Being online as a business is no longer an option, it is a requirement if your product is to meet your consumers where they are, and the growth in technology has made it so easy to be online, you can practically start and run your business for free. Over 92% of South African adults own cellphones, of that 69% are smartphones. The average user of a smartphone spends over three hours a day on the Internet and a further two hours plus on social media – making online a worthwhile space to meet the consumer.
Mags Ponnan, head of the business incubator and customer value propositions at FNB Business, shares a basic cost-effective toolkit that your business can implement.
Read more: What digital will deliver by 2027
Business registration – The relationship started by FNB and the CIPC allows entrepreneurs to apply and launch their business through a bank (applying for a business account at the same time) has been extended to all the banks now.
Website – You can buy a domain name from as little as R79. You can then host a site for as little as R45 per month; these usually come with an email linked to the domain. If you don’t have that sort of money, you can use free online platforms that allow you to open and run a website for free.
Communications – Social media platforms are free; pair that up with apps that allow you to call, message, and conference at next to nothing and you are able to be in contact with clients online while keeping your operating costs for business communications at a minimum.
Advertising – The rise in digital has allowed for affordable and targeted advertising at a fraction of what you would pay for TV, radio or print. Just R500 – R2 000 could buy one thousand impressions on a busy website, far less then that could buy you targeted campaigns on platforms such as Facebook too. The trick is to also allow the customer to be redirected to your home website and ensure that the process for him to take up the product to be really easy.
Online payment gateways – There are numerous payment gateways that can be linked to your website to sell your product online; the cost per transaction is also very affordable.
Accounting services – Various platforms can enable a business to keep professional financial records at no extra cost to the entrepreneur, making it easy to pay staff and manage incomes and expenditure on their business portfolio.
“Effectively, the use of digital enables a business to drastically reduce the cost of operating by taking away the administration angst and reaching a greater number of entrepreneurs over a wider geographical area, which in turn frees you up enough to spend time fine-tuning your business offering,” concludes Ponnan.