The idea of doing an online business ranks highly among the new age entrepreneurs. One of the main factors responsible for this is the widespread access to internet. Internet has now become an integral part of our lives. Almost 26.8 million people in South Africa use the internet via their mobiles. On an average even if they spend around 3 hours on the internet, that is an astonishing traffic an online business can generate. Any major factor of online business is that it generates quick sales. One click of the button or screen and payment is made. This quick sale has tempted a lot of people to try their hands at setting up internet business. There is an ever growing list of South African companies that are jumping the internet bandwagon. The world of internet may seem easy but doing business online is no piece of cake.
Steps to set up a business online in South Africa
One of the first things to consider is a proper business plan. A business plan is more or less the blue print of how you perceive things to be. The catch is to find a perfect balance between no going overboard and not underestimating as well. A business plan should be as realistic as possible. You would be investing your own capital or depend on funding from other companies. The South African business directory can give you a list of potential companies that would like to invest in an online venture. A business plan must entail what you would be selling, viability of your product or service, analysis of market conditions and the financial structure. A systematic plan right to the minutest details is the first step towards your online system.
Your business plan will give you a fair idea of the initial investment required. Though most of the online businesses can be started with relatively smaller investment amounts, still you need to have a figure after considering all factors.
The most crucial aspect of online business is hiring a software company that will provide a host of services for you. You will need a good web designer. Many of the online businesses fall flat due to complicated design. A clean and user friendly interface will help in generating sales. The website should be attractive and informative as well. A complicated design will leave users frustrated and clueless. Get a well designed website that covers all essential aspects of a business. One of the best ways is to place yourself in the customer’s shoes and analyse the website. This will help in plugging any flaws in the design. The software company can also help you with domain name, domain registration and technical support. You can get references of software companies from South African companies’ directory. It’s better to invest in a good software company that understands your needs and has relative experience as well in designing websites for new ventures.
Another crucial aspect is the payment service set up. A lot of your consumers will opt for payment via credit cards or internet banking. You need to tie up with banks to have a merchant gateway registered. You need to secure your website so there is no misuse of the client’s banking details. Do an analysis of what other online businesses prefer for payment gateways. Customer satisfaction is top most priority; hence take care to approach the best resources.
Display your products loud and clear. One of the crucial aspects of e-commerce business providing clear crisp and detailed information about the product. Tell your clients about the product, what it is made of, features, specifications and warranty as well. Try to include reviews of the customers as that will help you in improvisation as well. Ambiguous or false information can land you in trouble and is not good for the reputation of your business as well. As far as possible try and give accurate information. If you are planning on selling goods from other manufacturers, put in a disclaimer about the same.
Marketing and Advertising:
Once you are ready for launch, go all out with as many avenues as possible. You can take help of a professional marketing company as well. You can find the list of marketing companies in South Africa online and can select among them to spearhead your marketing campaign. The success of any online venture is reaching a maximum viewership. Visibility is extremely important. You can either launch a splendid offer or go for hard core advertising to generate sales. Just make sure that your website is fully equipped to handle an onslaught of customers. It is very irritating for consumers to visit a website to view an offer and find it not functioning. Launch an offer after fully testing the strength of your website and bandwidth.
A good work force will only help your business. After sales service is one of the essential factors that can retain or lose a client. For an online business a customer support is first level of personal interaction and as such it should be a pleasant experience. As far as possible try and invest in quality work force. You can look for the best recruitment agencies in online business directory South Africa and get the best talent hired.
Sustaining the online business
Online business might look like a attractive proposition but sustaining it is a lot of hard work. It makes sense to get your venture funded by an established company. One of the many prospects is a mining company in South Africa. South Africa is known as the diamond hub and there are a number of successful mining companies. You can search for list of mining companies in South Africa and approach them with your business plan.
While the beauty of an online business is that it is accessible all over the country, in absence of a funding partner you can look at small businesses in particular cities. For example, if you are starting off in Cape Town, look for the business directory Cape Town and try to pitch your business plan to the companies in Cape Town. Once you have a successful run, you can expand your activities to other cities.