Solo entrepreneur

Alezander González, Ria's Switzerland Agent Support Executive

Alexander González, Ria’s Switzerland Agent Support Executive.

One day in March 2010, Alexander Gonzalez was taking the train from Zurich to Geneva after five days of visiting Ria’s agents in the Swiss German area. He was happy. He was excited. But also, he was exhausted and just wanted to return home.

Alexander is one of the many Ria Agent Support Executives who spend 90% of their time in the field visiting ethnic entrepreneurs who are part of Ria’s network of agents. Their task is to help agents improve their performance. They provide training in new technologies, help with processing transactions and request more credit from our head offices on behalf of the agents.

Most of the time they are alone in the field, relying on just their mental toolbox to achieve their targets. Alexander is one of our solo entrepreneurs and when he boarded that train he had just invented what we call today “basic dress.”

Alexander was thinking about how he could help the agents to differentiate their stores. He thought about neon lights or banners. Alexander was looking for a fresh idea that could be replicated elsewhere. And he innovated with stickers, an easy and practical way to identify our ethnic agents. They are just a plastic layer with an adhesive – cheap and simple.

Back in 2010 Ria needed to communicate something about the company – its new orange color. Alexander devised the simple idea of framing the storefront simply with orange adhesive panels on the top, the bottom, and on the sides of the store. The frame seemed to wrap the shop with just its orange color. “It was so clear that we didn’t need to put our logo- too,” he remembers.

Thanks to this idea, Switzerland was the first country where the agents’ stores were decorated with the “Ria basic dress,” that allows customers to identify our stores.

Then everybody else followed.

Alexander remembers that back then Ria had many customers among the employees of the multilateral organizations in Switzerland, like the United Nations. He met one of them on that train: “I told him about my work,” he remembers. The reply, half joking and half seriously was “Alexander, you fight against real problems in the real world while I’m a bureaucrat fighting against red tape.”

Here’s the video about how we do our Basic Dress: