• Monday, March 04, 2024
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Expanding small business through online visibility

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Many small businesses can actually increase sales and expand their operations cost-effectively by becoming more visible online. Some have achieved this feat but still very many entrepreneurs are tech-shy and yet unable to afford another staff to handle this.

But making a business more visible online is not rocket science. Fayo Williams is a pharmacist and also a managing consultant. During a period when she had to stay indoors due to an unexpected circumstance, and being passionate about entrepreneurship, she used the period to get her businesses more visible online.

During a seminar recently, Fayo Williams, now also a consultant on online visibility for businesses, spoke on ‘5 action steps to cut through high-tech internet jargon and double your sales through online visibility.’ She says Nigeria internet penetration is 28.4 percent with about 48,366179 internet users in the country. She stresses that “continue trying things online.” Even the most ignorant person about the use of internet can become a guru by spending at least one hour every day exploring possibilities on the internet.

As videos are more captivating and tell stories better, businesses are encouraged to do short videos or presentations on their products or services. This does not have to be costly as virtually all cameras and many phones can do five to 10 minutes video recording. That is if the business cannot afford a more professional film production.

Some of the sites Williams recommended for businesses to increase their online presence include viewbix.com, lastpass.com, saying “you can upload your video on Youtube and then paste the URL in viewbix.” There is also vimeo. Free sites to paste videos or send the Youtube link include Facebook and Google blogs.”

Quite a number of small businesses are having many callers and increasing sales by simply advertising on blogs and using direct marketing – sending of emails and SMS to drive traffic to the site(s). As the business grows, they then start advertising in conventional media like newspapers. Other sites recommended by Fayo Williams include the Googletrader, BetterWhois.com and bit.ly.com. She recommended opening a Gmail account for the business owner or business.

She further says, “Create an attention grabbing website. Word press is the latest technology to use because it is user-friendly. Create an attention grabbing headline. Here, NextYear.com helps you to generate headlines. Hootsuite.com will give you the opportunity to manage your social media. Tweets can be scheduled to be delivered at various times. Commit to lifelong learning on the web.”

She recommended the use of mentors on internet usage and urged business owners to subscribe to a few sites within their industry. “Be careful of the shining objects syndrome,” she says, indicating that caution should be applied before accepting opportunities being offered on the internet, especially those that look very fantastic.”

Individuals who may not have a business, that is a product or service to offer can also make money online by offering other people’s products for sale, Williams points out.

Making a business visible online would also most often require that payment be made online as well. Within Nigeria, businesses simply send their bank accounts to the customers and require that payment be made before or after the delivery of the goods. But an online payment now available is VoguePay (voguepay.com). Individuals or businesses that are registered on VoguePay can make financial transactions with each other. The business account internet business owners can make and receive online payment from anyone with debit and credit cards whether they have VoguePay account or not.

For personal account, the payment solutions allow the person to make and accept payments online from other voguepay members or etranzact and visa card holders. MasterCard holders would be signed up when they want to pay someone on VoguePay. VoguePay charges 1 percent per internet transaction.

No subscription or signup fees and also provides free shopping cart for the person or business website. Money can also be transferred to other members on VoguePay. The business or individual does not need to have a website to accept payments online with VoguePay

By: OLUYINKA ALAWODE