There's more than two million small business owners in Australia, and Optus have decided to "refocus attention on delivering tailored solutions" for them. Optus already have 26 business centres, but this change sees 126 new small business specialist stores created, along with a dedicated Adelaide-based Small/Meduim Business (SMB) call centre team.
Ian Thorpe has something to do with this all somehow. Oh, and Mark Wahlberg.
Rob Parcell, Managing Director of Optus Small Business said Optus was primed to position itself as Australia's small business support network.
"We know that small and medium business operators face a unique set of business challenges and that the products and services available to them are not always tailored for their needs," he said in a statement. "We're focusing on changing that."
Part of the plan includes partnering with SMB owners from a variety of backgrounds. "We recognise the biggest ideas often come from small beginnings and we'll support bringing their ideas to life," Parcell said.
The telco is committing to be available when businesses need it. "Most small businesses owners don’t work 'nine-to-five'. They conduct their business from their home, the front seat of a van or a shared innovation space. They need access to a reliable, high-speed connection to the world and an expert team who understands their unique communication needs," Mr Parcell said.
And then there's Ian Thorpe. He's the new face of the Optus SMB campaign. Mr Parcell said Ian is "the perfect choice to demonstrate Optus' commitment to SMB". Here's the tenuous link:
"With five gold medals under his belt, Ian knows the hard work that's required to build and achieve success. These are sacrifices Australia's small-business owners also know all too well — the early starts, long hours and lost time with loved ones."
Okay? Ian Thorpe continues to explain:
"As a former athlete, I'm excited to partner with the team at Optus as they work to deliver game-changing experiences for their customers. I'm especially looking forward to forging a strong relationship with Optus as it delivers more sports and entertainment content."
And there it is. It's the sports thing. Is that it? I still don't know, really. It kind of makes sense.
What about Mark Wahlberg?
Optus is now working with the actor/producer and co-founder of US burger chain Wahlburgers (so he's a business owner at least).
"We are working with Mark on a campaign that encourages small business operators to believe big," Parcell explains. "Mark absolutely epitomises what it is to believe big because he has done it. He grew up in working class Boston with plenty of hurdles but through hard work, had the courage to believe big and make things possible."
Mr Parcell said there is a strong correlation between Mar'’s story and many business owners in Australia.
"No business starts to be small so we're encouraging our customers to also believe big. We're showing them that they can rely us for the premium level of support they need to turn their big ideas into a reality," Mr Parcell said.
So there you have it. If you have a small or medium business Optus wants to look after you. And its using an olympic athlete and an American burger chain founder/actor/director to do it.
Do you use Optus for your business? What has been your experience? Tell us in the comments below!