Having recently visited Zanzibar, Tanzania for my honeymoon, I was struck at how different it must be to run a business on an island in an African state. Here is part 2 of my observations:

Service together with product is unseen: The ability to smile and sell does not seem to coexist in the same person. Selling is done on an aggressive forced manner that just drives tourists away. We had to, on more than one occasion, ask our guide for assistance to chase a person away from harassing us. Sales is all about meeting customer’s needs with the benefits of your product or service. No one willingly buys a product that is forced on them. I know competition is high, but then a niched product with friendly service will be an overnight success.

Business in Africa is different from most other places in the world. Survival is at stake and often just one sale could mean food on the table that night. I understand this but the business moral bar is just lowered all the time to cater form the quick sale with very little consideration for long term business plans.

We did how ever find one person: Abdul who seems to have broken the mould. More on him and his business ventures in my next post.