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This month we discuss property investment as safe haven; we feature Brett Venton and Frikkie de Klerk in our success stories; and Byron Jeacocks, Business Partners Limited Regional General Manager, offers some guidance on securing finance.
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November 2013   |   Volume 5.11

Business property remains safe haven for careful investors

Only economists are brazen enough to predict the future and Owen Holland states upfront that he is no economist. But as Business Partners’ property investment general manager, overseeing a portfolio of close on R1 billion, his feeling of optimism for the property market as an investment haven in the coming year is not entirely a thumb suck.

Holland says even if the market remains as flat as it has over the past five years or so, quality commercial and industrial properties still boast yields above most other investment classes, and will probably continue to do so in the near future.

He believes that the South African property market is not as directly exposed to shocks in the global economy as, for example, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Any of the imminent setbacks to the global economy, for example the raising of the close-to-0% interest rates of the developed world, or the tapering off of America’s policy of quantitative easing will reflect immediately in the JSE indices, but not necessarily in property values.

Success story:
Retail tenant takes ‘ownership’ of his environment

Brett Venton’s approach to retail is so customer-focused that he thinks not only about the inside of his shops, but tries to shape the environment around them as well.

The idea, says the 37-year-old retailer from Kloof in Durban, is to create an environment in which shopping becomes an experience. “The kids can come and have a frozen yogurt, dad can have a coffee and mom can do the shopping,” says Brett.

He believes so strongly in this principle that he started a coffee shop and a frozen-yogurt bar to complement his chain of shops, which includes a Superspar...

Success story:
No need to retire when business becomes a hobby

After building up and selling a chain of cell-phone stores in Cape Town, Frikkie de Klerk spent seven months at home in retirement. He nearly went mad. “I would drive out to the shops to go buy a Coke, just to get out and do something. An hour later I’d go again,” says the 72-year-old serial entrepreneur. “I saw that if I kept on doing this, something was going to happen, and it wouldn’t be good.”

Eventually, Frikkie made peace with the fact that he simply needed to be involved in a business – it is both his hobby and his reason for getting up in the mornings. Today, Frikkie runs a thriving Supa Quick fitment workshop in Brackenfell with his son Abrie and has recently bought the centre in which the business is situated.

Securing Financing

By Byron Jeacocks

A typical cry among entrepreneurs is the lack they have in accessing finance, often berating the difficulties they experience in securing the funding to either establish or grow their businesses. However, in pointing one finger elsewhere, the reality is there are three fingers that point back at you.

Financiers have limited funding available; are either offered security that is not acceptable or not offered security in any format and are faced with the difficult task of proving an entrepreneur's ability to service the debt.

This means they hold the cards in terms of choosing the best candidates behind which to place their investments. Not only can they choose, but it is their responsibility to their stakeholders to make those decisions based on information they are given.
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