Jeff - Nov 30, 2020

How to grow a business in times of COVID in South Africa

South Africa is a strategic country with the potential of developing in-app services

In the doom and gloom of the economic recession, the Tech economy grabs its spotlight to be crucial for Recovery. COVID-19 has accelerated the digitization of the offline economy, making tech companies even more important than they already were.

The actions of ecosystems today will help determine how they will be positioned on the global stage tomorrow. At the same time, this is a unique opportunity to rebuild our economic communities with a lower negative impact on the environment and a stronger focus on inclusion and fair access to the amazing value that tech ecosystems create.

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Minimize the negative impact of COVID-19 on company operation

This unusual situation is affecting all types of companies, large and small, from almost all sectors, on a global basis; and of course, Jeff is no exception.  However, taking into consideration that laundry is a daily customer need, the demand for our service is still high and we, therefore, had to work to find a way to keep serving our customers under an unpredictable situation like COVID-19. 

In each country, we worked closely with all our Jeff internal teams to ensure support routes for our partners that want to continue operating, to be able to do so. Even though there was a time that we were forced to temporarily close our stores offline, thanks to our technological platform we were able to remain operating online while implementing contactless delivery to minimize the impact of COVID on our franchisor's business. The online orders of Mr Jeff service have been hardly impacted and have actually increased slightly compared to before the pre pandemic numbers. 

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COVID-19, It is not only the time to find ways to survive, but also time to look for opportunities for development in the pandemic at Jeff South Africa. 

As the fastest growing franchise in the world with over 2,300 franchises in +40 countries, in times of crisis, we continue to grow.. Entrepreneurs are still looking to invest as they know that all crises are temporary, and they are searching for investment opportunities that can provide high returns with low risk, as well as self-employment.  

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At Jeff, we consider ourselves to be nonconformists. When faced with challenges, we see opportunities. Looking back in history, today's great companies were created in period of crisis. We want to learn from them and also think of this as a “Short-term Crisis, Long-term Opportunity”. 

Throughout the pandemic, we are taking the time to rethink our strategy and execution plans  that were being executed in order to work smarter. Our teams bring forth innovative solutions to improve our service and to ensure we stay more relevant than ever.  We also continue to stay united as a team, and thus keep all our staff up to date through company-wide zoom updates on a weekly basis and even offer online classes of fitness, beauty tutorials and dancing for our employees.

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Partners will always be the first and most important priority

Without question, our commitment to our franchisees is fundamental and we put all the means at our disposal to help them with everything we possibly can.

First by stalling the royalty or Marketing fee of all franchisees from March to June and working on offering legal and financial management advice at their disposal to reduce their costs during the crisis, as well as marketing advice for the scenarios where they can continue to operate.  

In addition, we generated operational protocols to guarantee the security of the processes in all the Jeff centers, both for the employees and for the clients. As an example, we supported partners to implement extra safety measures such as staff wearing new masks and gloves daily, machines being sanitized with 70% alcohol in-between loads, floors being sanitized with 1:10 diluted sodium hypochlorite (bleach), drying all cotton garments for at least 30 minutes in our dryers and launching a new contactless delivery service, among others. 

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From a marketing perspective, we adjusted quickly in the way we communicate with our customers through direct emails and social networks. After realising how our brand can play a role in people’s lives during this crisis, we switched gears to respond to two main user needs: giving them certainty through informative content on how to take care of their clothes to stay safe, and becoming a source of entertainment and emotional support for our users in need of connection.

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The quick recovery globally supports the business plan

This crisis is manifesting the highest peaks of the epidemic at different times in different parts of the world. 

Having such broad global coverage, with a brand that is present on 4 continents and in more than 40 countries, means that we have a flexible business model that allows us to allocate resources to the markets where needed. In the case of South Africa we were even able to open our first Mr Jeff store during the pandemic. We gave the partner the support he needed to start operating as soon as possible and provide users with the online service they needed during this time. 

In South Africa we will continue to open new Mr Jeff laundry stores as the pandemic has eased. As soon as we are able to go back 100% to normal we will continue betting big in Africa as one of our priority markets, so watch this space!

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Written by Jeff