Thursday, January 6, 2011

Agent Growth

My name is Graham Lettner. I manage the Mobile Transactions (MTZ) Agent network in Zambia.

This blog post has just one point: our Agent network has grown so much since a year ago that it’s near unrecognizable—and the growth is only going to speed up.

The first photo here is where we were at a year ago: Monze, Southern Province, signing up a few Dunavant cotton farmers for MTZ on-phone accounts. It took an hour of presenting, another hour of convincing, and two more hours to open all of the 15 accounts.

Less than a year later, based on changes to our payment model for farmers and the hardwork of a start-up in a fight for our life, we paid literally thousands of auto-registered farmers in Eastern Province in the space of weeks.

When we first started, every employee with a motor vehicle drove up and down Zambia cajoling, coaxing, and prevailing upon mom-and-pop shop o

wners to become Agents on our network. Heck, we gave out phones for free so they could transact and loaned out millions of kwacha for working floats. We didn’t see many of those phones or much of that money ever again—but it’s what was needed to get early traction.

This second photo shows how different things are today. Golden Kamasumba, an early Agent of ours in Mansa, Luapula Province has not only bought space in a new complex in town to have a second Agent location, but on his own initiative he painted his existing shop in our company’s colours. He’s one of our early Agents ready to expand on his own of many of our early Agents ready to expand on his own now that we've fully proven our value proposition.

Last thing: Thomas Friedman wrote about our company in the New York Times the other week. Okay, so it wasn't our company exactly, but a similar start-up in India getting the same kind of traction with mom-and-pop agents across the country. Really, the only difference is that he spent two weeks researching in India instead of Zambia.

Our business is hot, red hot. We’ve already got traction and now we’re picking up speed.

No comments:

Post a Comment