Telstra has revealed it will open its 100th business centre over the next few months as part of a sustained push to capture more of the small business market.
The telco's business group managing director Will Irving said that the 87th centre had recently been opened in Blacktown in Sydney's west.
The centres were not Telstra-owned; rather they were typically set up by Telstra dealers who had run consumer retail stores and wanted to service small business customers more effectively.
Irving said that Telstra had allocated about $20 million to help establish the 100 centres.
Prospective owners are required to chip in about 80 percent of the start-up cost but Irving said they got their returns from "longer term remuneration arrangements" similar to that which all Telstra dealers received.
"We think the fact that they themselves are small business people is part of the value they offer, which is why we don't have any company-owned business centres," Irving said.
"We may at some point in the future but very much the model has been to serve the small business market with people who intimately understand small business."
Irving said most centres operated on an appointment-only basis - to minimise wait times experienced by small business owners - although some also catered to walk-ins.
Either way, the service would be faster and more targeted than that which small business owners could get from a consumer retail store, he said.
Irving denied suggestions that the business centres might cannibalise the markets serviced by consumer retail stores.
He suggested that some business centre owners also still ran a consumer retail dealer also in the area.
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Issue: 315 | May 2013
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