5 tips for small businesses to maximise online growth

Following the harsher years of the COVID-19 pandemic, transferring everything into the digital space became a priority for a majority of businesses worldwide, from big corporations to one-person vendors. Online is the way to go, and nowadays it is almost unheard of for a small business to not have some sort of internet presence, at least if that business wants a modicum of success.

This is because ecommerce is booming. Buoyed by online vendors even less historically digitally-inclined regions like Sub-Saharan Africa are seeing steady year-on-year growth. By 2025, the ecommerce industry across Africa is expected to be worth $75 billion, according to Infobip.

“With new technologies emerging such as artificial intelligence, there is no time like the present to help your small business grow by taking advantage of the online world,” says GoDaddy, a domain name registry and website builder headquartered in the US.

The company benefits financially from people registering their small businesses through its domains and has detailed some tips to keep in mind before you do so. It can be a confusing process, especially if you’re not the most tech-savvy individual.

Here are five tips to keep in mind for small businesses moving online

Choose the right domain name

Here’s the first of many tips: before moving small businesses online, take some time to consider what their name will be on the internet.

“When getting started, check availability of domain names for the desired name. A domain name can be considered a business’ piece of real estate and identity on the internet. It is a way for customers to easily find a business online,” GoDaddy explains.

Make sure the name is something easy to remember, so that if it is heard in passing a person can take it home with them and into their browser’s search tab. Also, if the .com or extensions are unavailable, fear not as a there are now many new sorts of extensions that will still make sure your business has a sense of professionalism.

These include .shop; .co.; .photography; .tech, to name a few. After you consider what is the best name, head to a reliable domain registry service to get started. There will be costs involved, so keep that in mind.

You will need a website (duh)

You can’t have an online business without a website, even if you register the domain name. It will simply appear as a placeholder until you have the website built. This will allow people to actually spend money on your site and grow your business i.e. the point of this whole thing. If you don’t necessarily sell any products online, a website is essential to bring more information about your business to potential customers, including where they can contact you.

This is a complex process, but luckily free products from companies like WordPress and Wix make this process much easier, less technical, but no less time-consuming. Many people opt to hire companies like GoDaddy to build websites for them.

“A well-designed professional looking website can offer an engaging customer experience with the use of text along with photo images and video. Having a website gives you control over the messaging about your business and can serve as a hub by linking with your social media channels.”

Listening to customers is essential

Now that you have a proper site and your business is plodding along, you should remember to listen to your customers and pay attention to the needs of your target market. You can do this by paying attention to feedback given on your site, or through your respective social media platforms.

“The growth of your business is directly related to customer satisfaction,” explains GoDaddy. ” Identify their problems and pain points. How can your offerings act as a solution? Is it possible to develop new products to help solve these problems? Engage for customer feedback and keep an eye on customer behaviour changes and audience interests.”

It can be stressful running an online business solo, consider a support system

GoDaddy suggests that people who are managing their business online seek some help. It is easy to fall into the trap of listening only to the voice in your head. Sometimes fresh ideas can give your business that much-needed boost.

“In addition to close family and friends, consider mentors and business coaches who can provide relevant insights into your business.”

These insights could be things you miss due to your proximity to your own business, or your passion for it. Third parties and people on the outside can give important constructive criticism.

Make sure your business plan is still viable

Now you have a website set up, you’re getting insight from people close to you and your business is hopefully benefiting from its online presence. It is important at this point to remember the parable of the Dodo Bird, who evolved for hundreds of thousands of years to be flightless, defenceless and especially delicious due to it living solely on an island without any predators.

When the sailors arrived, there went the Dodo Bird. Things will change and you will have to change with them to survive. Remember to review your original business plan often.

“Many entrepreneurs make a business plan at the beginning of their business journey, but do not take the time to revisit it from time-to-time,” GoDaddy indicates.

“So, analysing aspects of that business plan like target audience and competitors, examining cash flows and what can make the business profitable, while also checking timelines to reach business goals is all equally essential to help ensure continued growth of your business.”

These are just a few tips to consider when starting an online presence for small businesses, but your research shouldn’t end here. Continue to look for more information to make sure you’re ready to start this new process and you’re on the right foot to do it.

[Image – Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash]


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