5 Strategic Approaches to Upscaling Your Online Business – Najeeb G. Abdulhamid PhD

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Seeing our young people pursuing legitimate ways to earn a living truly warms my heart, especially at this time when they can sell their products from the comfort of their homes. Thanks to the internet.

There are many inspiring stories about how some of these younger ones started their businesses. Among the stories shared on Facebook is about a young man who took pictures of his neighbour’s animals and posted them alongside their price tags on his story (Instagram and Facebook). Eventually, a buyer showed interest. To cut a long story short, the uploader’s story is one of success. Many people learned from his innovative approach.

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If not for space, we could go on and on and share several success stories. Online business is gradually gaining acceptance among our people. There are several stories of success, such as GatMeals. Nevertheless, as someone with a longstanding interest in internet sociology, I have observed that many online business owners lack the knowledge and skills to use social media fully.

It is against this background; I will attempt to highlight five strategic approaches to upscaling an online business.

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1. Understanding the Art of Digital Marketing 

As someone who obtained at least two diplomas and certifications in digital marketing and social media marketing, I realise that many of these online entrepreneurs I associate with depend on their intuition while engaging in their business. The way they market their products is bereft of basic knowledge of online markets and human psychology. For this reason, I would recommend taking some time to learn some basic digital marketing courses. Luckily, there are tons of free online courses to take. For example, to master the art and science of marketing on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has an amazing platform called Meta Blueprint that offers courses on how to market products. The courses are free and even have different professional certification routes for those interested in obtaining certifications. In addition, Google offers free courses on digital marketing called Google Digital Garage, which is professionally assembled for people to boost their businesses. Likewise, the same Google developed an app called Google Primer Apps to allow people to access digital marketing courses on their mobile phones even if they have no data. The app is amazing, and people can learn from the comfort of their homes.

2. Graphic Design

In my day-to-day observation of these online entrepreneurs, graphic design is one area many did not take seriously. To some, graphic design is not an important part of the equation. But, for any business-minded person, design appeals to the mind, and as Thomas C. Gale argues, it “adds value faster than it adds costs.” For this reason, I suggest our entrepreneurs devote time to learning how to improve their businesses using design tools and strategies. Luckily, Canva Design School provides a free online course for anyone interested in learning the art of design.

3. Information management and documentation

Apart from learning the art of marketing and design, one of the most important skills is information management and documentation. Information management means the art of keeping records of business expenses using a filing system. As an entrepreneur, there is a need to have a system for recording transactions and understand how to prepare an income statement, balance sheets and cash flow statements. Several platforms, such as Accounting Coach, Alison and CFI, offer free online courses on basic accounting fundamentals. In addition, entrepreneurs can enrol in Google Cloud Skills Boost free training to learn how to keep their accounting records online using Google Sheets.

4. Professional communities and mentors

Our budding entrepreneurs can boost their network, knowledge, skills, and experience by following professional communities and mentors. Ruben Chavez is quoted as having said, “The person you will be in five years depends on the information you feed your mind today. Be picky about the books you read, the people you spend time with and the conversations you engage in.” With that in mind, I suggest our entrepreneurs subscribe or follow the activities of the following platforms/communities: Being Guru, Entrepreneur Mindset, Harvard Business School Online, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Inc. Magazine, The Millionaire Habits, The Dreamer, Young Entrepreneur, Business Mindset, Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneur.

I would also suggest following the following personalities online to learn from their wisdom, such as Badamasi Aliyu Abdullahi, Tony Robins, Strive Masiyiwa, Brian Tracy, Sabri Suby, Evan Carmichael, Dan Lok, Dave Asprey, Robert Kiyosaki and Michael Hyatt.

5. Start-up School

Regardless of your status as an entrepreneur, I recommend enrolling in Start-up School to learn various aspects of entrepreneurship. The school is running an  8-week self-paced training for free to teach people start-up ideas, talking to users, pitching your business and how to plan your MVP, among others. Furthermore, I suggest subscribing to its library to access veritable resources to help entrepreneurs conduct their business smartly and maximise their profits.

In conclusion:

Being an entrepreneur does not only mean engaging in business but also includes the combination of continuous learning, practice, networking, ethics, and trustworthiness. This short piece highlights how entrepreneurs can access different learning resources and a network of practitioners and communities.

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