Cape Point, and Business Plans


Sunday I woke up after not a ton of sleep and headed over to Green Point to see an old friend from the U.S. (rather, a friend I hadn’t seen in many years) and his wife. On the agenda for the day was a repeat of last year’s tourist excursion to Boulders Beach at Simon’s Town and then Cape Point.

The drive itself down there is a reward in and of itself as it is just stunning. Also, those penguins are just adorable although it seems like there are possibly even fewer this year than there were last year. I will hope they were just hiding somewhere as the day wasn’t the nicest – a tad overcast and cloudy. That was probably the most unfortunate part of the trip, that my friends couldn’t see the full glory that is False Bay on a clear day. Well, they will just need to return.

Monday morning we had our first business coaching sessions with the Purple Heart guys. Mine is named Patrick and, like the others, is from Khayelitsha. At first we got to know each other a little bit – the best part of this is that since I am from the U.S. I had the opportunity to show him some pictures of things he had never seen; namely fall foliage, snow, and the deep green of summer. One of the most interesting insights I had from this is when I showed him a picture of my place in Bolton the first thing he asked was wasn’t I afraid to live there. I said no, why would I be, to which he replied that neighbors were nowhere in sight. So interesting – I guess it makes sense as he has been his whole life in a very densely populated environment, but that thought had never occurred to me. After that we went over the sales reporting; we couldn’t do inventory for lack of a starting inventory count. I would say the main lesson of this day was the concept of profit – Purple Heart is selling him candy bars for, for example, R8, and he is then selling them for R10, so the profit per bar is R2, and just because he has taken in R10 doesn’t mean he gets to keep all of that because he needs to restore his inventory.

On Monday also a group of eight Norwegians began volunteer work at heart, tasked with writing business plans for several of our concepts that no one has had time to write business plans for. The group is in graduate school, with a diverse set of backgrounds (mostly business, economics, finance, marketing – and one guy who studied civil engineering!). Anyway they do not require a great deal of business training, but I was tasked with giving them an overview of our business plan template. This, unsurprisingly, quickly morphed into supervising their progress and helping get them the materials they need to do what they need to do.

At the same time, I spent a good deal of time working with my co-worker on the Purple Heart business plan, getting through most of the market and industry analysis sections.

Unfortunately I haven’t had a ton of time to work on my own materials – I was doing a good job of balancing this with working on Purple Heart, but this plus supervising four groups of people is taking up nearly all my bandwidth. So, I am going to have to get more efficient for one thing.

Wednesday being a national holiday, we had the day off. My plans for the day included waking up quite early to go hiking, and I was pretty exhausted as it was I did not join my friends for a night out on the town. Apparently it was quite a good one, but as they did not get back until 3:30 in the morning and I had to be ready for pickup at 7:45 I am quite glad I went to bed relatively early!

Of course through all this is World Cup: since the games are on in prime time here I think I have watched every single evening game. The Tuesday night game between Italy and Paraguay was in Green Point and a bunch of my friends went. I would have been jealous had the weather not been absolutely freezing and pouring rain, and they had to walk all the way to and from the stadium like that, ha!

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