The current era is being referred to as the information age. If you have been observant enough, you will notice that entrepreneurs are ditching the old business models and using rather unconventional ways of doing business. Regarding business, modern day companies can no longer ignore the influence of the internet in doing business. The proliferation of online based business has mainly been spearheaded by young people who are ditching the bureaucratic way of doing business.
With online based business, an entrepreneur can start operations from the comfort of his/her home. I think this is the way to go with the current problems of raising enough capital to rent expensive office apartments. The brick and mortar way of conducting business is highly expensive. However, I agree that even internet based enterprises still need offline presence, they can do this progressively as the enterprise takes shape. One of the main aspects of internet business is through ecommerce. E-commerce has gained a strong foothold in Kenya in the last few years. I will dwell with small-scale retailers. With eCommerce entrepreneurs are setting up simple websites and establishing a consistent social media presence. Through this model, entrepreneurs are identifying business opportunities and setting up shop from the comfort of their homes. All they need to do is post products online and make deliveries to customers. Of course its not all rosy because one has to be consistent and offer unique products but it also offers a wide market is properly utilized.
ecommerce offers a myriad of advantages both to business and customers. For example, the cost of doing business decreases because all a business needs is a store or a warehouse when all products are kept. Through a consistent online marketing strategy, a company can offer deliveries to customers within a specific region. Other aspects such as product customization, cheaper products, delivery and ability to offer a wide range of products are all advantages of adopting online based business. Also, use of company website and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be avenues adopted by your business. One of the main challenges faced by this type of business is having streamlined logistics especially as the business grows. However, one can start with investment in motorcycles which can quickly navigate through traffic in the city. The business is also easy to scale if you identify the target market and offer unique products or solutions to customers. With the high usage of mobile money services such as Airtel Money, Yucash and Mpesa, the process of paying for goods and services is even easier. There are various thriving businesses in this field; from food deliveries, clothes and fashion to drinks.
There are also other methods that are changing the way people work and do business. For example, co-working is a major concept in the USA, Europe and Asia. The model works in such a way that work space is provided for independent contractors thereby creating a community of people working together but on different projects. This means that you don’t have a permanent office but you pay when you need to. The majority of the other work is done online. You can get access to office amenities such as office internet, stationery, amenities such as tea and food even without owning an office while working around other people who are totally unrelated. This concept provides a powerful tool for working on-the-go as well as networking. Besides, the main advantage of this model is enabling a community of freelancers to work together who share similar work values but work on different things. Such environment can offer great opportunities for startups to share and network while saving on normal start up costs. Studies show that this trend is set to grow even further.
source: Hera Hub
Co-working is mainly being applied primarily for hiring consultants or specialists in certain fields. Imagine a case whereby a company can hire specialist consultants in specific areas such as accounting, web consulting etc to undertake specific tasks when they arise. These people are paid purely on the basis of work done. Therefore, a company can save on staff costs associated with permanent employees. Only time will tell if this concept will spread globally.
All in all, i believe that the internet and technology are here to stay. The Internet offers immense opportunities even for small businesses. Unlike in the past, the internet is making the playground level for both young and seasoned entrepreneurs and it is upon us to look into ways of using it to gain competitive advantage in different aspects. Some of the things that are happening are not highly pronounced or even visible in the mainstream media, but there are people out there making it big on the internet with other things such as freelance writing, blogging and transcription. Leveraging on the internet platform can and will be the game changer in a few years time in Africa and Kenya in particular as these new work concepts spread around the world.