Good morning to the ZBIN community we hope you enjoyed the recent holidays and that all was peaceful and safe. So yesterday I got a copy of one of my favourite Sunday newspaper, The Sunday Mail, I failed to get a copy of The Standard. I usually read the two to get balanced coverage of what is happening in Zimbabwe.
Now in The Sunday Mail is an advert of residential and commercial stands for sale in the fast growing town of Rusape. Now reading the advert there is a lot of stuff missing such as:
- No Email Address
- No Phone Number
- No website Address
- No Photos of the residential stands
- No Map of the residential stands
You see, this Town Council is doing business the old way. They have always placed adverts this way and this has worked, they have been doing this since time immemorial and it has produced results. When Council opens business tomorrow the first thing that they will do is to ask whether the advert appeared in The Sunday Mail and if confirmed then its back to normal council business. All is fine-job well done to the person who placed the advert and the Finance person who processed payment for the advert.
Now analysing the advert it seems there is room for improvement for the council. I have done an internet search of the website for Rusape Town Council and there is none. I have checked on Twitter and Facebook again the answer is negative.
IT Strategy for Competitive Advantage
The fact that this important town council does not have a website and a presence on social media is not surprising-the issue of websites and social media is not top priority for many councils and even top companies in the private sector. There is often resistance to new ways of doing things especially in rural and urban councils. Most are afraid of losing control or imaginary risks that are posed by new ways of doing business.
Taking the example of Rusape Town Council, they need to have an IT Strategy in place supported by all councillors and relevant stakeholders. An IT strategy that defines the vision, the operation, key benefits and risk mitigation. They need a strategy that helps in the management of the town operations, a strategy that covers website management and provides a framework for IT operations. I would like to believe that they already have one in place but cold be gathering dust within council offices?
Target Market of their advert
Looking at their advert one gets the impression that their target market is local Zimbabweans since the advert is in hard copy form. There is no consideration for people who may miss the advert. There is no consideration of an important population sector-The Diaspora! The town bosses probably do not appreciate the importance of this constituency which is non resident. How is someone resident in Australia, Canada, Mozambique, South Africa or Botswana going to see the advert? Do they have access to the hard copy advert? Even someone in the rural areas such as Dewedzo or Tandi, how is this person going to access this information of residential stands for sale?
Our researches have shown that real estate matters are high on the agenda of Zimbabweans-locals and the Diaspora. Every real estate post on ZBIN attracts more than a hundred viewers within 12 hours. Our ZBIN Real Estate Group has some of the most active members, Zimbabweans from across the world inquiring everyday about the availability of residential stands, residential stand prices, real estate by laws and resources. A good number of Diasporans are interested in buying residential stands and they would like to do the transactions directly without sending any relative to inquire. They would like to contact the City Council directly either through the phone or by sending an email. They would like to see the stands for sale on a website, they would like to see the map of the residential stands, they would like to see videos so that they can be convinced that the stands are real. This information should be available real time for free!
Rusape Town Council and other councils across Zimbabwe do not know what they are missing-Potential Revenue running into millions of dollars. They are not reaching out to this community which has high interest in their services, they don’t know the high opportunity cost of doing this. Some could be struggling to sell residential stands resulting in poor service delivery, some could be failing to access crucial council operation water treatment chemicals and yet out there kune varikuda kutenga ma stands vasina adequate information?
Website as an Investment
The advantages of having a website are plenty, a good platform to showcase Rusape! Investment potential of this wonderful town. A good platform for the town clerk to communicate his vision with the residents of this town. The town council can even save a lot of resources in terms of adverts, no need to place or reduce the number of adverts in newspapers and use their website. In the case of the residential stands-they can place adverts, link the adverts to a YouTube video so that anyone interested in buying can actually see on the place where the stands are being sold. They are also selling commercial stands for filling stations and one would be interested in seeing whether the place is strategic in terms of business-is it near the Harare-Mutare highway? Is it near other Service Stations etc
Donate to Us Function: On the website the council can even put a Donate to Us function so that folks interested in the town can contribute, folks who have a connection with the town can assist in various council projects.
The council can even place adverts from the Rusape Business community and help raise more funds for operations. One of the hindrances to the establishment of a website could be lack of information on costs. How much does it take to have a well run website? The answer is that they need less than $1,000 for set up a professional website that will help in attracting investment to the council. Money used can be recouped in first 3 months of operations in adverts. They may not even need to put council funds in the development and maintenance of the website-they need to engage the business sector in Rusape who may not have a problem in a site that will help boost investment and their business.
So food for thought to all Rusape residents and the Ministry of Local Government. Look at having IT Strategies as a competitive advantage, lets have websites up and running for every rural or urban council. These councils do not even need money to set the websites -the business community can do it for them.
Lets consider the Diaspora in all council matters because using they are a key stakeholder. Some of them have access to credit facilities where they are based.
NB* ZBIN is offering free services in the design of a world class website for Rusape Town Council and any 3 Rural Councils in Zimbabwe. We will create, help in maintenance and also promote so that the model can be used by other councils across the nation.
We are also advocating for the Ministry of Local Government to create one central website that will initially help in the marketing of residential and commercial stands.
Case Studies of top council websites:
City of London:www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
City of Johannesburg:www.joburg.org.za
City of Cape Town:http:www.capetown.gov.za
City of Ndola: http:www.cityofndola.gov.zm
City of New York: http:www1.nyc.gov
Rusape, Chiredzi, Bindura, Zibagwe or any council can get websites that are better than the above and they do not need a lot of resources for that-all they need is Innovation!
Here is the advert that appeared in the Sunday Mail 12/26/2016
SALE OF RESIDENTIAL AND INSTITUITIONAL STANDS
Notice is hereby given in terms of section 152 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) that Rusape Town Council is selling the following stands listed below:
Tsanzaguru Township Residential Stands(High Density) : Stands averaging 300 sqm
Tsanzaguru Township Instituitional Stands : Stands averaging 2000 sqm
Conditions of Sale
Stands shall be sold on first come first serve basis
First preference is given to those on the waiting list
Those interested are requested to visit the Department of Housing, Health and Community Services during working hours
Rusape Town Council
PO Box 17, 398 Manda Avenue
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