I am writing this column for the past five yearsbut never before has its heading reflected whatI want to get across more than today. There is no point denying that times are tough and wehave to face up to that. The way I see it, wehave only two options. We can either wallowin self-pity and eventually go out of business, or we can marshal our considerable resourcesand continue our winning streak. As a memberof the OBC Team, you will have no doubt whichoption to choose.

This is hardly the time for me to brag aboutthe brand’s achievements. Rather, it is thetime to reach out to you, our franchisees, and remind you that we are in thistogether. Before I go into this some more, I want to restore your trust in the continued relevance of the OBC brand by relating to youone of its most recent success stories.

On 15th May 2019, African Alliance, our developmentpartner for the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerlySwaziland) and other neighbouring countries, opened their first OBC Better Butchery store in the Nhlangano district of the Kingdom of Eswatini.The reception our brand received exceeded ourwildest expectations. We have already secured an additional site in Matsapa and the store opening isplanned for July 2019. In the interim, you can read all about the first opening in a separate article by clicking the link below


Difficulties breed opportunities
Now let me return to the core topic of today’s newsletter: How can we get through these trying times and come out on the other end victorious? There is only one way to achieve that, namely by staying positive! Just think about it: Despite the difficulties we have tocontend with day in day out, South Africacontinues to provide fantastic opportunities for
those who are prepared to grasp them. There is no doubt in my mind that brighter days lie ahead. Granted, it may take a while but it will appen. In the meantime, let’s hang in there and do our thing to the best of our ability. And remember, unlike independent small business owners, you are not alone in this. Should you struggle with a business-related issue, members of the OBC Head Office Team are always willing to assist. Self-preservation aside, there is greater issue at play that deserves our attention. Life in South Africa has been good in the past and will be
good again. It may take some time but there is light at the end of the tunnel. In the interim, it is up to each one of us to contribute in our
own way towards the growth and success of the country we call home.

What can we actually do?
I wouldn’t blame you if you can’t remember but guidelines for ongoing improvement were published in this newsletter’s Vol 2 Ed 2 edition. This was back in 2016 but regrettably, taking care of the daily demands of operating the business caused the implementation of these guidelines to come off second-best. Fortunately, they have lost none of their validity, so I repeat them below. Their implementation features high on my agenda for the months ahead.

Charter of Accountability within the OBC Franchise Organisation
Highest standards of customer service excellence in dealing with our franchisees Highest standards of customer service excellence and community involvement
Highest standards of aggressive yet respon-sible buying for mutual benefit Highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene maintained throughout our stores
Highest standards of marketing utilising above, below or through the line channels Highest level of awareness regarding operational efficiencies in our stores
Highest level of national brand custodianship and brand promotion Highest level of brand awareness and pride in representing the brand locally
Highest level of hands-on franchisee support and training Highest level of transparency in dealings with Head Office staff and supplier representatives