Do your own an offline business in Nigeria? But you don’t have any online presence. It means that you are losing business to your competitors. There are about 92 million active internet users in Nigeria according to the most recent data by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). These users actively browse & use the web even for their small daily needs. Whether is it buying groceries, gifts or branded clothes for a party, or searching for a hotel for your next trip, most offline things have shifted online. So ignoring this fact & not taking advantage as a business is a stupid mistake. Here’s how you can leverage the Internet to grow your Business: 1. Showcase your brand & products online: Getting their brand in-front of your prospects at every point is the first thing that every small business needs to consider. But this is not very easy with traditional offline methods. Imagine having to carrying your business card around to give to your prospects & what if they lose it? But this will never happen if you have a website. Creating your business website will make it easier for your prospect to find you and for you to showcase your products & services to your new leads. It would be like an online brochure of your enterprise on Internet. Your will no longer have to distribute visiting cards but rather your potential clients can always find all your services & products through your website. 2. Sell your awesome products online: Selling your products online is probably something that you should not ignore. Sellers on Jumia sell almost $200 million worth of goods online every year in Nigeria. And there are so many other sites like Amazon, Ebay, Konga, Yudala & Olx. If you have a product that you think will get people interested then you must showcase it online. According to the data by Konga, almost 184,000 active online shoppers are buying online from them. This may be small for big businesses but for small sellers this cannot be ignored. So many businesses are setting up online stores. You can list your products on Jumia or Konga or you can also start your own store & accept online payments. All it takes these days is N3600 to buy domain name & hosting for your website from trusted Registrar like DomainKing Nigeria & you will be ready to sell online. Who should run an online store: It is best for fashion brands & mobile sellers as these are the 2 hottest selling online items. But there is not limit as you can run your 24/7 shop for your Ankara designs, gift items store or even your Tokunbo car dealership. 3. Leverage the search: I think that almost every Nigerian internet user uses Google daily. And there are almost 92 million of them. So running your business but not leveraging Google for selling your products or generating leads for your business seems like a very stupid mistake! By creating a website for your business & optimizing it for Google can bring you many leads. This involves ranking your website for a keyword when someone searches for it online. For example: Your may be a designer who sells the most beautiful Ankara dresses, what if you can rank your website on Google such that whenever someone searches for Ankara, your brand shows up in top results! Won’t that bring cool business & profits for you? Google favors the Nigerian websites in its local index (google.com.ng) so getting a local domain (.ng or .com.ng) and web hosting in Nigeria is a must for starters. Also hosting your website in Nigeria will load it very swiftly for your online visitors. 4. Reach the Global market: Maybe you are an export business where you sell your products to importers from different countries. The internet it perfect for you to sell your goods easily. An online presence for your export house will enable you to reach markets beyond normal reach of an offline business. For example, if you export almonds or cocoa, you can find importers from every country on sites like Alibaba. Also, if you own a hotel or a lodge in Lagos, then you can list your hotels on websites such as Jumia Hotels, Expedia, Tripadvisor etc. so that any international traveler who is looking to visit Nigeria can stay at your lodge. So are you reaching a global market right now? 5. Low-Cost Customer Acquisition: You can acquire new customers for a very low cost with online advertising. It gives you the opportunity to reach your target audience even with a small budget. Marketing & Advertising cost for Offline channels like traditional door to door marketing, letters & TV/Radio ads (if you can afford it) does not normally help you reach the right buyer for your product or service! But with online advertising channels you can pay for performance marketing where you only pay for conversions. For example: You can be a “Law firm in Lagos”, you can create your website & advertise it on Google to acquire new recurring business for your Law firm extremely affordably. 6. Customer Support & Feedback at your fingertips: Proper feedback from your clients is very vital to keep your client happy. Imagine having to call your 500+ clients for their feedback & keeping track of it. It’s very hard right? But the same thing can be setup & managed in 5 minutes with a feedback form on your website. You just have to email or SMS all your clients to give their reviews & it will all be recorded live for your tracking. This will help you to get faster reviews from your customers to make informed decisions before you lose your valuable customer. So what’s next? If you are a serious business owner then you should definitely consider leveraging the internet for your future growth.