Africell Telcom in Uganda recently announced its exit from the country. Of course, most people are focused on the employees who will no longer have jobs. Deeper than that, the irony is; Africell was growing from the numbers. As of 2020 the company had three million subscribers compared to six hundred thousand they had in 2013.
So what exactly happened? Either these subscribers were more but spending less or the Company was getting small profit margins on their products or there was a political reason for the exit- this is a possibility especially in Africa.
Regardless of the size of the business, every time a business closes operations in a city changes a business model, it takes courage. In such scenarios though we don’t know the reasons for the closure there are key lessons:
- Have the courage to walk away of things don’t make business sense. Business should make profits not losses.
- If you walk away do it with dignity: Africell informed it’s employees ahead of time and is going to compensate them well.
- Just because you close one operation it doesn’t mean you have gone down. Africell has many operations in other countries and this might be the decision they needed to make so as to launch into something big and more disruptive.
In a nutshell; there’s a story behind the story and therein lies wisdom.