisee of the Year was Robert van Helsdingen from Speedheat in George. The other category finalists were Debonairs Pizza in Maritzburg, 7 Eleven in Penlyn, MSC Training in East London, Glowgetters on the West Rand and Wimpy in Nelspruit.
This award is sponsored by Standard Bank of South Africa, which has embraced the promotion of SMME entrepreneurs. The Franchisee of the Year award honours those hard-working entrepreneurs who make up the network that is a franchise.
They are the workers of the hive, who run their businesses to a strict franchise format laid down by their franchisors and who build and promote their successful brand.
Robert van Helsdingen, with his wife Hendra, have had their catergorywinning Speedheat franchise since 1995 and operate in the Southern Cape region. Their business, installing carpet-heating units under new or existing carpets as well as floor-tile heating, has grown by leaps and bounds and is a thriving, financially sound business.
Growth year-on-year from 1995 to 1996 was 346% - with a further 248% in 1996/97.
"And this," comments Van Helsdingen, " was achieved in the traditionally slow economy of the Eastern Cape"
Both he and company franchisor Thomas Kretzschmar believe that the secret to the success of any franchise lies in adherence to the "tried and tested" formula laid down by the franchising operations manual.
"Speedheat in George has meticulously stuck to our tried-and-proven formula of customer service and attention to detail to such a degree that not only did they achieve the largest growth of all our franchisees but were still able to achieve the second-lowest damage control figures," Says Kretzschmar:
Van Helsdingen sees his loyalty to the franchisor as the reason for his success. "My accounts for royalties, advertising levies, fault-finding contributions and purchases are fully paid for and up to date - in return my franchisor has often extended credit in times of phenomenal growth which I was unable to finance at times."