By Phillip Chichoni
Econet Zimbabwe has just released its financial results for the half year to 31 August 2013. Its revenue is a staggering $376 million! Of that, roughly 18 percent is shared as commission by hundreds of its airtime wholesalers as well as thousands of retailers. You see the retailers everywhere daily. Thy are the guys and ladies you see standing by the roadside and other places where there is human traffic selling airtime.
You don’t need any advanced skills or high level education to sell airtime. Although there are some vendors with degrees and other higher qualifications, they don’t need them to make money from vending airtime. This is because their investment in Econet is not that much. Econet managers are the ones who have to worry about producing airtime cards, availing the network to users and ensuring that service is available 24 hours each and every day. Airtime vendors are just middlemen between the service provider and consumers. So you see making money does not take much.
The point that it is difficult not to make money was made clear last week at the BusinessLink Networking breakfast meeting. Guest speaker, Arthur Marara, who is an entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker and attorney, was sharing some words of inspiration with business owners present. Arthur’s own success in entrepreneurship supports this point that making money is not as difficult as most of us want to think. Arthur wrote a textbook, “A” Level Divinity, a few years ago. He took it to the Ministry of Education for approval as a school textbook. Once it was approved, he arranged for the printing of the books to meet the needs of thousands of “A” Level students at hundreds of high schools across the country.
How much investment did he put in this venture? Well, his normal education was a contribution. And so was missing some hours of watching soccer and African movies on television. Getting the cover designed cost him only $5. After getting the books printed, Arthur just needed to market them to high school students, selling a copy for $15. This is literally making money while you are sleeping.
If you can find a gap in a market, a need that is not being filled satisfactorily, you can easily start making money.
Some people hesitate to get into business because they have a phobia when it comes to selling. That is understandable. We are not all naturally extroverts who can easily start conversations with strangers and end up convincing them to buy something. But that does not prevent anyone from mastering selling and marketing skills. There are many good books on selling that you can read. You can also learn selling from others, particularly those who are doing well at it. Attend networking events and learn some new tricks while practicing selling. Even better, you can attend the Smart Business workshops on selling and marketing that the BusinessLink team has put together during the month of November. The workshops are as follows:
- Step by Step Guide To Starting a Business in Zimbabwe- Thursday 7 November 2013
- Marketing and Selling Strategy for Solid Results. Thursday 14 November 2013
- How to Succeed in Network Marketing. Friday 15 November 2013
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PS. You can also get my book: “High Impact Low Cost Marketing Strategies for SMEs”, available both in print and on CD. Click here or visit the Publications page on our website for details of stockists.