Knowing about business drives up sales


Thatta: November, 2014: Ejaz finished a TVET course and was offered a full partnership in an existing mobile phone repair shop. His established partner has no regrets. Even splitting the proceeds he’s making a lot more now, in part because his young partner has come with lots of marketing ideas.

Twenty two year old Ejaz, from Nareja village just outside Thatta, had no doubt about what TVET course he wanted to do. He knew he wanted to work in the mobile phone repair sector because he reckons it offers plenty of opportunity. Young people, he says, are really keen to keep up with the latest trends. They can’t really afford to buy mobile phones all the time. But accessories, yes. And they’ll always need some repairs.

He finished his course in February. And because the course organised by CARE to raise the standard of TVET qualifications is so well regarded, he immediately got a job training others with the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Youth Development Fund. There he managed to save money, but not enough to set up in his own place.

However, a friend who had his own mobile phone repairs and accessory shop offered to have him join him as a full partner.

Business has picked up a lot since Ejaz joined, his partner said. Before I’d be make 15,000 rupees a month, now I make 50,000 rupees and we split it. He realises that this is in part because the shop is open much longer hours now that they can take turns. One of them can even go to a client’s home or business. But he thinks it’s also because his younger partner has a better feel for the latest trends that will appeal to his customers. “And he has plenty of ideas for attracting customers,” the older man says in recognition of Ejaz’s claims for what he learned in his “Know About Business” class.

This is something that other graduates from the CARE courses also testify to.

In her home in a nearby village, Tabassum – another graduate of a CARE organised TVET course – has set up a home business with her sister. Tabassum offers home sewing services, her sister offers beauty services. They started together earlier in the year. “When we started, things were a bit slow”, she says. The girls come from a large family of 13. The wider family is even bigger. But even though the family spread the word, custom was modest. However, after the Tabassum completed her “Know About Business” module her custom went up “from maybe 7 outfits a month, to 22 outfits a month. I’m much more focused now”, she says. “When I go to weddings or to big parties I tell people exactly what kinds of services I provide. I tell them my rate”. As part of the marketing strategy she decided to introduce a very competitive entry level rate so that people will be interested to try out her service. She will raise that rate gradually as people gain confidence in what she does.

Not far from there, in Narja village, Sughra who has opened the first beauty Salon in the village and wants this to become the “best-known place around” is also proud of the marketing plans she came up with after she attended the course. She has just had some business cards made. And on them she is advertising a dedicated mobile phone number. She’s going to transfer all the numbers of her clients to this phone number. And then she will use that number for SMS campaigns. As a next step she’s going to get a lot of leaflets made up, complete with list of services, phone number and prices. The marketing is going well, she says. In my first month I made PKR 2,000, today I’m earning PKR 25,000.

Fact Box

Care International Project

Enhancing development by investing in Human Capital in Punjab and Sindh

Care International and local partner AWAZ foundation are implementing a EUR 2.7 million project in 4 districts of Punjab province and 3 districts of Sindh, Pakistan. (90% funded by EU)

The aim of the project is to increase access of rural women and youth to job opportunities through innovative TVET approaches. They worked with 15 local institutions to identify skills for which there is a demand and then to develop certified courses, including relevant entrepreneurial and soft skills. In total 4600 students will be trained in a total of 8 trades. At least 1,400 will be helped into self-employment opportunities.

The project will also establish 15 career guidance centers in the TVET institutes; train 400 home-based workers in business development through community-based trainings and establish their linkages with opportunities in the market.

Additionally, for women of the rural communities, the project aims to effectively address issues of accessing urban skill developments center and the market through consistent community mobilization activities.

One of the things Ejaz brought to the partnership is a lot of sales and marketing ideas. “After the mobile phone repair skills we were taught, we were offered a “Know about business module”, he said. “We learned a lot there, like how to monitor the competition, how to come up with promotions to compete with others if they have better deals going. So, now if we see that someone else is selling more cheaply we’ll come up with our special offer, or we’ll offer a free gift.”

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