This month we chat to Sylvia Klopper,business woman, dynamic entrepreneur, speaker and named one of Cosmopolitan’s ‘Fun and Fearless Females’; founder of subscription e-commerce businesses Rubybox.co.za and LingerieLetters.co.za. She tells us more about her latest venture in the health care space, CareChamp.
3 words that best describe you:
Spontaneous. Tenacious. Positive.
I cannot start my working day without…
Logging into our CareChamp app to see that all of our caregivers and companions in the field are doing great.
Tell us about your latest venture, CareChamp.
At CareChamp we believe that enabling elder or disabled people to stay in their own home is a combination between providing excellent patient care and the tools necessary to do so. We offer access to the very best caregivers and companions throughout South Africa. All our Champs are qualified, vetted and insured and supported by our nursing team. In our online shop you can buy or rent an array of different mobility aids and homecare furniture that will assist you or your loved one to enhanced quality of life.
How do you take on industries that you were previously unfamiliar with?
Healthcare is a complicated multi-faceted industry that works very different to what I am used to from my previous experience, hence it’s important to listen and learn, to attend industry events and network. I partnered up with a key relevant player in the market, namely Gizelle van der Merwe, founder of NIDO Nursing Academy, which trains the very best health care assistants in the country. Through this we “know” every person we work with personally, ensure a standard of training each person went through, as well as create a bond to the nursing team that trained the caregivers.
How do you turn a traditionally off-line offering into an online success?
Specifically with regards to CareChamp: I would not say something is an off- or online offering – simply that behaviour of people change with regards to “information” as well as “distribution” channels. Additionally using online technology assists in streamlining processes and creating scale.
With CareChamp being in a similar field as traditional “placement” businesses, the online space allows us to easily showcase relevant content such as videos of our CareChamps, online references etc. which help the customers in their online research process.
Also customers have the ability to book online with us as well as manage their bookings in our app communicating to caregivers as well as seeing them check-in and out of locations or seeing reports. Currently about 15% of customers use online booking facilities as most of our (indirect) clients are the kids of elderly patients and still more comfortable over the phone and email. However there is no doubt that online adaptation will grow in coming years.
Our strong tech focus however enables us to manage the bookings and caregivers and hence create efficiencies in our processes allowing us to scale.
How do you think online consumer behavior has changed the past decade?
It’s obvious to say that a professional online presence has become key, as “online” consumers perform their initial research of a company and its products and services online. The rise of smart phone penetration in the lower LSM segments opened (and continues to open up) exciting new business opportunities both to engage workforce (such as with CareChamp) or address a new consumer segment through online marketing channels.
Consumers also adapt more and more to trusting ecommerce as a distribution channel. Whilst still very small in South Africa, there is definitely an upwards trend. Furthermore in the last decade we have seen an incredible rise of video content. Globally video content accounts for 69% of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco.
You’ve been involved in several start-ups. What motivates you to start from scratch each time?
CareChamp is my third venture and after selling rubybox.co.za – which I was involved in for four years – a new venture was not far off the horizon. This time I drew my initial motivation from wanting to make a positive impact on the life of elderly, which I felt is a consumer group that is often neglected from being addressed with their needs and wants.
Population ageing is a reality. Globally by 2050, there will be more adults over 60 worldwide than children under 14. According to a AARP (aarp.org) study, 90% of seniors say they want to age in their homes for as long as possible. Even if they begin to need day-to-day assistance or ongoing health care during retirement, most (82 percent) would prefer to stay in their homes.
Best advice you can offer aspiring E-trepreneurs?
Of course this is now dependent on your idea and business model but often I have seen fellow entrepreneurs pay way too much money to develop tech platforms (myself included with my first venture). Create a minimum viable product – then test and iterate. My advice would be to not spend too much on initial tech before understanding what it really is that your consumer best responds to. Plenty of fantastic “off-the-shelf” software is available to use on monthly/ yearly rental models, which might not be 100% as per your spec but perfectly fine to start off with to test your business model.
When I am not working I am…
…in the water or on a mountain in South Africa – or somewhere else in a beautiful corner of the world.