How to Start, Grow and Profit from an Online Business in Nigeria.
Do you run an offline business?
Have you recently been nursing the desire to take your business offline?
Are you uncertain of how to begin?
Running a business online has it’s peculiarities just like running an offline business does. However, with proper planning and the right engines in place, you can successfully launch and grow an online business, even if you are looking to transition your offline business.
Why Make the Move?
The most obvious reason to take your business online is the relative ease of accessibility to a wider target market which is way beyond your current locale. Online, everybody can get a feel of your business and if you are good enough, you get get rewarded with repeat business. Think of Amazon, Jumia, Konga. These are online businesses that have closed Billions in sales. Their secret- they took an offline business, re-defined it and re-targeted to a wider online audience, leading to repeat sales from every part of the world.
With the continuous growth and adoption of the internet and technology as a whole, we will see consumers opting to do more businesses online majorly because of the ease it comes with. Plus they tend to spend less (in some cases) for highly professional services compared to offline alternatives.Do a google search today and you will find online farms, online restaurants, online shoe makers…essentially services that we always thought will remain offline.
Furthermore, running an online business is generally cheap when compared to it’s offline counterpart. From cost of equipment to furniture to transportation to electricity, maintenance services fees, business plans, these all are statistics that online business need very little of. This means that it is exceedingly faster to bootstrap and launch an online business in days.
Are you seeing where am going with the?
A lot is changing really fast and so should you.
Where to Start?
There are about 5 checklist items you’ll need to take care of to successfully grow any online business. Now these processes are very important if you are looking to win. So write them down :
Research > Get Online > Online Marketing > Convert Leads/ Monetize > Analyze and re-implement
This is the quickest way you can start and grow your online business. Let’s talk about each of them, shall we.
A prominent reason why online businesses fail is because of a lack of research. Many mistake research for copy. You can see Business A selling computer and doing really well. But that doesn’t mean that if you enter into the computer selling business, you too will be profitable. Let me explain;
Mr A has many contacts in big organizations that use computers regular. Because his contacts are high profile and he is really close to them, he always gets orders from their companies to make supplies. Mr A has gotten a market and is feeding his market well.
Your research to reveal where who you want to serve, where they converge and what they need. What better deal cal you offer that you competitors aren’t? You must realize that it is the answer to these questions that will reveal of a an online business is going to be profitable or not.
A really easy approach to this research is to pay attention to online conversations on social media. Social media gives you amazing insights to what troubles prospective clients are facing. Gleaning this information correctly will reveal the winning business for you. Do not be alarmed however, if your current offline business won’t cut it. I learned this lesson this lesson the hard way.
Sometime in late 2013 I finally figured out after much struggle how to make explainer videos. I was super excited at the prospect of making millions. I set to work creating several video tutorials some of which I put on You-tube, produced in Disks and started marketing with high hopes. I would soon realize to my disappointment that my target market was not ready for a that product. Sales we literally close to zero. When I finally began to research and really listen to the market, I understood what service and products to offer and the rest they say is history.
Forgive the epistle, but am sure you get my drift.
With your Research completed, you should have determined what business to engage in and which audience to target. At this point, you are ready to make the transition. The key determinant of this transition is the location of your audience, where they hangout online, which social media platform they frequent. This information helps you reach them quicker as you will be engaging them on the platform they like.
You will need to build your service/product/ brand’ awareness online to draw the attention of your target audience. As an example, suppose all/ a huge chunk of your target audience are on Instagram, your goal online will be to project your service and products in the language that Instagram uses. This will require using the right hashtags, sharing great content consistently on Instagram and driving traffic to your website (you can research this).
You will find it particularly strategic to own a website where you can direct your audience to from social media. A website communicates seriousness, intent and a mission. When your target audience gets linked to your website, they should be able to engage with your content in a way that moves them to action repeatedly.
Obviously, it takes some patience and practice. But with careful research as discussed above, you can create an amazing online structure that keeps your target audience engaged over and over again.
**Imagine what it would mean for your business if you had 1000 monthly visitors to your online business? Think about it.**
Convert Leads/ Monetize
Monetizing is the goal of all online businesses. It is what keeps the business and it’s owners sane and not lose their minds (insert smiley face here). The same lack of money which drives many offline businesses from one place to the other can well happen to online businesses who lack well curated and targeted marketing. Notice the link? Without great marketing in terms of your content, you will have no leads (visitors who come to your business) and as a result you make you sales.
Of course, you will need an automated process to receive payments from you new customers. This could be through a payment gateway (this is a link provided by your bank or a third party company that enables seamless payment directly to your bank account). Check out paystack for an example of a payment gateway.
Ultimately, with the correct research, proper online implementation and marketing with a payment gateway, you automate your online business and “go to sleep” in a figurative sense. Basically, you put your business in autopilot, something an offline business can never do.
Analyze and Re-implement
Now your online business should be automatically running and bringing in results. You at this point need to identify list-wise all you did that worked from the research phase with the goal of recreating the same system to a similar or different business. You can thus launch multiple online businesses (insert smiley).
Simple right? No..duh!
It takes careful planning and dedication. But obviously the results are beyond phenomenal. Now you have the blueprint; what you do with it is up to you.
I’ll like to know your thoughts. Comment below
” IT IS UP TO YOU TO MAKE YOUR DREAM A REALITY”