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10 Free And Amazing Growth Hacking Tools For Small Business

Growth Hacking Tools For Small Business

The concept was coined by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sean Ellis in 2010. Initially popular among fast-growing startups, the principles of growth hacking have since spread to the wider business world.

The concept of growth hacking has often been misunderstood. To the uninitiated, it can conjure images of manipulation, control, or even gaming the system. But growth hacking isn’t something evil. It’s simply looking at your product or service across several channels to identify effective and efficient methods to grow and extend your business.

As a small business with very limited resources, you have to use unconventional methods to grow your business. Growth hacking is the combination of product design, marketing, and data with the overall goal of driving customer growth.

There are plenty of tools available for business owners and growth hackers to simplify their day-to-day job related to growth hacking. We have collected some of the most useful on this list:

1. Hotjar (Web Analytics)

Hotjar is a powerful growth hacking tool to reveal true website user behavior and experiences. The platform gives you great insights and the big picture of how you can improve your site’s user experiences (UX) and conversion rates.

It’s not easy finding a free analytics tool which captures ‘who’ and ‘what’ your visitors are doing on your website. The tool allows you to record real-time user activities (video), collect click events inform of heatmaps, carry out surveys and collect feedback on specific pages of your site.

2. SumoMe List Builder (Content Marketing)

SumoMe is a powerful growth hacking tool that offers you a collection of apps and tools to help you grow your email list. The tool allows you to ask your website visitors for their email address without hurting their feelings or disrupting their activities on the site.

SumoMe is compatible with a range of website-building tools, including WordPress, Shopify, Tumblr, Weebly, Squarespace, and Blogspot. It also allows you to easily integrate with popular email marketing tools including MailChimp.

3. Buffer (Social Media)

Buffer is a very cool app that helps brands effectively manage and automate their social media contents. Rather than having to log into all of your accounts separately (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+), Buffer lets you create posts that are sent directly to these accounts or scheduled for a particular time and day.

With the Buffer free account, you can schedule up to 10 posts at a time across all your social media pages. Buffer also offers a browser extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari that lets you share content from any Web page.

4. SEMrush (SEO / SEM)

SEMrush is a complete SEO tool which lets you do keyword research, track keyword ranking, check backlinks, check competitor ranks, and most importantly, do a complete SEO audit of your website or blog.

SEMrush allows you to get a behind-the-scenes look at your top performing competitors and use the insights to build profitable keyword strategies and campaigns around your website. Find profitable keyword opportunities, pinpoint high-converting ad and landing page copy, dissect competitor content strategies, audit backlink profiles and more.

5.MailChimp (E-mail Marketing)

Email Marketing is one of the cheapest forms of marketing for small businesses. And a crucial part of making this happen is to invest in a great email service provider. That is why many businesses have adopted Mailchimp for this purpose.

Mailchimp offers excellent features and an easy-to-use interface that make it a top choice whether you are sending out a family newsletter to 20 people or a professional marketing campaign to 20,000.

6. BuzzSumo (Content Marketing)

BuzzSumo gets you rid of the barriers of ignorance in your content marketing. It offers you its insights into what content will be the best for a particular keyword, competitor or topic. With this tool, you can learn about strategies and techniques to make your content available to your target audience.

Buzz Sumo also allows you to know about titles that work best for social media marketing and blogging. You can also take help of this tool to find the influencers in your industry who can promote your brand.

7. Drift (Conversational Marketing)

Your best customers might be visiting your site right now, looking for support documentation to solve their issue. If you don’t solve their problem now, they’ll quit using your product. Drift is a messaging app that makes it easy for businesses to talk to their website visitors and customers in real-time, from anywhere.

With Drift on your website, any conversation can be a conversion. Instead of traditional marketing and sales platforms that rely on forms and follow-ups, Drift connects your business with the best leads in real-time. Drift lets you answer all of those people’s questions, right from your website or app. With a tiny popover, customers can start a live chat conversation with your team about their issues or you can get in touch proactively with info targeted to their needs.

8. SEOptimer (SEO Audit)

An SEO audit is a detailed analysis of your website on how it is read by search engines in terms of titles, meta descriptions, keyword density, the uniqueness of content, backlinks, page speed etc.

SEOptimer is a free SEO audit tool that investigates a given URL’s on-page SEO ranking factors. After you analyze a URL, the tool presents a summary of the most important action items to be taken to improve the SEO of such website.

