Starting an online business has helped a lot of people gain employment, make money online and achieve their personal goals.
These people include students, young graduates, stay-at-home moms and others who would have been unemployed without an online business.
It has given these guys a source of income, paid their bills and sustained their lifestyle to a large extent.
Why run an online business in the first place?
There are so many reasons why people start online businesses… One of these major reasons is the widespread availability of internet access and the need to make money online.
With the recent increase in internet connectivity and affordability of mobile devices, a lot of people are gaining access to the internet from different parts of the world.
In fact, according to a recent study, 6 out of 10 people in the world has access to the internet from their various locations.
As at 2019, this was an equivalent of 4.3 billion people. A majority of this number spend an average of 6 hours 49 minutes on the internet, on a daily basis.
With such statistics, it is not only a good idea to start and run an online business that can take care of this huge population; a lot of people are doing it successfully.
Another reason you may want to consider starting an online business is because of the fact that starting a business online is not as difficult as starting a business offline.
In fact, there are certain online businesses you can start without money but your skills or even hobbies.
So generally, starting an online business is something that can be beneficial to you if you don’t have much money to invest in an offline business.
Things to consider before starting an online business in Nigeria
Besides the fact that starting an online business is not as difficult as starting a business offline, the peculiarity of running an online business makes it important that you put certain things in place before you can run the business successfully.
Below are 7 things you need to do before starting an online business…
Audit your skill set.
There are two reasons why you need to audit your current skill set.
One is the fact that your business as an entrepreneur is to offer a unique value that can be paid for by another person.
So as part of your self-audit, you should find out; what skills do you have that people can really get to pay for at a certain price.
Ask yourself, the skill set you have, is it possible to exchange it for monetary value or would there be need to improve on it before you can exchange it for value?
Another reason you need to audit your skill set is to find out your passion and how to channel it as a value that can be paid for at a certain price.
Considering that not all passion can be profitable, you’ll also have to consider if there’s need to learn a new skill which can be profitable especially where you do not have any marketable skill.
So if you’re planning to run a business that involves a lot of writing like content marketing and you’re not a writer in real life, you might want to learn content marketing and copywriting skills.
Same thing goes for someone wanting to start a graphics design business without adequate design skills.
The first thing to do is to work on evolving these skills and making it much better and marketable. Where you don’t have these skills, it might be necessary you go learn them effectively before starting your online business.
Choose the business model you want to run.
Not all online business models work for everyone.
Depending on your peculiar circumstances, there are certain kinds of business models that will work for you. There are also others that will not work.
Take for instance, there’s an online business that will demand you start with yourself and a team of other people who could be your friends with varied skills etc.
There are also others you’ll have to start with yourself either because you want to focus on a particular skill or you don’t have the capacity to start with others just yet.
There are also other businesses like e-book publishing etc. that can run without needing your constant engagement after the initial effort.
You’ll have to choose an online business model that will fit you, depending on your schedule and resources.
If you’re a university or college student without much finances or people to start a business as a team, you can start as a freelancer and run your business by the side.
As a freelancer, you’ll be the one directly in charge of your business.
If you’re a graphic designer, you have to be the one to do the whole work involved.
From reaching out to clients, getting the job, completing it and everything in between, you’ll be directly responsible for the whole work involved in the process of working with a client.
If you’re coming together to start the business as a team, you’ll want to set out rules and put together a business model that will be realistic and effective for your business.
Get a business Name.
A business name is your online business identity.
If you’re running your online business as a freelancer you can choose to use a special business name or you can use your personal name if you choose.
On the other hand, if you’re setting up the business as a private business you intend to register with authorities, you may want to choose a name different from your business name.
While choosing your business name, in order to avoid trademark infringement and other legal issues, be careful that you don’t choose a business name that’s already registered by another business entity.
Choose your business name wisely. Be sure it reflects the nature of your business as much as possible.
In Nigeria, you can start an online business and then proceed to register the business and business name much later, after some time so you don’t need to register your business before getting started.
Set up a brand and other business needs.
The fact you’re running an online business does not mean you don’t have to be professional.
The anonymous nature of the online world has made it a little difficult to get the right impression or trust online businesses completely so you’ll want to get your business positioned as a reputable entity.
Also, as an online business entrepreneur, you don’t only have to be professional; your potential clients have to see you as a professional before they can trust you and your services or products.
So, start with setting up a respectable brand around your business.
Your brand includes things that people can easily use to define your business. It includes both the visible and invincible elements like your brand culture, how you perform your services, customer experience, keeping to your word etc.
For your visible brand elements, you can start with your logo. Set up a logo that represents your business online. Be sure the logo captures your business and what it represents.
Set up a Mission and Vision Statement, Objectives, etc. This will also form part of the invisible elements of your brand.
Get a free Facebook Fans Page. Also, you’ll want to consider getting a Facebook fans page for your business at this stage
Create up a business email for your business and make it distinct from your personal email. After this, set up a website for your business.
Getting your business on a website does a lot to your brand. Specifically, it demonstrates, you’re running a serious business.
Also your business website can serve as a reliable virtual office where people can get to know about and contact your business.
Launch your business
Now that every other thing is put in place, it’s time to launch your business.
You could decide to launch your business online, offline, on the social media or anywhere.
Supposing you’ve put your business website in place, the next thing to do would be launching the business and this could be done by writing a nice copy on your website, sharing the link on social media with a well written content or advertising the link via the Facebook fans page you created earlier.
Alternatively, you can also launch your business by building up a collection of write-ups that will tell your friends and family and others about the business on the social media before the launching date.
You can also decide to reach out to influencers, websites, magazines etc. that can help you share your new business to their audience on or before the launching date.
This business launching strategy can work for a freelancer, an agency, private business, ecommerce etc.
Grow your business
As you know, setting up an online business is merely the first part of the entrepreneurship process.
Running an online business successfully demands work and effort to make it become successful and sustainable.
It also demands sustainable strategies, systems and models that will yield repeatable success for your business.
The fact that your business is an online business or a side hustle does not mean you won’t work hard to make it successful.
Like other businesses, you’ll have to put in energy and effort before your online business can become successful.
A lot of online businesses run without a clear cut focus and strategy. These are part of the mistakes you should avoid if you want to set up a very successful online business in 2020.
Also, you’ll want to work on setting up systems that will help you run your online business successfully.
In everything you do, start with strategies that will support your current resources while helping you achieve your long term business goals.
Remember, these strategies will be a bit different if you’re thinking of taking an existing business online.
In everything you need do, you must realize the success of our online business will depend on you, the effort and work you put in place.