Internet start-ups have exploded around the globe in the past few years. Africa is not left out; in fact it is a new and promising beginning for Africa’s online businesses. According to Internet world stats. Africa has 167million internet users. Furthermore, Forbes Africa(March,2013 edition) reported that Africa mobile industry contributes $56billion to the regional economy.
Internet start-up entrepreneurs are the ones making it big in Africa in the recent times, thanks to the rise in internet usage and ICT development in the continent. Considering some challenges in the continent: poor infrastructure, unreliable power supply, poor broadband quality, etc. Launching an online business in the region is not an easy task, even if you have excellent business ideas.
Having stated some of the challenges the continent is facing, it is still an ideal place for you to bring your business to the online community or launch a new start-up online. I have some few reasons why your business needs an online presence.
1) Live anywhere in the world: The internet allows you to run your business or manage your company from anywhere you are. You can have your online business hosted in Europe and manage the business while you live in Africa. Provided that you have good internet connection, your physical presence is not necessarily needed to oversee the affairs of your business, but with few exceptions. Some service businesses still need physical presence i.e Lawyer,surgeon,barber and some other professions that need locations to get their work performed.
2) Better Company/Customer relation: Customer support service plays a key role in expanding the customer base of a company by attracting potential customers and retaining the old customers. The internet has made customer support more effective. Company can easily get feedback and questions from customers,and customers get fast response to enquiries via the internet. Internet technology has made it possible for companies to give out almost all information their customers need to know,without making phones calls or asking technical questions since most of these questions are available online.
3) 24/7 business: The internet makes your online store/office open for business all day round the clock. It means your customers can have access to your store to read about your product/service and they can place their order anytime(day or night) of the day. With the internet technology, you can open your office and go to bed at night.
4) Company reputation: People will take your online business more serious than the one without website in this age of computer. Internet promotes your company reputation, and project you as a serious person who is actually ready to do business.
5) Cut operation costs: Imagine a world where you pay nothing to your customer care staff and other 4 of your 7 employee. This is what internet could do for you. For instance customer ordering form on your website will cut the need for customer care staff. Some other aspect of your business like procurement, shipping, billing, etc. could be handled by engaging the other online service providers at a reduced cost.
6) Low start-up cost: Unlike the traditional brick and mortar startup which will cost you some huge capital to build or rent store/office for business, you can set up a business online at relatively low-cost. There are a lot of low-cost tools that will enable you setup your business online and at a low-cost, you will get template that has full e-commerce template to build your business on.
7) Global market: You can open your business windows to the world from any geographic location. Thanks to the internet technology, you can have thousands of people around the world visit your store through your website. Content marketing, blog traffic and social media network can drive thousands of visitors to your website and make them follow your online business.
8) Feedback & Followup: The internet facilitates the quick response of business correspondence. Sending proposals, letters, orders, invoices will be made easier and faster for you, through the internet. Unlike the traditional way of sending mails and correspondence which sometimes take a couple of days for your sent mails to deliver and added days of waiting for the feedback. You can easily check and follow-up appointments, up coming events, scheduled meetings, etc. among other task the internet could help you do.
The internet is the easiest and fastest way to get your business introduced to the world. The online community is growing everyday, everywhere including Africa. It is a promising future for Africa internet start-ups. Join the community!
He is an entrepreneur, writer, barber and interior designer. Abiodun discusses and writes about entrepreneurship, leadership, business and economy.
He has interest in luxury, art, fashion, travel and technology.
Abiodun is passionate about sport, particularly football (soccer) and boxing.