Avenir Telecom is set to launch its b2b comparison website ‘Connecting Business’ next month with the backing of 25 franchised dealerships.
The comparison website, aimed at SMEs, will provide independent advice on airtime services and handsets and act as a new sales channel for Avenir.
It will also provide an online chat service and links to the 25 franchise partners for customers wanting handset demonstrations or further discussions on deals displayed on the website.
The franchise partners will be supported by a dedicated team of 12 Avenir staff. This team will be expanded to around 30 staff as Connecting Business expands.
Avenir estimates that Connecting Business franchise partners can earn up to £50,000 per year.
It plans to take on up to 50 franchise partners.
The Connecting Business website will cover airtime and handset ranges at launch but plans to expand into cloud computing, software solutions, hosting and business applications.
All the major operators are on board and Avenir will manage fulfilment for O2, Three, Orange and T-Mobile. However, Vodafone will make its own transactions, with Avenir taking a commission on successful deals.
Avenir Telecom MD Andy Tow said: ‘This is the only independent b2b comparison website for SMEs. It is not a price comparison website but one that compares everything involved in making a decision about a mobile phone including handsets, network coverage, customer support, additional products and business applications.’
Tow (pictured) said franchise dealerships could prove lucrative, with franchisees having substantial numbers of SMEs in their geographic regions, low overheads and cross-selling opportunities.
He said: ‘We have a revenue share model and an on-target performance delivering 40 connections per month can generate an annual income of £50,000.’
He added: ‘Our partners can also sell fixed line, broadband, hosted applications, and so on, so there is plenty of opportunity to upsell.’
Tow dismissed the possibility that Connecting Business franchisees could cannibalise Avenir’s existing b2b business.
He said: ‘The Office of National Statistics estimates there are 4.7 million enterprises employing 14 million people with a combined turnover of £1.5bn. SMEs make up 99% of all businesses in the UK. That is more than enough to go round.’
Tow: ‘Two bases of partners’
Tow said there had been ‘strong interest’ in the franchise opportunities the website had created. He said franchise partners tended to be drawn from two distinct bases.
‘There are those dealers already in telecoms and IT but not necessarily in mobile. They tend to have never really sold mobile and have found it complicated, but they realise they need to offer mobile and see Connecting Business as the way to start doing that.
‘Then there are those partners who come from mobile phone retail stores. These are high flyers, of the standard of a Shop Idol winner, with brilliant customer knowledge and understanding of tariffs and with all the answers for customers’ questions.’