There has never been a better time to start an online business in Kenya than now.
It is a known fact that the Internet industry has come to stay and of course it is one industry that plays key roles not only in the business world, but also in almost all the aspect of what goes around in our world today.
As we move towards a more digital economy, we find that the Kenyan consumer is becoming more sophisticated, with Kenya leading the Africa Internet penetration with 67% of the population in Kenya classified as Internet users. (31.99m Internet users) versus 18% of the total African population defined as internet users.
Mobile subscription penetration is at 82% driven by a continuing favourable landscape of the smartphone industry and internet connection brought on by increased competition with current players and new players entering into the Kenyan market.
These statistics pose a great opportunity for any aspiring entrepreneur who has the required start – up capital and technical expertise to start his or her own Businesses sell online through e-commerce and M-commerce and also automate their selling.
Moreover, online businesses are cheaper to start since some expenses like physical offices or inventory are eliminated. Statistically, an online business done right stands a better chance of growing than a conventional business.
How To Start Your Online Business in Kenya
1. First Things First: Decide What Kind of Products/Services You Will Sell
What do people want (to pay for)?
The very first step in finding a product to sell is market research. This is arguably the most important step in your journey to becoming an online entrepreneur.
You need to know what people want. Specifically, you need to know what people are willing to pay for. Better yet, you need to know what A LOT of people are willing to spend money on.
What can happen if you ignore this step? You risk spending lots of time and money creating a product that nobody wants. Even with market research, this risk never goes away. But without market research, you are simply gambling with your money and time. Not smart. Begin your market research by picking a larger market then narrowing down your niche.
Narrowing down your niche in your chosen market will enable you to know whether you will focus on digital products e.g apps, softwares, downloads etc. or sell physical products through ecommerce.
This will also enable you to settle on your business and revenue model, payment methods, delivery channels to customers etc.
2. The Necessary Evil: Register Your Business
Do I really need a business license to start an online business in Kenya?
Yes and No. This is a debatable question and it all boils down to the type of online activity you will engage yourself in.
However, if you are looking to grow your business in the long run, it is necessary to register your business name so as to prevent other people from using it. You will also have an added advantage of creating a reputable brand both online and offline. This will also come in handy when opening a business bank account.
If you intend to collect payments online via Lipa Na Mpesa, your business registration certificate will be required. Registering your business is very crucial since it will be regarded as legal and you can also obtain bank loans.
To some, the idea of running a business from their pajamas makes them feel entitled to be excluded from paying permits, taxes and statutory fees due to lack of a physical office. However, kindly note that this might attract penalties and liabilities in case the government catches up with you.
3. Almost There: Register Your Domain Name and Hosting.
Like an address that directs people to your physical shop, a domain name is an online address that directs visitors to your website or online store eg. www.myshop.com or www.jumia.co.ke . The website and all its files including email accounts are “housed” in a server space, also known as web-hosting.
Deciding on your business name and registering your domain name should be done in tandem. The last thing you want is to find out that one or the other (the domain you bought or the name you chose) is registered to some other business.
There are clear benefits to having a domain name that’s the same as your company or product name. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you when they search for you online.
Register your domain and hosting on Our cloud platform that guarantees you 100% server uptime and LiteSpeed & SSD Caching that gives you 18x more speed on your website.
On top of that, we will give you a Free Lifetime SSL Certificate to secure your domain name, emails and websites. All these come with a 30 Days Money Back Guarantee and a 24/7/365 customer support.
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4. Getting Your Hands Dirty: Create Your Website or Online Store
A website is the anchor point of your online business because it will serve as a point of selling, marketing and dealing with your customers. This is why you need to invest in a high quality, mobile responsive and easy-to-use website.
There are two ways of approaching this: one is by hiring a web designer in case you require a complex design or features integrated into your online store. You may also not have the time or technical know-how so outsourcing this to a team is recommended.
The second option is by using our free SitePro drag-and-drop website builder to create your website in 3 Minutes. We provide thousands of free templates you can use right away and customize them to suit your business.
The most important elements to consider when creating your online store or website are: Shopping cart to use, Payment Processor, Checkout Methods, Coupons, User Registration, Email marketing integration, Your Logo and Graphics etc.
5. The Final Lap: Market Your E-commerce Store/Website
The adage “If you build it, they will come” is definitely not the case with online businesses. It is impossible to under-estimate the value of marketing when it comes to introducing and maintaining a new online business in Kenya.
Now that you have listed your products and services on your website/blog or online store, it’s finally time to let the world know. Marketing and promotion are essential to the success of your online store. There are numerous ways to attract potential buyers and traffic depending on your budget.
- Use search engines to drive targeted buyers to your store by using PPC Ads(Pay Per Click)
- Establish an expert reputation for yourself by providing information, expert content and distributing it.
- Use the power of email marketing to turn visitors into buyers by building an opt-in list.
- Content marketing (blogging) may or may not be part of your initial marketing plan. The key here is to retain optionality.
- Leverage Social media marketing
- Write a proven sales copy on your website and on all your product pages
6. Conclusion: Wash, Rinse and Repeat.
You’ve just learned a step by step strategy for making money from home by starting your own online business in Kenya and earn passive income online!
Fortunately for you, this process is repeatable. And since you are earning passive income, you have the time, freedom (and money) to repeat this process!
Simply start from the top and market research another product. The goal is to build your brand and billionaire empire by building your repertoire of products. Every product line you build is another line of business / passive income. Each income stream will accelerate your next venture because you now have more money and resources!