Chris Koney’s column … Online businesses, is it the way to go? 

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The coronavirus pandemic is still capturing our near full attention with many reports suggesting headway in the fight against the pandemic and its related crisis. Around the world, millions of lives have been severely affected with no hope in sight when life will return to normal.

Businesses around the globe are folding up or either laying off their staff as part of a downsizing measure aimed at minimizing their operations in a bid to ensure business continuity. And this accounts for thousands of families that have lost and continue to lose their livelihoods on a daily basis.

For businesses to survive in these difficult times, they need to become very innovative and dynamic. This is a perception widely held by social commentators and business leaders who are advocating for new approaches in business development and management.

To have first-hand information on how the online business space in Ghana is faring, I spent time over the weekend to have an interaction with some business owners on the subject; if moving businesses online is a way for businesses to survive the coronavirus?

Juliet Glover Chartey, popularly known as the Celebrity Chef is the Founder of Jules Kitchen, a full service Event and Food Solutions Company and the brain behind Accra’s most popular music and food event, Jollof By Night.

Speaking about online businesses, Juliet said “we live in a golden age of wealth and we actually live in a time that is ripe with opportunity and the potential for monumental business growth at a scale never experienced before. Thanks to the internet and smartphones, the amount of commerce being conducted online has experienced explosive growth”.

The beauty of the internet is that you can literally launch a business and make money online with very little to no capital. If you understand the mechanics of online marketing, or if you are great at social media, you will clearly find it easier. You don’t necessarily need to be a professional to start your business online according to the Celebrity Chef.

“Our services include venue rentals, corporate events, kids party, outdoor events, ushering and waiter services, weddings and other kinds of event. We provide refreshment at all these events in addition to our daily food deliveries. Our business is driven hugely by social media,” Juliet added.

Considering that virtually every brick-and-mortar store has made the transition to an online business, Beatrice Koduah, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Trice Closet believes there is certainly no shortage of competition, but rather plenty of so-called blue-ocean.

Trice Closet is a Ghanaian owned company, precisely an online shop that deals in women’s beauty needs and accessories. Ms. Koduah added that “while most might make it appear like Amazon is the only company reaping the benefits of the ecommerce boom, the growth is widespread and across every single sector”.

Starting an online business takes some legwork with some legal and financial hoops that you will need to jump through. According to Beatrice, it is important that you consult with key stakeholders to have a deeper insight into the sector before commencing your business.

She added that “once you are ready, starting a business online is always possible with just a little investment. I can recount when I started Trice Closet some four years ago with just my savings but with a desire to make it work. At the time, I couldn’t afford a physical shop and saw the future in establishing an online shop instead. With just a product when we started, we now have a broad collection of items from ladies clothes, shows, cosmetics, hairs, perfumes, lotion, kente and other products for ladies.”

According to Beatrice, in these times of the pandemic when people are not willing to go into physical shops, the demand for online businesses has sharply risen and sees the growth of online businesses after the pandemic due to convenience.

Like anything else in this world, you will either need a lot of time or a lot of money. If you have both, then clearly, you are ahead of the game. Considering that time is finite and we only have a certain amount of it, using your time wisely and managing your time properly is crucial to ensure your success.

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