9. Google Analytics (Web Analytics)

Google Analytics is an advanced web analytics tool which can help you measure how your business online presence and marketing is doing. It gathers vast amounts of data about user actions on your website.

You can use Google Analytics to investigate basic analytics questions such as how many visitors your site had over a period of time, how often repeat visitors come back to your site, how visitors get to your site (e.g. referral, ads, direct, links or email), which countries are your visitors coming from, which pages on your site have been visited the most, the average time spent viewing your site and many more.

10. Inbound (Community)

Inbound is a community-based news platform that offers a variety of marketing-related articles and industry news. With this growth hacking tool, the user can create their own feed of discussions, expert blogs, and other marketing content.

Users can also participate in discussions within the community. Popular topics include Strategy, Content, SEO, Branding, Social Analytics, Blogging, Mobile and much more. Another alternative to Inbound is GrowthHackers.com founded by Sean Ellis.

Wrapping Up

Want to learn more about growth hacking? I recommend taking this free Udemy course on growth hacking for small businesses. The course will open you up to the practicality of using some of the tools mentioned in this post to grow your business.

Source: Invoice

Building A Small Business Vs. Building A Start-Up

Building a small business vs. building a startup

Building A Small Business Vs. Building A Start-Up

A few weeks ago, I was scanning through my Quora newsfeed and I came across an interesting discussion on what differentiates a small business from a startup. As a business owner and founder, even though I constantly use both terms on a daily basis, it was a bit difficult to distinguish between the both keywords.

If you are a business minded person, it’s certain that you are very familiar with the words small businesses and start-ups. Hence, I hope to be able to help you differentiate between a small business and a startup and to help you know if your existing venture can be considered as a small business or a startup.

What is a Small Business?

According to Wikipedia, Small businesses are privately owned corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships that have fewer employees and/or less annual revenue than a regular-sized business or corporation. Firstly, businesses are defined as “small” in terms of being able to apply for government support and qualify for preferential tax policy varies depending on the country and industry.

Small businesses in many countries include service or retail operations such as grocery stores, restaurants, guest houses, photographers, very small-scale manufacturing etc. Therefore, a Small Business Owner is a person who starts a business with an old concept or idea and works for profitability and doesn’t enjoy unseen risks.

What is a Start-Up?

However, according to Neil Blumenthal the Co-CEO of Warby Parker, a startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed.

Therefore, in the early stages, startup companies’ expenses tend to exceed their revenues as they work on developing, testing and marketing their idea. Hence, they often require financing. Above all, start-ups are founded by Entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are those who work on any new business idea rather than working on a conventional or existing idea.

There are no hard and fast rules of defining a startup since revenues, profits and employment numbers shift drastically based on industries ~ A company five years old can still be a startup.

Small Business Vs. Start-Up.

According to Steve Blanks three-minute definition of what separates a small business from a startup, the major differentiating factor is in their top objectives. Most small businesses are driven by profitability and stable long-term value, while startups are focused on top-end revenue and growth potential. Also, this means that a start-up can afford to go for long years without any form of revenue.

Samson and Tony were best friends in college, they both had a dream of starting their own business. Samson’s Father had a shop in the city that was unoccupied. Samson promised his father to pay him to rent after the first three years of operations. He opened an Italian restaurant. He was the head chef in his kitchen. After working 3 years he was at break-even position and was netting 40% of profit.

Tony, on the other hand, teamed up with Samson to build and food ordering app, scaled the app across multiple restaurants in the city and raised a seed funding to start a Food Delivery Company. He charged every restaurant 20% of the revenue to deliver. Within the space of 3-years, he grew his company to a 50 million dollar valuation. Later he sold his business to a bigger brand and made a huge ton of profit.

Based on Steve Blanks definition giving above, the business Samson started is considered as a small business. Meanwhile, that of Tony is considered a Start-up.

6 Factors of Differentiation.

#1. Scale.

A small business is a self-content business. They have fixed their boundaries. They do not want to expand and make a global impact. A startup usually has aspirations to make a very large impact and aim to be disruptive.

#2. Funding.

Small businesses are family funded. Though startups are also initially self-funded or family funded, will try to get funding from Angel Investors and VCs. Therefore, they have the reach/ knowledge/education for sophisticated funding methods.

#3. Risk.

There is a bigger risk involved with startups when compared to small business. According to research, 80% of startups fail within the first 5 years. While small businesses or starting a business means you are running a business model which is not new in the market.

#4. Status.

Small business remains a small business for a very long time. Startup status is temporary as the risk is very high. It may either fail or become a giant company.

