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Startups: Why investing in your online presence is essential for growth

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Startups (Image credit: entrepreneur.com)

Ever since we entered the electronic era it has become increasingly part of the global business culture to search for products and services online and make transactions. It’s therefore crucial for any business looking to thrive that a virtual version of the company, particularly for new and small businesses, is accessible on the web.

Establishing an online presence for your business means that your company has 24/7 visibility. It’s also the most innovative way of building your brand, engaging with your existing clients or potential customers, and creating networking opportunities. In addition, being online extends your business’ reach beyond your physical geographical location and allows you to access markets you may not have been able to otherwise.

Furthermore, you can cost-effectively promote your offerings beyond borders and create a demand for your products or services in previously inaccessible markets, giving your business unlimited growth potential.

The importance of establishing your business on the internet

The internet democratises commerce due to its anti-monopoly nature which gives startups or small businesses the opportunity to create far-reaching impressions and the chance to compete with larger and more resourced corporations on an even playing field. However, to gain competitive advantage online is not a matter of simply just creating a generic web page in hopes that customers will come flocking because if that’s the assumption then you’re unfortunately mistaken.

The Digital Economy Survival Toolkit is a book that highlights why being online is important for startups and small businesses. It gives insight into why any business should invest in having an online presence. It also covers the key elements that make a website effective and how to successfully launch a new product and fund a startup.

Knowing what it takes to be successful business on digital platforms is important and every startups should learn why strategic networking is truly the nexus between entrepreneurs and success. In today’s world of remote working, knowing how to use virtual staffing to better your business has become vital. Communicating with customers via webinars and understanding the importance of branding your webinars is also key to successfully launching a profitable online business.

In terms of growing reach and traffic, entrepreneurs need tools that enable them to ensure their businesses have competitive SEO rankings because without brand visibility there’s no way to drive large volumes of traffic to a website. Other crucial aspects that give online entrepreneurs the edge include knowing how to combine email and social media to maximize the impact of marketing campaigns.

So before you introduce your company to the world of internet users, which according to Internet World Stats is roughly just under half of the total global population and set to significantly increase over the coming years, you need to have a clear strategy outlining your objectives as far as what it is you hope to achieve by establishing your company’s presence online.

Setting up your digital real estate

Having a basic web penetration strategy allows you to have an idea of what to expect and to estimate the rate of return for the resources you will invest in setting up your online presence. Most small businesses and startups do not always have access to large budgets which can be allocated to this however, it should be encouraging to know that the prices for building a decent website are fairly reasonable depending on the scope and you can get started by simply:

  • Picking a unique domain name and selecting a hosting service package – you can get free web hosts and portfolio sites online but it’s best to have your own domain name which you can personalise for your business.
  • Finding a design that best fits your brand – with almost an unlimited number of website designs available, you want to find one that gives your users the best experience and reflects your aesthetic.

Key elements that make a website effective

There are several actions you would need to take in order to give your startup the edge it needs to successfully compete in an extremely competitive world. A good website should incorporate some, if not all, the elements listed below:

Captivating headlines

Every website should clearly communicate your business offering to potential customers from the start.  It is therefore important to have simple but impactful headlines. Your headlines and subheadings should describe what your business does in a straightforward manner. Remember, first impressions are everything and if your content is not engaging from the get-go customers will most likely bounce off your site.

Comprehensible value propositions

Once you have briefly outlined what your business offers, the next step is to show your audiences why what you do matters. Here you should focus on showing the benefits or advantages of your products or services by explaining the main features.

Success indicators

Since the internet is inundated with sites promising consumers all kinds of benefits, it is crucial that you show why customers should choose your products or services over the competition by proving how those who have already chosen your business have benefited. This is also an opportunity to gain the trust of any potential customers.

Resources and content

Customers tend to initially visit websites with the intentions to find out more information and not necessarily to make immediate purchases, which is why most startups or businesses are enhancing their offerings by providing potential customers valuable content relevant to their products and services.

Calls-to-action

Ultimately, the purpose of your website is to convert visitors into customers. To do this effectively, it is imperative that you include a call-to-action on your site. For maximum impact you can have one at the top of the webpage and another at the bottom. Good call-to-actions are designed to inspire an immediate response from your audiences with the most popular ones being “call now” or “visit our store today”. You can also use call-to-actions to generate sales leads by including a “find out more” option where website visitors would be prompted to submit some basic personal information such as email addresses in order to access more comprehensive content.

Optimising your website

Creating a compelling website which functions effectively is the next step towards cementing your company’s presence online. In order to achieve this you need to ensure that your newly created website is optimised. This allows your webpages to be easily discoverable in search engines and rank higher in search results, making it easier for potential customers to find you. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) involves adding valuable content to your site and using keywords to drive organic traffic to your website.

To make your website search engine friendly and for best performance, there are several areas you could focus on including:

Also Read: Meet The Resilient Black Brothers Saving The Planet One Car At A Time

Keywords

These are essentially topical words or phrases that are used for emphasis. They are also words used by search engines to find relevant pages on the web. Startups or businesses should aim to create content around topics pertaining to their business offering which can help them rank higher in search results so that people looking for information related to those keywords have a greater chance of landing on their webpages. Your choice of keywords should help visitors and potential customers understand the purpose of your page.

Content

For your website to gain prominent visibility online you have to create content that is well-written and error free. Producing great content not only helps your website rank higher in search results but also keeps your audiences engaged and establishes you as an authority in your desired sphere of influence on the internet. Above all, make sure you create quality content that gives readers value.

Responsive Design

With more people accessing web content via mobile devices in comparison with desktop computers, it is crucial that you use a responsive or mobile optimised design for your website. Search engines such as Google also recommend responsive design since it makes it much more convenient for visitors to have a single URL. Setting up your website in this way helps web pages load faster because your website will not have to be redirected to another page for a mobile device.

The secret to success for small businesses and startups

Now that you know why it’s important to set up a presence for your business on the internet and understand the importance of online participation, as well as what it takes to have a functional website, you can rest assured that you’re not lagging behind the competition.

The secret to succeeding in the digital era rests simply on knowing how to utilize the web to your company’s advantage. What’s great is that the internet acts as a great resource for finding techniques to enhance your business and because the developments on how best to thrive online are ever evolving, you too have a fair chance of boosting your business prospects and no one can claim to have the upper hand as long as you stay updated on the developments.

For a comprehensive list of descriptive links to free resources, tools, platforms and apps that you need to set up an income generating business on the internet also check out The Digital Entrepreneur Manual.

Author: Heath Muchena

Press Release

The Gender Mainstreaming for Climate Entrepreneurship

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The Gender Mainstreaming Programme 2024 organized by the Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre aimed to close the gender gap in climate entrepreneurship. NCIC achieves this objective by collaborating with industry players, and stakeholders to drive and gain support for women in the industry, across Nigeria and the world at large. WeClimeEquallyWorkshop and the G-FIVE Business Accelerator by NCIC are the two instruments the organization uses to foster gender equality and climate-focused entrepreneurship. 

The Gender and Climate Workshop Event 

This Year’s WeClimeEquallyWorkshop 2024 with the theme: Equity and Sustainability Towards a Prosperous Future was held on Thursday 21, March 2024 at Four Points by Sheraton. The welcome address was led by Mr. Adamu, the Chief Operating Officer who represented Bankole Oloruntoba, the Chief Executive Officer, of NCIC. He emphasized the work of NCIC in championing projects that drive gender equality and entrepreneurship.

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 Mrs. Titi Oshodi, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Climate Change and Circular Economy rendered the Goodwill Message and raised the need for effective communication to spur the needed change as there are many communication nuances in the Nigerian landscape. Rendering the speech of His Excellency Babajide Sanwolu, Governor of Lagos state, Mrs. Oshodi plauded that the WeClimEqualityWorkshop provides a pivotal platform to exchange knowledge and amplify women’s voices and ensure their meaningful participation in climate and circular economy because there is a link between gender, women, and marginalization is essential.

The workshop also featured 4 expert paper presentations delivered by industry experts from KPMG, FC4SLagos, Fate Foundation, and academia. In addition, attendees were treated to an intriguing panel session on applying a gender lens to the triple Es of Employment, Environment, and Entrepreneurship. Following hours of interactions, attendees were allowed an opportunity to co-create practical strategies to infuse gender lens in organizational programming, policies, and framework. 

Green Females in Venture Enterprise Business Accelerator 

Building on some key outcomes of the #WeClimeEqually Workshop, 50 climate-focused women entrepreneurs entered a 4-day hybrid business accelerator program delivered in partnership with the Lagos Business School Sustainability Center. Core modules of the accelerator centered around sustainability, innovation, legal regulatory frameworks, business management, and grant writing amongst others. 

