There’s a bit of salesmanship in most Zimbabweans. You don’t need to go far to see that. Whether it’s because of an entrepreneurial spirit or an adaption to the current harsh economic environment (just look at the vendor saga), there’s always someone who’s dabbling with some sort of sales.
Now, local telecoms operator TelOne is tapping into that sales streak. In a recent advert, TelOne started inviting people interested in becoming sales agents for its products and services to submit their details at Harare’s Main Post Office or through any other publicly available TelOne contacts.
TelOne has extended this offer to entrepreneurs who are willing to set up in Ruwa, Mt Pleasant Heights, GoodHope, Westgate, Mainway Meadows and Norton. These are some of the areas that have received the TelOne Fibre service, so any further rollout will likely be in areas where TelOne Fibre ends up next.
The whole idea is a fairly smart way of growing a distribution network, creating visibility for the brand and offering convenience to subscribers in the areas where these agents operate from.
TelOne won’t be the first telecoms operator to do this, though. Mobile operators like Econet have been taking advantage of the Zimbabwean sales and entrepreneurship streak for a while.
Some of the Econet Shops are actually franchise stores and more recently Telecel introduced its own franchise stores and Kiosks. Africom, an internet service provider, also made a call for entrepreneurs, or wifi-preneurs willing to become Africom WiFi distributors.
These operators realised that in a business environment where setting up a shop and keeping it operational are difficult, franchising has a lot of merit. There’s also the added dynamic of local unemployment that hasn’t been made any easier by recent job cuts. A lot of people who are looking at new opportunities might take this up.