#5. Exit Strategy.

Startups have an exit strategy. Will like to be acquired or go for an IPO. Small businesses are self-sufficient.

#6. Founder.

The founder is usually a technocrat. Innovator. Dreamer. A small business founder usually takes up a business what is well known in the family. They are masters at running the small business. While the founder of a startup usually needs expert help.

Conclusion.

According to Paul Graham of YCombinator, “that’s the difference between Google and a barbershop. A barbershop doesn’t scale.” To grow rapidly, you need to make something you can sell to a very big market.

The words startup, entrepreneur, and small business are thrown around constantly – sometimes interchangeably. Startups are different from traditional businesses primarily because they are designed to grow fast. By design, this means that they have something they can sell to a very large market. For most businesses, this is not the case.

Source: Invoice

For more about building a small business, visit www.smefinance.org

When To Quit Your Job And Start Your Own Business

Start Your Own Business

When To Quit Your Job And Start Your Own Business

The financial security a job provides has kept billions of people trapped in its illusion of safety, and has in the process, prevented many from pursuing their dreams.

Millions aspire to someday own thriving businesses, lead a pack of highly valuable and motivated team members, add just enough value to make their businesses one of the largest in their industries, and become remarkable role models for others to follow. While it’s a good thing to dream and work towards your goals, knowing when to quit your job to face the next chapter of your journey can be a challenging reality to face.

If you’ve always believed deep down in your guts that your were born to be an entrepreneur or that you could make a major difference in the society as a business owner, but are worried about when to quit your job and start your own business, here is how to know when the time right:

1). Have You Validated Your Business Idea?

A job provides a mild financial comfort that can keep you going while you test and validate your business idea.

Before you quit your job to fully start your own business, first start up a side gig to see how it goes. Doing this gives you just enough time to figure out what works and doesn’t on a small scale, and in the process, help you define a profitable business model.

2). Are You Prepared To Be Broke For A Long Time?

Entrepreneurship is never a bed of roses. When most businesses start out, they remain unprofitable for a long time. This period which could be anytime from a few months to a few years, can be frustrating to any entrepreneur.

If you’re planning to quit your job to start your own business, first genuinely ask yourself if you’re prepared to be broke for a very long time. If you can’t stand the thought of not being able to make some previous ends meet for a while, then you’re better off remaining in the comfort of your job.

3). Do You Have A Strong Network?

This is perhaps the single most important factor for those quitting their jobs to start a business in the service sector.

How strong is your network? Can they serve as your first batch of customers? Do they trust you enough to want to patronise your services?

Your network is your net worth. Therefore, if they’re absent at the point you’re quitting your job to start your own business; you may have a hard time finding success in a reasonable time.

4). Can You Give Up A Bulk Of Your Social Life?

Starting a new business involves long hours of work. Also, it requires close client follow-ups, increased study time, more meeting hours, and a lot more. Hence, these activities eat away at your social life. Even more, it leaves you with barely valuable time to spend with family and friends.

If you recharge by being around people, hanging with friends, spending a lot of time with family, and engaging in many more social activities, starting a business of your own may go against your nature. Therefore, it may affect your startup on the long run.

5). Do You Have A Backup Plan?

While starting a new business may leave you broke for a long period of time; having a backup plan to keep cash coming in is crucial to ensuring you remain level headed.

As a new entrepreneur, you can spend some time doing freelance projects on the side. Also, you may take advantage of some mild opportunities that come your way, and even being a part-time employee with some establishments.

These will ensure you have a little cash to keep you going through the start of your own business to its eventual success.

Some freelance sites creative individuals can get some valuable side projects on are Fiverr and PeoplePerHour.

Source: StartUp Tips Daily

For more, visit www.smefinance.org

Most Lucrative Agricultural And Farming Business Ideas In Nigeria.

Agricultural And Farming Business Ideas

What are the best agricultural business ideas to start in Nigeria in 2019? The Agricultural sector contributes just a little over 20% to the overall GDP of the country even though it can be much more.

The agricultural sector is one of the most flourishing sectors of the Nigerian economy. With proper strategic planning, any individual having basic knowledge of farming and manufacturing operation can start a profitable agriculture business.

You don’t need a huge capital or farmland to get into the agriculture business. If you have a little piece of land in your backyard, you can still plant some crops in small or vertical containers to get the most out of your space.

In this post, we shared a list of most lucrative agricultural and farming business ideas that anyone in Nigeria can start in 2019.

