Nelson Asoh Blog

Small businesses in Nigeria without an online presence will struggle amid the pandemic

A handful of entrepreneurs out there still hold the notion that – their business does not need an online presence to survive.

Well, this may seem correct, especially if the number of sales they rake-in without an online presence is considerably high.


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However, on the flip side, that same business could have doubled or quadrupled its current sales if it had a functional company website, sales funnel, and good social media strategy in place.

Therefore, it is very wrong, in this day and age for any entrepreneur to say they do not need an online presence to survive through the difficult times occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The way of doing business globally will drastically change. It is “the new normal”.

Interpersonal communication will drastically be discouraged by governments across the world in a bit to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus.

Businesses across the globe will have no choice but, find new ways of conducting their day-to-day operations to avoid contravening the government’s guidelines on public health safety.

small business owner
small business owner

Why entrepreneurs need to leverage the power of online presence

Smart entrepreneurs are already taking their business operations online, in a bit to navigate these challenging times.

SMALL BUSINESS OWNER

Prioritizing online strategy is the way to go for any forward-thinking entrepreneur. The Internet provides bootstrap ventures with a cost-effective way to manage and execute what I call the three key business activities;

  1. Brand awareness,

  2. Customer acquisition and

  3. Sales promotion

No serious-minded entrepreneur would neglect the vast opportunity that the internet provides.

If you are in for business for the long run, then, you must SERIOUSLY consider branching out online. If done properly, you will easily survive through these turbulent times.

I have had over 10 years working actively in the digital media space in Nigeria. I can categorically tell you that not more than 30 percent of small and medium scale enterprises SMEs, in Nigeria are currently benefiting from the huge opportunities that the World Wide Web provides.

The few with some sort of online presence fall short at getting results because they are doing it the wrong way! They lack the expertise at setting-up a functional sales page or paid social media ads that convert.  (I will discuss this in my next article)

The odds are stacked against any entrepreneur who is not found online. If you think you are doing fine right now, without any online presence, imagine if you do? You will reach a global market and your sales number will increase!

How to use an online presence to manage key business activities

Key business activities like brand awareness, customer acquisition and sales promotion can all be expensive to manage.

However, bootstrap ventures and entrepreneurs who do not have deep pockets can leverage the pervasive nature of the web to execute these activities easily and in a cost-effective manner too.

lady in her shop

Let’s take a look at how the internet can help tackle key business activities;

Brand awareness

Brand awareness is the recognition of a brand by potential customers to the extent of correctly associating the brand with its particular product or service.

The idea behind brand awareness is for customers to have knowledge of what your business is all about.

You can easily achieve this if you have a good online presence.

For instance, someone on social media can see your paid ad by merely identifying your logo and immediately know what your business is all about.

You could also have customers choose your brand over others and have people “googling” your business name or other branded terms into the search engine.

Customer acquisition

Customer acquisition simply refers to getting more customers to buy products or use your services.

Every business or entrepreneur must have a customer acquisition strategy.

The internet provides every SME the latitude to reach more people beyond its geographical location when they deploy “the power of the internet”.

When you have a website or social media accounts where you post stuff about your business, you will have the opportunity to reach people who are likely to opt-in and become your customers.

Sales promotion

Sales promotion is any activity carried for a certain time or period of time, with the aim of increasing customer demand and stimulating sales.

Sales promotions in a way compel potential customers to consider doing business with you and your company if done well.

These days you cannot carry out effective sales promotion if you do not have any online presence. You must be online to even contemplate sales promotion in the first place.

My final thought

The reason for the low number of Nigerian SMEs online can be traced to the owners of these businesses themselves.

They (business owners) lack the necessary awareness, they are not tech-savvy and they are generally computer shy.

So they carry this ineptitude into their business venture.

Prioritizing online presence should be at the very core of any business venture today because it forms the bedrock for branding, marketing, campaign promotion and the all-important customer acquisition and retention.

Moreover, this brick and mortar model of business location and activities has long been disrupted by ICTs.  The old way of “doing it” will no longer cut it. It must give way for “the new normal”.

Only businesses that have an online presence will survive and easily navigate in these times.

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