Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Bootstrapping Your Online Business

Image credit : Myriam Jessier

When starting a new business venture, having too much money is usually worse than having too little. Excess capital always finds expenses to incur; it makes you spend money like the Nigerian government. For instance, when the government decides to promote agriculture, the first item on the agenda is to get a public relations firm to develop a policy paper on how to publicize that intention; little wonder there may be nothing left to guarantee credit for struggling farmers’ cooperatives to acquire tractors or to fund modern farming advisory practices. Similarly, being flush with cash tends to make one focus on image rather than substance.

It is therefore important right from the onset to plan your priorities and to discern what matters and what does not. For instance, one could easily spend too much adding bells and whistles to the design of your web address when all you really need is a simple to use, easy to navigate online store that will not discourage customers from place orders. You will need to have a budget for online advertising but keep in mind that a low cost campaign over an extended period, allowing your potential customers to see your adverts several times in other to make your message sink may be better than full page print and huge online banner adverts that hit your bottom line with a thud and then, are gone with the wind. 

I will dwell more on promoting your website. Because your business is online does not mean that the marketing campaign will always be online too. And rather than focus only on advertising, it is import ant that a start-up make full use of other marketing approaches especially public relations, participation in trade fairs, giving out branded promotional items like tee shirts as free gifts and finding ways to get your online venture mentioned in the regular press. The latter will involve developing newsworthy activities for your business. There is no one size fits all strategy; the channels to be used to publicize your website will depend on the personal characteristics of your targeted customers. You must seek them out and only spend on activities that should get their attention.

Finally, beware of losing focus. Have you visited a well located boutique with nicely designed interior layout and smartly dressed sales assistants only to be disappointed to discover that they scarcely stock up to fifty items? The layout of an online store is often designed to facilitate the display of large quantities of items at a glance. If you want to excite your customers to keep coming back, you need to stock up with variety so they always have a choice. Spend only on what really matters.

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