1. Cassava Farming.

With the increasingly diverse use of cassava products in Nigeria, cassava farming is getting more lucrative with every passing day. This farm product has always been a source of lively hood and food for millions of Nigerians. 90% of Nigerian households consume cassava products every day. Some of the popular meals made out of cassava are: garri, wheat-flour, animal feed, commercial caramel, and a lot more.

As the population of Nigeria and Africa as a whole continues to grow, the demand for cassava products will continue to skyrocket, leading to higher revenues generated by cassava farmers. If you’re looking for an agricultural business that would ensure you always almost sell out all your harvests, cassava farming is one great farming business to start.

2. Poultry Farming.

Poultry farming is the process of raising domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese for the purpose of farming meat or eggs for food. Poultry Farming in Nigeria is probably one of the most lucrative farming business you can do. The quick maturity of chicken presents one of the finest opportunity for entrepreneurs to make good money within the shortest period of time possible.

With over 160 Million consumers in Nigeria alone, the market is always there waiting to be tapped. The demand for poultry products such as eggs is so high that people go about every day looking for where to get the supplies needed.

3. Rice Farming.

Nigeria is the largest producer of rice in West Africa and the third in Africa after Egypt and Madagascar producing about 3.6 million metric tons on the average annually. Interestingly, Nigeria still falls short of meeting its local demand which is placed at about 5.5 million tons.

Considering the fact that Nigeria has a huge market for rice, if you are looking for a lucrative agricultural business idea in Nigeria, you need to seriously consider entering the rice farming business which is undoubtedly one of the most profitable businesses in the Nigerian agricultural sector.

4. Snail Farming.

Snail farming is considered to be one of the most lucrative agribusinesses you can start with low capital in Nigeria today. Yet, it is one of the most neglected animal rearing business in the country. Snail farming in Nigeria provides one of the finest opportunity to make money within a short period of time.

Snail farming is a niche and unusual business type of business. It’s very expensive to buy snail to eat because snails are very dormant during the dry season, they become increasingly scarce during this period and the market is starved of adequate supply until the next wet season.

5. Catfish Farming.

There are many kinds of fish growing in Nigeria, however, many people like catfish because its meat is juicy, soft and tasty. However, not everyone knows that this fish can be grown quite easily even at a small fish farm, you can even organize catfish farming at home.

There’s a very high demand for catfishes all year round. The demand is highest from football viewing centers, restaurants and market women who buy in bulk and sell in retail either as live catfishes or smoked catfish. Individuals also demand catfishes too for personal consumption. With catfish farming, you’ll never have any problem selling your products.

6. Maize Farming.

The Maize farming business has definitely been thriving in Nigeria for decades. Maize, which is also commonly known as corn, is one of the most popular food crops in Africa. Maize is cooked in various ways and millions of Nigerians rely on this crop because it usually costs less than wheat and rice and other common grains and cereals.

The importance of Maize production in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. A lot of by-products are gotten from Maize. Maize production gives birth to a lot of other consumables and some of them are: Pap, Custard, Corn Oil, Alcohol, Cornflake, Animal/Livestock Feeds, Corn Flour, Corn Starch, Corn Powder.

7. Pig Farming.

Pig farming in Nigeria is one of the lucrative and profitable livestock businesses. Commercial pig farming is beneficial due to the fact that pigs are prolific breeders and can deliver 10 to 14 piglets in a single birth.

Pig meat (pork) has an excellent demand since the red meat is a good source of protein and tasty as well. The pork market in West Africa alone accounts for about $3 billion consumption value. 80% of that is sourced by importation. That is a lot of untapped revenue.

8. Honey Bee Farming.

Honey bees can produce lots of honey, and selling honey can be a lucrative business for people who aren’t allergic to bee stings, who don’t have a lot of money, and who have a little space in their backyard to farm their honey bees.

Honey is one of the oldest sweeteners on earth. Lucky for us, it also has many health benefits and uses. Keeping bees at the large scale for commercial purpose as a business plan is increasing in this fast growing world.

Conclusion.

There’s a surge of interest in the Agricultural sector in Nigeria. A lot of entrepreneurs are taking on various areas of agriculture; disrupting and transforming it into viably successful endeavors using information technology.

From maize farming, rice production to poultry farming and fishery. Farming is starting to recover its age-old respectable reputation.

Source: Invoice NG

Secrets For Small Business Growth

secrets for small business growth

Running a small business can be very challenging with major obstacles such as low budget, limited manpower, and lack of efficient resources. But as a small business owner, you must utilise potential secret patterns of operating a successful startup or small business. It not only helps you to sustain your current growth but also excel your business plannings to achieve higher objectives. There are a few suggestions based on real-world experiences, which can assist you to hit the bull’s eye.

