United Networkers Africa

Entrepreneur: Mustapher Ssebyala, 25

Mustapher runs United Networkers Africa, which provides personal and professional development support and training for network marketing business professionals in Uganda, including organising conferences that bring in external speakers. He also sells personal and professional development material such as books and DVDs.

Consultant: Shelly Heaven Bailey, 35

Shelly is a Chartered Global Management Accountant with 15 years’ experience across a range of areas including education, insurance, and property management and has held CFO roles. A Jamaican living in London, she has worked at PwC as a management consultant for six years, focusing on corporate and business strategy development, business process improvement and finance function transformation across the UK, US, Singapore and the Caribbean.

Business challenges and objectives of the project

The aim of the project was to improve the profitability of the DVD sales operations. Analysis of basic financial information on costs and revenues made clear that costs were high, profitability was low and that sales commissions were a very high percentage of sales. Delivery costs were also very high and were a significant percentage of sales. After researching sales commissions for similar businesses they discovered that Mustapher was paying up to three times more in some cases.

The results

Working with Shelly, Mustapher implemented a new commissions structure that was more than 50% lower than what he was paying before. He introduced a tiered incentive system to increase commissions based on increased volume of sales. He investigated new delivery options and negotiated discounts with couriers based on volumes, which led to more than a 50% reduction in delivery costs. Profitability rose 40% and he took on three new information technology specialist workers. All are specialist in Information Technology System. A new model was suggested for recruiting sales people nearer to the target market and locations, which would significantly increase sales. The changes led to a reduction in costs and increase in profitability, DVD sales also grew with the increase in the number of sales people.

The impact on Mustapher

“My business skills have improved as a result of working with Shelly as have my time management skills and my techniques in customer relations and ensuring I follow up enquiries. I can now market my products and services online. Finally I have learned how to separate my personal money from the company money. This year we are expanding to home based business consultancy or network marketing or direct selling industry consultancy here in Africa.”

The impact on Shelly

“Grow Movement gave me an opportunity to have experience of providing business advice in a completely new business context, culture and country. This enhanced my overall breadth of business and consulting experience. Grow allowed me to do some volunteer activity where I can give back to society in some way, while still fitting in with my life without too much disruption when compared to some other types of volunteer activities. It’s a fantastic opportunity to utilise your business knowledge and make an impact with micro-entrepreneurs that really need this help and potentially do not have the capability.”

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