10 things you need to start an online business in Africa
The internet is the biggest rave of the moment for businesses with the idea of running an online business. Many business owners are certainly making the most out of this technology. Most small and medium enterprises in Africa exist mainly on Instagram and Facebook shops without a physical location.
Some consider digital media to be a powerful tool that lets you reach anyone from anywhere in the world. But over the years, digital media has proven to be also a channel that connects businesses to people too. Building your business online helps you create an avenue that allows businesses to connect to the right customers when they have the right offering.
Not only has digital technology has made starting your own business simple, affordable and possible, but it has also made it reachable, for existing and new customers within and beyond Africa. And all it takes is a phone, computer, and an internet connection. However, once you are able to identify a profitable niche, be sure that the idea is something you like doing, something you are good at, and something people would spend time on. Although running an online has its appeal, it comes with its set of challenges, and there are things you need to know before you start out:
10 Things Small and Medium Enterprises Need To Start a Business Online
Find a Niche
As earlier stated in the article, before delving into an online business, find a niche. Niche is a targeted or specific market segment that is unique. Finding a niche involves selling specialized offerings to a targeted market. Before you start selling, you need to find the right product with the potential for serious profitability. Play around with different possible markets, research different niches, and even examine your existing solution to find extra solutions you can proffer.
Have a business Plan
The next thing that comes to mind after you have mapped the right niche is to have a plan. Having a business plan when building a business is as important as when you have a physical location. Either way, proper planning is essential for the success of your business. To begin, you need to create a business structure that accommodates a digital and content plan. The plan should include a niche in which you are going into, at the same time, it must also give an insight into an idea of the possibility of the success that you are going to achieve and the profitability.
Understand the Market and Customer
Before you start out, it is important to understand your market and customer. Research all the demographics as well as of your potential customer base and keep a check on their buying habits. Also, watch how your competitors indulge in dialogues with similar businesses, browse the websites of your competitors and try to comprehend the feedback of their customers on social media platforms. These strategies will help you to understand the market scenario and learn how to amplify your presence online when you launch.
Pick a Domain Name
When you have mapped a business structure, choosing the product, a good hosting provider should come next in your list. After this, you can proceed to set up your very own website and begin with your online business. If you do not have any kind of knowledgeable experience on the domain name and site location, it is always suggested to seek the advice of an expert.
Build Online Community First Before You Introduce Product
Starting an online business means building an audience that would truly care about your product when you finally launch. Thus, it is always recommended to begin with having a community before actually thinking about a product. Get acquainted with your client base and then try to get better at your craft. Although this strategy is very time-consuming, you will be able to learn a lot about your biggest aspirations and deepest pain points while working on the same. Keep working on knowing your potential better before you then prepare to launch your product.
Choose a Product and the Right Supplier
Outlining your business structure and finding out the niche of your business is one step to launching online. It is also very important for you to be very particular about the type of product that you are going to sell. Pick the right products, if you are not the manufacturer of the product, choose a competent supplier to serve the purpose for you. Sometimes, the unavailability of products can be frustrating for your customers, so when starting out make sure to get the distribution channel right.
Digital Marketing is a key
A well-planned advertising strategy is also important in the overall growth and development of your business. Once all your ideas and products are ready for launch, the next thing to take into consideration is to create a proper marketing plan as well as advertising strategies to promote your newly-established business. This strategy will help you expand your business to the next level. As soon as you’ve got your store up and running, learn the leading organic traffic driving tactics to get more visitors to your store.
The right use of social media
Marketing and advertising strategies could be well-executed by taking help from social media. You can utilize some social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and use these platforms to market and promote your business. By using the platform provided by social media, you can easily reach your target customers.
Plan an email list
Starting and maintaining an email list is very important while you are setting up your business online. When your email list is well-maintained and regular, you can draw in loyal customers who care about your products and won’t mind getting the latest update about your products. And you would easily be able to connect with all your potential customers and prospects.
Creating content online is a great way to get your audience interested in what your business offers. Whether it is publishing sponsored posts, hosting third-party ads, or selling your products, creating content is a way you can gain traction for your products.
The key is to focus on building an engaged, loyal audience. When you start with an audience-centric approach, you’ll cultivate a community that trusts you. And when you can earn trust, you can start to drive revenue.
If you are looking to start a business online, is to take things small, before scaling things up. First, find a product idea or business model that fits your lifestyle. Then research about your potential customers, understand the market well enough before you finally launch.