 

1- Utilize the power of social media:

Nowadays, the entire world revolves around social media and if you are able to use its full potential, it can immediately help you increase your sales and brand reputation with very minimum resource and effort. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, help you connect with a large scale of users, where you can directly interact with them, thereby allowing you to convert them into your potential clients/customers. It forms a two-way channel that not only allows you to put your message across but also, listen to what your targeted audience want, which eventually goes a long way in improving and growing your business.

 

2- Research and analyze your competition:

A business becomes successful only if it runs on some finely grinned facts and figures. And competition analysis is one of the most important elements of the process. Competition analysis tells you the strength you will require to establish your brand in the market as well as it helps to prepare your business planning adequately so that you could avoid the chances of business failure. An additional benefit of competition research is it allows for designing and developing more feasible and user-oriented products that eventually help you attain a competitive edge over the current market.

 

3- Work as per your plan but be flexible too:

Efficient planning is a roadmap that drives your business to the top in the long run with predefined routes. It is always advised to stick with our planning even if we face a few hurdles while running our business given that the strategies are designed after in-depth analysis. Day-to-day challenges should not incline you to alter with whatever you planned. The winners always back their business plannings regardless of the stiff challenges, but on the other side, a successful business requires the owner to be flexible enough to embrace new changes. Adapting the new ideas and concepts not only makes a business owner take smart decisions but also, keeps their core planning intact and fresh.

 

4- Use informative materials to build trust and loyalty:

The Internet is the best medium to reach out to the huge audience with less effort, but you should keep the fact in mind that there is already a heavy flow of advertisements and endorsements all over the web. So, what can be an efficient way to create our presence with a significant impact?

There are definitely some better ways to do it like using informative online materials such as well-written blogs, well-designed infographics, animated videos demonstrating some set of skills, and presentation sheets, etc. Following such practices will attract a huge mass to our platform to learn and engage with us, which gives a sense of trust and ultimately convert them into our long-term clients.

 

5- Hire your weaknesses:

A small business consists of a team of limited dedicated professionals, having different skill sets of all the corners to tackle most of the business requirements. Small businesses, sometimes, compromise in some crucial areas since they can’t hire specific individuals due to the lack of budget. To get your business positioned to the top, please don’t bear with your inefficient area. Rush into hiring experienced professional(s) so that all parts of your business fire with the same intensity.

 

6- Be ready for mergers and acquisitions:

Even after working with your full potential, you may not generate enough force to compete with the leading competitors. Other small businesses with the same concept may face the same situations. Just find them and join in the talks to check the possibilities of the merger to form a combined force, which can provide the required pace and power to achieve the common business goals. Mergers have a long, rich history of producing successful businesses, so don’t shy away with it. Similarly, business acquisitions are a noble idea to inject more strength to our business if budget allows us to do so.

 

7- Keep the quality service always on:

Quality service is the most important source that keeps your client for a longer period of time and it spreads huge positive feedbacks in the mass, driving in a large number of new clients. There have been more than just a few businesses reaching to the top just on the base of excellent service and even without spending a bomb on advertisements and business promotions. While there are other businesses which have failed miserably because of giving no importance to the quality of the services they provided. All in all, having the sound quality of the products/services is the key to succeeding in today’s cut throat competition.

 

8- Don’t give up:

Running a successful business is not a child’s play since it requires a lot of guts, courage, and risk-taking capabilities. It, sometimes, shakes your ambitions when going through some rough patches, and you need to have the burning desires within you to keep it alive. Keeping patience is also an important character that the small business owner must have, as the formation of a business and climb the ladder of success, demands to wait for long period of time. So, as a business owner, you need to instill the “never give up attitude”to see your dreams come true!!

Summing it up, though the above-mentioned points are not entirely foolproof but yes, following these points will definitely help you to become a smart small business owner who can defy all the challenges and get on the top of the competition. Of Course, the chances of success or failure of your business completely depends on your planning and execution.

Source: SME Digest

How To Grow Your Side Hustle Into A Successful Business.

How to Grow Your Side Hustle into a Successful Business.

Most new businesses these days start off as side-hustles. The evolution of the internet has made it very easy to have a side hustle business while still having a full-time job.

A side hustle literally means you are still working your full-time job and starting a business on the side which will eventually become large enough to be your new full-time priority.

