By Vanessa Papas
Jessica Alba’s online company, The Honest Co., sells eco-friendly baby products; Carmen Electra has an online store that stocks home stripper poles, while Raquel Welch has become well-known for her online wig and hair extension store. The good news is you don’t need lots of money, time or technical knowledge to build an online store. Whether you’re setting up a side hustle to help pay the bills, or taking the plunge and pegging your whole future on a new online business, there are a few things you should consider to ensure your new venture is a success from the get go.
“Industry researcher World Wide Worx forecasts that between 2018 and 2020, local online retail sales will more than double from sales tracked in 2016, reaching almost R20-billion,” says Thomas Pays, CEO of payment company Ozow, which offers any online business, NGO and NPO that processes under R1-million in monthly transactions zero processing fees for 12 months. “Already online retail is projected at about 1.4 percent of total retail in South Africa, based on an estimated R1-trillion spent via traditional channels in 2018. There are many reasons why an online store is the smartest option for emerging business owners, whether you sell products or services, such as allowing customers to shop 24/7 and the ability to analyse spending trends. Eliminating the initial expense for rent also substantially reduces the costs and potential risks for a start-up business.”
If you’re dying to get out there and start making money online, but you think that surely you’ll need thousands in the bank first, we’re about to prove you wrong. Before you get started, Thomas explains there are a few dos and don’ts that will help get your company off its feet:
Choose Your Company Name: It should be something memorable – but not cheesy; something that’s creative but that still makes it easy for potential customers to understand what you do.
Register your company with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and follow instructions on its website on how and what to register with the South African Revenue Services.
Make Sure You Have A Proper Invoicing System Set Up: It should reflect details such as your company name and address, your clients’ details including their VAT number if they have one, and itemised billing of what’s been purchased in each transaction. It’s also vital that you keep good records of your daily turnover – when you’re audited, you’ll find the process much less stressful if all your paperwork’s in place.
Ensure You Have A Business Bank Account For Your New Venture: It must separate from your personal bank account; this is more than a legal and accounting requirement – it will help you make sure that you have accurate insight as to whether your new business is making a profit or a loss.
Choose An Online Payment Partner And Instant Eft Payment Provider: This to facilitate secure, real time payments. Choose a partner that offers low transaction fees, instant notifications, and simple processes, to make sure that your customers don’t leave your site at check-out because the payment process is too complicated.
Provide A Selection Of Payment Choices: Any online entrepreneur offering alternative payment option such as Instant EFT payments, opens themselves up to more potential customers. It’s that simple. During last year’s Black Friday sales, for example, one of South Africa’s largest online retailers encouraged consumers to use alternative payment methods such as EFT to maintain service. EFTs are reliable, quick, and completely trusted and secure. Partners have reported that consumers are embracing them over more traditional methods such as credit or debit cards, particularly during busy shopping periods. Once you’ve got all that admin out of the way, start spreading the word about the products or services you’re selling, and enjoy the rewards of being an entrepreneur!
By Vanessa Papas