Additional program support included a nursery for mothers, accommodation, a virtual learning platform for long-distance learners, and bonding activities. Participants were also certified at the end of the program. The Gender Mainstreaming for Climate Entrepreneurship is sponsored by Climate KIC; Europe’s leading Climate Innovation and Irish Aid. To learn more about the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center Visit the website here https://nigeriacic.org/about-us/

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PayRetailers announces its expansion to Africa strengthening its presence in emerging markets

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PayRetailers Co-Founders (Image: Supplied).

PayRetailers, the leading payment processor for Latin America is pleased to announce its new expansion to Africa. With coverage across four countries, the company offers a unified payment solution that will be a game changer for cross-border online merchants looking at Africa as their next move for strategic growth.

To strengthen its presence in the continent, PayRetailers is activating its payment processing functions in Rwanda, Zambia, Uganda, and Tanzania. This will offer a simple, user-friendly, and scalable experience to businesses looking to grow their regional operations and give them access to major local methods like SPENN, Airtel, and MTN.

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This market is increasingly connected and mobile and destined for strong growth, which is why PayRetailers, in its mission to increase financial inclusion and continue supporting business growth in emerging markets, has decided to activate its networks in the region and drive this exciting era of prosperity.

Lorenzo Pellegrino, Chief Operating & Digital Officer at the fintech, states: “As a part of our strategic expansion, we are extending our coverage to four markets in Africa, at least to start with. Over the coming months, we plan to steadily expand our operation in the continent, which is experiencing incredible growth in the payments industry and has massive potential for merchants looking to diversify and broaden their consumer base. Using the stellar and continuous growth we have experienced in LATAM as our guide, we are well-poised to help businesses thrive faster and more sustainably.”

“We recognize the immense potential and significance of venturing into these dynamic markets,” adds Juan Pablo Jutgla, CEO of PayRetailers. “Each new addition to our market coverage is a gateway into untapped opportunities and strengthened partnerships, ensuring our sustained growth and global relevance. Our imminent expansion into additional countries across West, North, and Southern Africa underscores our commitment to empowering our clients and connecting them with diverse consumer bases across the continent.”

From May onward, businesses will be able to operate in the region using PayRetailers for their online users, representing a major milestone for its client portfolio and its innovation strategy for 2024.

To secure its standing in the African market, the company reveals further expansion plans already in stow for the coming months.

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AFEX Ranks 5th on FT Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2024

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AFEX Management (Image: Supplied).

AFEX, Africa’s leading commodities market player, announced that it has secured a place in the Financial Times (FT) ranking of Africa’s Fastest-Growing Companies in 2024. Coming in at Number 5 this year, this marks the organization’s 3rd consecutive entry on the list, after ranking as the fastest growing company in Africa in 2023. 

The Financial Times, in partnership with Statista, recognizes Africa’s most exciting businesses through the Fastest Growing Companies ranking, celebrating thriving businesses with exceptional revenue growth. The list ranks African companies by their compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue for 2019 and 2022. In that period, AFEX grew by 287.82% in the 4-year period, despite still felt effects of COVID-19, macroeconomic headwinds and market upheavals caused by uncertain policy environments and increasing natural disasters/ climate change effects witnessed in its existing markets of Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.

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Since 2019, AFEX has been working across Africa, creating an efficient market for commodities trading and solving food insecurity by driving financing from the Nigerian Capital markets and retail investors. In 2020, the launch of their digital trading platform, ComX, lowered barriers for commodity trading and alternative investments, while providing transparent financing options for the currently fragmented agriculture value chain. Through innovative financial instruments like the FETC and Asset Backed Commercial Papers which have historically performed well, AFEX is creating the infrastructure to boost agriculture production across Africa. 

Akinyinka Akintunde, President/CEO, AFEX Nigeria said “We are proud to once again be featured on the Fastest growing companies list for the third time in a row. This year’s entry is perhaps more significant for us considering the harsh market environment that a lot of businesses are undoubtedly contending with. This is a testament to all the work we have put in over the past few years to ensure Africa’s food self-sufficiency. Our expansion into Cote d’Ivoire this year also mirrors our commitment to our strategic expansion plan, Project Black Panther, which sees us replicating our business model in 9 African countries in the next decade to improve cross border trade on the continent”.

Today, AFEX has impacted the lives of over 500,000 farmers across 4 countries, while prioritizing creating a positive and lasting difference in their communities. Ultimately, AFEX is empowering local farming communities, fostering economic opportunities, and contributing to Africa’s sustainable self-sufficiency as the company prioritizes its impact goals.

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