Whether you’re building a business that will allow you to quit your day job and focus on your passion full-time or are just looking to supplement your income, having a side hustle can be a productive and fun way to spend your off-hours and make some money doing what you love.

Here are the five essential tips to turn your side-hustle into a successful business.

1. Create a strategic plan

Before you can escape your full-time job, you need to have a strategic plan for how your business is going to run once you’re full-time. This strategic plan is high-level only, don’t worry about all the nitty-gritty details yet, that’s for the next step!

Write down your vision, mission, values, and goals. Take what you’ve written down in your strategic plan and then map out the first 90-days with all the nitty-gritty details of how you’re going to achieve those goals.

2. Automate Everything You Can

There’s an app for systematizing almost every aspect of your business. Your goal should be to free up as much time as possible to work on revenue-driving tasks that net the highest return for the limited amount of free time you have outside of your day job.

Invest in tools that will allow you to automate as much as possible. For example, automate social media posting with Buffer, send invoices with an invoice generator, use Gmail’s canned responses to avoid typing out repetitive emails etc.

3. Generate more leads

The fastest way to grow your side hustle to a successful business is by generating more businesses that keep your cash flow positive. Look for and embrace opportunities to write about your business in a way that helps your potential customers know more about your business value propositions.

If you haven’t already, consider starting a blog that focuses on your target audience and builds your own email list from visitors of your blog. Building your own email list means that you don’t have to pay for advertising your latest product or service if you’ve got an engaged list of people who love what you produce.

4. Leverage Freelance Talent

Outsourcing some of your tasks to freelance talent is one of your best ways to do more each day. Set a monthly budget for hiring freelancers and virtual assistants from popular freelance websites to handle the mundane.

They also grant access to freelancers that can handle anything outside of your expertise. Identify the areas of your business that must be handled by you, and work towards finding freelancers to take care of everything else.

5. Master your schedule

If you want to grow your business, then you need to get a handle on your schedule. This doesn’t mean you need to fill every hour of every day, it just means you need to know when you’re working and when you’re not.

You need to stick to deadlines and ensure that you’re not dropping the ball when it comes to getting things that matter to your business done.

Conclusion

As a part-time entrepreneur, time is one of your most valuable assets. Every minute count so much that you need to learn how to manage your time and make sure you stay very productive. The best way to work smarter is to automate repetitive task with dedicated software to eliminate basic human touch points in your business.

Source: Invoice

How Do I Know If I Can Scale My Business?

Question: How Do I Know If I Can Scale My Business?

Ikechi Onyeka, Aba

Answer: As used here, to scale a business means growing it to a bigger size, in terms of the key indicators of performance.

While some businesses may lack the opportunity for scale, but remain lucrative with a small and regular stream of revenue, others may possess the capacity to grow revenue exponentially. In the latter case, with sufficient demand for your product or service, you may make a strategic decision to scale the business.

If you want your small business to become a big player in your industry, you will have to scale it. To do this, you must determine how big you want to become. You must also assess whether your business can realistically grow to the size you desire.

How do you decide whether to proceed with your decision to scale your business?

From your analysis of the industry in which your business operates, here are some of the issues you must consider in answering the question whether you can scale your business:

 

  • Determine the presence or absence of big players in your industry. The presence of big players suggests that there is a good chance your business can scale and also become a big player like them.
  • Identify the things that set apart the big players that are thriving in your industry. You should determine the things that the successful businesses are doing well. It is a good sign if your business is in a position, or can be re-tooled, to act similarly, even if on a smaller scale. It means your business is ready to scale or can be positioned to scale.
  • The knowledge from these inquiries will reveal the gap between the present state of your business and its future state after the scale. It will also point out the practical challenges you must overcome in order to scale the business from where it is to where you want it to be. For examples, getting ready to scale your business may require re-thinking your business model, raising money for expansion or giving up your control of the business.
  • With positive signals from the foregoing considerations, you are in a position to set a new sight to move your business to a higher height.
  • Finally, outline your plan of how to grow the business to the size you want, and work the plan.

How To Start An E-Commerce Business In Nigeria: The Comprehensive Cost

how to start an e-commerce business in Nigeria

Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is a hot new trend in Nigeria and Africa. Multiple e-commerce businesses spring up everyday, with several selling items from different categories. While there are already big players in the Nigerian and African e-commerce industry, there are thousands of observers trying to get accurate financial information on the costs and how to start an e-commerce business in Nigeria or Africa.

