Ronel Talks Money: Bertus Albertse

Introduction:

He is young, bold, dedicated, a futuristic and passionate about what he does. Bertus Albertse had a difficult upbringing and having little money was familiar territory for him. Although he was a high-achiever at school, he didn’t finish his studies because of the demands from his young family. He was 24 years old when he disinvested the R85,000 he saved up and received a loan from a friend to start Body20 in his living room during 2013. Body20 is a fitness concept using world-class Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) technology. In 2014 he decided to go the franchising route and subsequently received the ‘Franchisee of the Year’ award in 2018. Seven years later Body-20 is an R80 million business with multiple franchises across South Africa, Namibia and Botswana as well as globally in the USA.

Let’s meet:

Name and surname:  

Bertus Albertse

Profession / title / business:

Founder of Body20 Global Franchise. Network and Serial Entrepreneur

How would you describe yourself?

I move quickly with a high level of agility and creativity. I am also very specific and clear about what I want and I approach it strategically and futuristically, while enjoying the process of taking and managing risks.

Tell us about your business?

I founded an international fitness franchise business called Body20, back in 2014 and since then we have developed over 60 locations in more than 3 countries. Our franchise locations specialise in EMS training and other peripheral health and fitness services.

What do you consider your proudest achievements / highlights?

Being a father of 3, winning New-comer Franchisor of the Year in 2017 and Franchisee of the Year in 2018. Expanding the franchise network internationally.

What was your biggest failure or lowest point in your career?

Numerous failed business ventures and broken relationship/partnerships as a result thereof.

How did you get back up after failure?

Focus forward with one foot planted in past experiences to ensure I learn from them and apply an improved approach and methodology to operating a business more successfully.

 

Cash flow, Cash flow and Cash flow…wherever my money is invested it has to sweat for me.

You need multiple revenue streams, simple as that!

Let’s talk money:

How would you describe your money mind-set?

Cash flow, Cash flow and Cash flow…wherever my money is invested it has to sweat for me.

What was your biggest discovery about money?

For many years, it felt like I was only making “a dollar a month” but looking back now I realise while I only made “a dollar a month, everyone else were losing $5”. Leverage the 8th wonder of the world…compounded interest! That’s the primary reason why people say “you need money to make money” which during most of my life I believed to be untrue, now I realise what they meant is that if you work for an income then it’s almost impossible to save but if you have let’s say $1M then it is inevitable for you to get to $10M as long as you are prepared to invest and wait without spending more money than your monthly wage or interest income. You need multiple revenue streams, simple as that!

What is your view about the importance of budgeting and do you have a budget?  

Yes, I love financial modelling and enjoy the process of creating a financial plan (i.e. budget, income schedule, cash flow forecast) for my businesses and person. It really reduces stress and uncertainty, I prefer to “look the devil in the eyes” instead of having nasty surprises. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to money matters.

How do you save money?

I don’t save, I invest in my businesses and FOREX mainly because of the liquidity and historical track record of these investment opportunities.

What is your favourite investment type / -s?

I used to only be in a position to invest in my own businesses because of capital constraints or limitations, essentially it’s all I had but more recently I try and diversify my investments in rental properties (+- 6% cash flow PA) and FOREX (30-40% cash flow PA).

What is your view about having an emergency fund?

If you have the mind-set based on fear your outlook is to mostly protect what you already have, then you will never be able to take maximum advantage of opportunities that can get you what you don’t have yet. Good and aggressive investing is the best emergency fund as long as you do your due diligence i.e. personal affordability, references, proper financial evaluation and track record.

Do you believe there is merit in being financially well organised – have all your policies in place, have a life file and a signed will etc.?

Absolutely, if your will isn’t structured correctly you might end up leaving nothing for your loved ones. Always consider your liabilities and estate duties/ taxes when setting up your life policies.

What tips do you have with regards to retirement planning?

Retirement annuities have some tax benefits but the weak historical growth and returns of these generic RA’s make them mostly terrible investments not to mention they are hard to access. I am not saying you shouldn’t plan for retirement, but don’t follow traditional investment strategies. Think for yourself and pursue other investment opportunities which you can contribute to monthly for example, Forex, stocks, bonds, businesses and do it while you are young and don’t have much to lose (or manage) yet.

Knowing what you know today, what would you have done differently when it comes to money decisions / management?

Gain financial literacy at a younger age and diversify my monthly investment strategy and definitely no RAs.

What is your advice to other people with regards to money management and building a better financial future for themselves and their families?

Don’t try and become an expert, seek out specialist in their fields to invest with. It’s not how, it’s always who!

There is opportunity where most people see risk, it’s really as simple as that as long as you and your team are able to solve these problems as they come up.

Let’s talk business, franchising and fitness

Bertus you achieved immense success at a very young age. What will your advice be to somebody who wants to start and build a successful business from scratch?

Planning is cheaper than learning from mistakes but don’t get paralyzes by analysis either. Clarity follows action, not the other way around. Before choosing what you want to do with your life make sure it’s something that you are good at and passionate about but more importantly, first establish if it is something that is going to be valuable in the future.

You have first-hand experience with franchising as a business model and you managed to roll it out very successfully. What are the pros and the cons people should consider when they plan on buying a franchise or want to introduce the franchise concept within their current business model?

First and foremost, franchising is not an extension of your current operations, it’s a complete different business model and operations and therefore it is not something you grow into. You have to decide it’s what you want to do to scale your brand (there are other options to scale as well so you should consider all options) and then work with the right franchise attorney and consultants to setup the correct franchise structure, systems etc. from the beginning. It’s painfully hard and expensive to change these things later down the line. Make sure you are able to deliver on your franchise value proposition because it’s not a quick way to create a successful brand and business if you aren’t delivering on your side as the franchisor. Franchising is a leadership strategy so make sure you are ready and prepared to lead your franchisees through good and tough times.

In theory fitness sessions would be regarded as a luxury item and the general assumption would be that such a business would struggle in times when we face recession, junk status and tough financial conditions. You proved this theory wrong. You also were bold enough to expand locally as well as globally during the tough times while many people probably warned you against taking this step. Tell us a bit about your thought process and bold moves?

There is opportunity where most people see risk, it’s really as simple as that as long as you and your team are able to solve these problems as they come up.

 You obviously have a passion for health and fitness. Do you believe there is a direct correlation between managing your health / fitness and managing your money?

Definitely. Although there are a lot of people that live for fitness and look the part who don’t really make good money. Otherwise there are a lot of principles in fitness that apply to money like the level of sacrifice, dedication and eagerness to learn that’s necessary for success as you go but know it takes time to develop maturity in your physique as much as it does in your finances.

To connect with Bertus Albertse

 

  • Website: www.body20.co.za
  • Facebook: bertus_albertse
  • Instagram: bertus_albertse

Related book explaining the relationship between financial fitness and physical fitness: Financially Fit and Wealthy

Thank You