18 February 2016

Nigeria: Social Media - Latest Tool for Women in Business

Online business is fast becoming a well-accepted culture in Nigeria. Today, more businessmen and women in the country are using the online space to market their goods and services. The online businesses have continued to grow as most people, especially the elite and urban dwellers, now prefer shopping online.

Items like food, wears, household materials, electronics, books, furniture; both new and fairly used, are displayed for people to purchase. Online shopping, according to industry watchers, remains one area of business with enormous potentials to meet the needs and aspirations of Nigerians and further boost entrepreneurship.

Though the Business Matters Magazine says successfully running an online business is far from easy, stating that about 90 percent of online businesses fail but women have seen it as a soft landing to grow their businesses thereby making the best use of the opportunity.

The potential market in online business makes the industry viable with lots of Nigerian women looking to the internet for their own slice of the cake.

Although many of them now take the advantage to advertise their products or services online, few have succeeded as they grabbed the opportunity early enough. They have made great achievement and are no longer at the background waiting for their daily allowances to be dropped in their laps. Many, in fact, own successful profitable businesses worth millions and what's more, most do it from the comfort of their homes.

The likes of Linda Ikeji and Uche Pedro (Bella Naija) - both bloggers, have carved a niche, doing great, and reaping large figures as income through internet business.

Many were said to go into online business due to lack of capital to rent a place for their business since it does not require a business location. The easiest part is to know and understand ones interest, discover passion and run with it.

Bamidele Taofiq, an M.Sc. graduate of International Entrepreneurship from Nottingham University, said the likes of Linda Ikeji and other prominent Nigerian entrepreneurs that are making a fortune online is because they have ensured they focused on a reliable online business model that works for them.

He said the most effective way to make money online is by starting a service business based on a skill one has which may include agricultural services, writing services or photography, adding that these skills are always ones that benefit the customers.

Shamsiyya Shehu, who said there is always a potential market for businesses who advertise their products online or even the online business, added that she started her make-up business with an online post, stating that she does it for a living.

"The week I posted on twitter, I got three orders for my service, which was a good start but my mistake was that I didn't negotiate the price before so after the service one of the client only paid for the service without paying for the transport fare," she said.

Mary Daniels, who packages and sells cooked food and soups in Zuba, says while doing business on the internet always opens up markets all over the world, it sometimes disrupts ongoing business relationships as a result of logistics.

Mary, who is undergoing her Postgraduate Diploma in Education, said because she displays her products on instagram, she gets orders from faraway Kaduna and Lagos which she cannot meet up with because of distance.

"So you see, I only take orders from Abuja here, but majority of my orders are not from around Abuja, and I wonder how much I would be making if I can meet up the demands," she said.

Mercy John sells hair extensions and cosmetics, and tell our reporters that the age of technology has made businesses much more easier, stating that when the customers are not comfortable with only speaking and placing orders on phone, she asks that they make video calls which allows them see the samples live on camera which usually gives them the assurance that they are getting genuine products.

Philomena Archibong is a graduate of Mass Communication who is into catering services focusing majorly on Nigerian soups making. She makes use of the social media in marketing her business but said she's planning to have a website where people can visit and place their orders too.

Hajia Sekina Yusuf also grabbed the opportunity of the social media in marketing her goods to her teeming customers whom she said place orders as soon as they see her goods displayed on her Facebook wall and her Instagram.


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