Many blogs and financial websites write about the e-commerce industry, but the cost implications are never clear, and as a result, a lot of people trying to start an e-commerce business in Nigeria lose a lot of money because they were misinformed.

Here, I’ll be breaking down the total setup and running costs for anyone who needs information on how to start an e-commerce business in Nigeria. This will help you better plan and adjust your budget before you take the big step.

These costings are based on an exchange rate of 300 Naira to a Dollar in Nigeria.

Here’s a detailed cost estimate on how to start an e-commerce business in Nigeria:

1). Website Setup: 200,000 Naira ($666.67)

2). Payment Integration: Free (Use Paga, Paystack, or Flutterwave! There’s no point spending money on integration fees when there’s a reliable free solution).

3). Domain And Website Hosting: 4,500 Naira ($15). This is a monthly expenditure.

4). Website Logo With Three Initial Banner Designs: 35,000 Naira ($116.67). Find an affordable and creative designer. He/she would work around a price like this or lesser for you.

5). Small Office Space: Free (Start your e-commerce business from your apartment. Don’t rent an office space. You are very likely to regret it if you rent an office. Hardly will any customer visit your office. As your eCommerce business grows, you can expand and move out).

6). Four Office Chairs And A Table: 65,000 Naira ($216.67).

7). Two refurbished Laptop Computers: 150,000 Naira ($500). If you already have computers, even better. Remember, the goal is to totally cut costs.

8). Electricity Generator: 35,000 Naira ($116.67).

9). Generator Fuel: 20,000 Naira ($66.67). This is a monthly expense.

10). Internet Modem: 12,500 Naira ($41.67).

11) Internet Monthly Subscription: 16,000 Naira ($53.34).

12). Delivery Courier Deposit: 17,500 Naira ($58.34). This amount varies per courier. One of the lowest is 17,500 Naira and the courier that offers this is ACE. They’d handle all you deliveries nationwide, and also collect cash on your behalf.

13). Two Delivery Bikes Plus Branding And Helment: 600,000 Naira ($2000). You can’t depend on the couriers for everything. You’d need to handle most of your Lagos or wherever state you’re located’s local deliveries yourself to cut cost and better build a good reputation for really fast deliveries.

14). One Contract Staff: The salary here depends on how you negotiate.

15). One Dispatch Rider: 30,000 Naira ($100). The salary here depends on the salary both you and the staff negotiate. You could pay him as much as 100,000 and even lower. It’s up to you.

16). Company Registration: 85,000 Naira ($283.34)

17). Stationery, Letter Head, & More: 55,000 Naira ($183.34)

18). Advert Budget: 90,000 Naira ($300). This is a monthly expenditure This calculation assumes you intend to spend a maximum of $10 a day on ad spend. $10 a day would produce very little sales daily. Maybe one or two items sold. So the higher your ad budget, the higher the sales from that stream.

19). Miscellaneous Expenses: 20,000 Naira ($66.67).

Total Expenditure Summing Up To The First Month: 1,435,500 Naira ($4,785).

These amounts could vary. They could be slightly lower or multiple times higher, depending on the e-commerce business plan and budget.

NOTE: This e-commerce budget plan does not contain the cost of getting products to sell, photography costs and a lot more. All these combined, could run into several millions of Naira.

These costs are just a tip of the iceberg. Over time, you’d experience a lot of unexpected expenses, your ad spend would exponentially rise, and your general expenditure would sky rocket. How you handle these factors would determine how successful you’ll be.

Now, you know how much it really costs and how to start an e-commerce business in Nigeria.

Source: Start-Up Tips Daily

Six Small Business Growth Strategies

Growth Strategies for Small Business

How does a business grow? This question has been plaguing business leaders since the dawn of modern commerce.

What is it about all the global commercial giants that allowed them to grow from small local businesses and become the champions of the marketplace they are today? These 6 basic business growth strategies can shed some light on that question.

Every business begins small – nothing can form out of a void. No matter how global a business, how many offices it has around the world, how many awards it may have one, it invariably began as a small business, serving a local or niche market. So what’s the secret to going from just a handful of people trying to meet an unfulfilled need in the marketplace to be an industry leader? Simply put: having solid business growth strategies.

There are plenty of ways to grow your business quickly, but business growth strategies aren’t about that, they’re about managing sustainable growth. Too much rapid, exponential growth in a business without the necessary infrastructure can’t be properly maintained, and often ends in disaster. Rapid growth has led many young companies to build their tower too high without fortifying their foundation, and pretty soon the first patch of bad weather brings the whole tower down.

