On the first day with WopeCar, I introduced myself to the team. I told them about my career path, my experiences in Europe and Cameroon and I shared some personal information about myself to hopefully connect the team. I think that because I shared that personal information, we as a team were able to create a very comfortable working environment.
I introduced 2 weekly meetings (on Tuesday and Thursday) to be able to learn fast about the operations of WopeCar but also to enable my colleagues to share their daily experiences on the ground.
During the first week, I realized that my Startup does not work data-driven. Somehow, decisions are made based on ambitions and not based on reality. That’s the reason why I introduced a list of information that needed to be collected from the client, which could enable us to identify and document current challenges.
What I found very impressive in Accra, is the fact that people are “doers”. When one has an idea, he immediately starts selling. This is a very valuable lesson since in Germany it’s the complete opposite. In Germany, people tend to wait and analyze every little piece of data to avoid making wrong decisions. I believe that finding the balance between both approaches, in either country, can increase economic activity.
On the second Week at WopeCar, I learned even more about the company’s attempts to find an optimal commission rate. When the founder started selling his product, he approached car rental businesses with a rate of 20%. Later he had to reduce it to 10% since no client was ready to pay such a commission. The more I talked with the CEO about his business, the more I got information about the business model. Most of the time, that information helped me a lot in clarifying and specifying the challenges. At this stage, the actual challenge is to shift the interaction with the clients from phone calls to a purely website-based interaction. Solving this problem would most likely create the foundation for expansion to Kumasi because an increase in clients can only be managed appropriately through automated processes.
I also used the tool “Google MyMaps” to identify and visualized all car rental businesses in Accra.
After analyzing the challenge closely, I figured out that shifting the customer’s habit from calling the salesperson to simply using the website, could be attained by gradually communicating and to a certain degree, training customers in understanding the benefits of booking through the website. Incentives could be created for those who use the website.
After several phone calls with the CEO and a meeting with the operations manager, we agreed upon my proposed solution, which I will work on next week.
In the third week, I started working on the “rental schedule” that I received from my colleagues Theo and Amanda. This sheet contains data on all car rental transactions of WopeCar in the year 2019. The CEO explained to me that because WopeCar does not own the cars it rents out, their negotiating power is relatively low. That’s why the CEO was very sure that the commission has to be at around 2-3%. Already during the first week of working with the startup, I learned that one must assume that all information given to me is wrong and needed to be checked again. These lessons proved to be valuable because after calculating the commission for every single month, I found out that it was at ca. 13%. I calculated further KPI’s that should support a data-driven decision process.
Furthermore, I explained to Theo and Amanda how to work with Google MyMaps. I also explain to my Colleagues why mapping out the car rental businesses in Accra could help WopeCar allocate resources more efficiently.
I introduced the data analysis sheet to Theo and Amanda and with their help, we were able to specify who our actual customers are and their specific sales volume.