Entrepreneurship and female empowerment are two powerful potential catalysts for economic growth in South Africa. Bring them together in the form of higher rates of female entrepreneurship, and you have the potential to contribute to a significant increase in GDP and jobs over the next decade.
To put this into context, the South African government hopes small and medium enterprises will create 90% of new jobs by 2030 under its National Development Plan. Meanwhile, studies from McKinsey show that moving towards higher levels of gender parity could add billions to GDP in African countries by 2025.
Thanks to the internet, it is easier than ever for female entrepreneurs to get a business up-and-running – whether it is an impressive e-commerce site exporting to people around the globe, a catering business serving local customers, or a services side-hustle you wish to grow into a flourishing, full-time consultancy.
Whether your dream is to become financially independent by being your own boss or to build an empire, the entrepreneurial journey in the digital age often begins with a business plan and creating a website. Following International Women’s Day, here are a few tips about how you can get your enterprise going online:
Get your numbers in order
Before you dive in, get your finances together.
Set your rates: Decide roughly how much you want to sell your products and/or services for. If you aren’t sure, work backwards. Consider the amount of time you want to work and how much you want to make. Calculate how much you need to charge to reach that goal.
Set up accounting software: Immediately start tracking your business expenses and managing invoices using an accounting tool.
Keep your finances separate: Instead of taking all the business revenue as income, create a separate account for your business funds.
Tell everyone you know
If you want to be your own boss, there’s something you’re going to need to get used to, and that’s self-promotion. This is where a strong web presence will pay for itself repeatedly.
Get a domain name: As soon as you’ve figured out what you’re going to do, and what you’re going to call your new venture, choose and register the domain name. You’ll want to use your custom domain to set up a branded e-mail account and use as the online address for your website.
Get professional e-mail: Set up a professional e-mail address – an address that includes your domain name. This can help build credibility for your business.
Create a website: Keep it simple as you start. Use a template-based website builder like GoDaddy Website Builder or Managed WordPress tool.
Create a social media account for your business: You don’t need to launch an account on every social network for your business at the beginning. But at least set up accounts in the places where your customers are most active, for example on: LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. This a great way to start promoting your business.
Share posts on your personal social media: Don’t be shy to use your personal social media accounts to share updates and content about your business. Let your network know what you’re up to because they, or someone they know, may need what you’re selling.
Get business cards: While some might think they’re outdated, business cards are a great tool for making and solidifying connections when you meet people face-to-face. Get cards that include your contact information and website URL, and keep them on you at all times.
Build your e-mail list: Create an e-mail list of people who would be interested in your business. Let them know what you’re up to and give them an option to stay in touch (through your list) if they are interested in what you’re doing. Start building an e-mail list of new contacts through your website and networking efforts.
Be ready to change and grow
In a few years or a few months from now, your business might look very different from when you first started. That’s normal. In fact, sometimes it’s essential for your success. As you grow your business, look for the things that can help make your venture successful and bring you the most joy. This can help you better serve your customers, your employees and yourself.
By Selina Bieber, Regional Director for Turkey and MENA at GoDaddy EMEA