Business Lessons From Visafone

Just this year, I did my industrial training with Visafone Communications Ltd. They’re probably Nigeria’s biggest CDMA mobile network provider at the moment. I went there having high expectations of what I was going to learn that would be useful to me as an Electrical/Electronic Engineering student but I ended up learning a few others things apart from that.

  1. Packaging matters
    On my second day in Admin/Finance department, the auditor came in and saw me dressed a little casually. My shirt was flying and I was wearing leather slippers, more commonly called “palms” in Nigeria. After telling me that I should be dressed more formally, my supervisor then started lecturing me and another new staff on how finance workers (I’m an engineering student, duh) are supposed to look formal in general. He explained that on Fridays we could come a little casual but on other days, dressing formal would be appreciated.I noticed how Visafone employees, especially the ladies, made almost extreme efforts to look neat and very presentable. Sometimes you may ask yourself if some of them are not getting the idea wrong and dressing for fashion shows…I also noticed how the office was always cleaned. More like every hour. In fact, if something unwanted just scattered or spewed on the ground, the cleaners would be called in immediately.
  2. Diversify Your Investments
    Visafone is just one of the investments of Jim Ovia, the former CEO of Zenith Bank. It is generally known that he founded Zenith bank and owns a huge portion of it. His other investments are less known. He also owns part of Cyberspace Ltd, an internet solutions company.Now, here’s the best part. He doesn’t just have interests in a variety of companies, he also found a way to link them up together. Cyberspace does IT Support in every Visafone office. Then Visafone shops are located at every Zenith bank branch. Haven’t you noticed? Visafone dealers are encouraged to use Zenith bank accounts and Visafone employees’ salaries are paid in Zenith bank accounts. Mr. Ovia has ensured that his companies provide business for one another. They are independent as well as inter-dependent. It’s a smart business move for Ovia and his partners.
  3. Use Size to Your Advantage
    Visafone offices buy petrol using coupons, which helps them track their expenses and ensures special service for them in times of fuel scarcity as they are registered customers of the petrol station where they patronize. Their mail is delivered by FEDEX. The FEDEX man brings packages daily and takes new ones from the Visafone office. Visafone doesn’t even have to send anyone to FEDEX office to mail their packages, the mail man comes to them, unlike smaller businesses.
  4. Specify Employees Duties but Set them Free to use Good Judgment
    There were situations when employees just had to do a colleague’s job because he wasn’t around. In places with less harmony, such duties would be left undone. But Visafone employees have their jobs well cut out for them but with good judgment, they make sure nothing is left undone.