Maintaining a manageable level of growth requires patience and perspective. Despite the conventional wisdom about starting a business, a relentless focus on the ways to grow your business, as opposed to developing well-rounded business growth strategies, can actually hurt the long-term success of the organization.

It’s okay to take a break – without some much-needed time off, you can easily lose perspective on your business’s future. Here are a few points of advice that every business owner should consider:

1. Before you Grow, Plan. When things are going well in one market, you might get the urge to jump into new markets right away. That’s fine, but make sure you plan each new entry before you jump in without looking. When you have a plan, you can set goals and measure whether or not your entry is a success. After that you can sit back and watch your business grow naturally with the increased demand.

2. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Always try to bring something new to the table. There are enough businesses out there taking the path of least resistance, so by doing things a bit differently you might find a whole new niche within your industry.

3. Don’t be afraid to fail. The road to success is paved by failure. It is almost impossible to succeed without failing first. You can learn as much from a failed project as you can from a successful one, but the most important thing to learn about failure is how to get back on your feet and keep trying.

4. Choose the right people. With serious growth comes serious job creation. Make sure not to take it lightly. One of the most important business growth strategies is not to hire the people you need for today, but to hire the people you need for tomorrow. Take all the time (and resources) necessary to find a perfect fit for every role.

5. Keep doing what keeps working. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Growth happens when you’re fulfilling a need. If your business is growing, it means people like what you’re doing. To change your approach now would be to change what it is that makes you successful.

6. Stop doing what doesn’t work. Once you have identified what works, you can start trimming the fat. Identify any expenditures in your company that aren’t generating results and reallocate those resources to what is working, or to a new project.

Source: SME Digest

Interesting Things Small Business Owners Should Know

Things Small Business Owners Should Know

For business owners negligence and ignorance are deadly dangerous. Your small business can take a new turn for good if you desire that right transformation “things business owners should know”.

Don’t just run your small business with the hope of turning it large without putting the round pegs in their right holes. Your business may soon be left behind if you have not known these interesting things. But wait!

Have you ever wondered what you haven’t been doing in your business? Do you know you can transcend your small business just by exposing yourself to the reality side of entrepreneurship? If yes! Keep cool as I expose you to 8 most Interesting things small business owners should know.

1. Your Customer’s Satisfaction Is Directly Proportional To Your Business Growth.

Running a small scale needs you to know the real way to have your stable and willing consumers in your funnel while compelling them to stay until you’re done with them.

If you sell children’s wears or women’s wears. Analyse what they really want. How much they are willing to pay for your goods. The patterns and designs they prefer and their taste regarding all offers. Isn’t that what you desire? To know what they want and offer them satisfaction on a platter of gold.

2. Your Business Success Solely Depends On Your Location.

Every small business owners should be positioned where their ideal customers will see them. You have to specifically look into who is who in your business. Where customers who are willing to pay lie likewise, you should be nearer to your raw materials.

You know you don’t sell newspapers to teens and youths in schools. And POS business may only struggle around big banks. Grab your pen and write down the ideal way your locality have to look like and stick to your plans.

3. Be Exposed To The Logic Of Taxations.

Don’t just input your hard earned cash into tax companies and agencies accounts. Know the taxation prons and cons. Know the returns on tax payment. Smartly call the shots, ask professionals what you need to know.

You’re a small business owner and your tax input and likely output should not be a dividend of a large scale business. Be wise!

4. A Standard Business Must Have A Good Plan.

Aren’t you thinking of thriving in your field? Have you not been thinking of achieving your business goals? If yes. Then get a pen and jotter. Put your words to ink and pen it down. By doing that, you get to know where you are and where you’re going, what you have and what you want. So put your goals in a plan book right now!

5. Bringing Your Business Online Is Going To Be An Added Value.

As a business owner, you are lagging if you’re not online. There are cost-effective websites which you can buy their domain and bring your business to limelight. Social media too can be an added value.

Social media like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are top list ways to sell and advertise your goods and services. Start thinking websites and social media today, you can meet a web designer and social media strategist for in-depth knowledge.

6. You Need To Fund Your Business Ceaselessly.

You are the business owner. You are the only one to play your own tune since you’re the piper.
If you wait for your business to trickle in just the little amount you’ve invested in it, then you’re not up for the game.

If you want to eat the real meat of your business and enable your business to top the chart, now is the time to keep bootstrapping, write that grant, get a low interest loan, harness your own business proficiency by adding more to your business fund day in day out.

Source: Abode Business

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