Can the internet be used to grow my Uganda-based business? With the world moving towards internet-driven business, you may be wondering if this is something your company should invest in and if it will be a cost or a profitable endeavor. In this article, we will discuss why your business should use the internet to find more avenues of growth and what steps you must take in order to take advantage of this.
Internet Service in Uganda: Can the Internet Be Used to Grow My Uganda-based Business?
Moving to Kampala, Uganda was scary. I thought that the internet and other basic services would either be too expensive or non-existent. I was relieved when I got here and found that the pricing was not that much different from that in Malaysia. This is because there are many service providers that compete to get users in a country where users are practical and value affordability and service delivery.
When it comes to mobile internet, you have service providers such as Africell, MTN, and Airtel. For home and office use, you can opt for ZUKU (fiber broadband), Airtel, MTN, Smile, and Africell. The basic price of the internet per GB is USH1,600 while ZUKU offers unlimited internet usage for as little as USH120,000.
As you can tell, internet access is affordable and flexible. People have the option to load as little as 15mb of data. Even with the introduction of OTT, people still find it affordable as they can opt to pay for the OTT and internet whenever they need it.
The Business Landscape: Can the Internet Be Used to Grow My Uganda-based Business?
Many Uganda-based businesses you pass as you drive along and in the downtown areas of Kampala appear to be informal. This means that the people are simply hustling to get by and not taking it seriously enough to invest. However, the fact that these businesses exist and people are able to feed their families shows that there is more money to be made if some effort is added.
My wife wanted to get some bras and was referred to a shop that would sell her some good bras by a friend. When we arrived, the lady asked if Sarah would be interested in a second-hand bra. We, of course, wanted something brand new and so we were told that they would have to make a special order at a later date.
This is the majority of Uganda-based businesses.
Companies are not fully stocked; marketing is done on a word of mouth basis and sometimes if you get there you may not find what you are looking for. A well-structured business with a strategy would be able to take advantage of this and capitalize.
Logistics is constantly improving
In Kampala and other cities in the country, the boda boda (biker) rules the streets. At any given time, you will drive past hundreds of them. They offer various services from parcel delivery, parcel collection, taxi services, furniture delivery (yes, I saw one guy transporting a mattress) and more. These are popular because they are able to weave through the traffic jams and they are very affordable.
When it comes to Boba Boda services you have access to a few options; Safe Boda, Uber boda and boda boda.
I was talking to a new acquaintance the other day and she told me that she had managed to send her children to the dentist via Uber, get her shopping delivered from Capital Shoppers and have a boda boda deliver her meat from the butcher. All this while she rested on her sofa and using her mobile phone. This is the power of the internet.
With the new initiative being undertaken in Kampala to reduce the traffic, the government is investing USH6 billion into buying buses. This will only improve logistics as the quality of the roads improve and parcels can be delivered in a timely manner. All those boda bodas will also struggle to compete with the business if managed well, this means that there will be loads of available delivery people with their own transport in the near future.
Why Your Uganda-based Business Should Use the Internet
As a digital marketer, I have worked with several types of business including different types of online businesses. From only beauty retailers to barbershops that want to simply include an online reservations platform, to a new website highlighting their skills. I have worked with online retailers and large retail outlets that are interested in creating an online store for their clients to purchase at any convenient time.
In each case, these companies have experienced some level of growth because of their switch to an online platform. Several businesses still keep their brick and mortar premises while expanding online.
There are several reasons why forward-thinking businesses make the switch to internet-based:
- It is far cheaper to expand to an online store than to open another outlet
Rent, staff, stock; these are the few things you need to consider when opening a new outlet. All this is money you can use to market your business and grow further if you invested in an online store.
- More and more people want convenience
Have an online presence is critical to capturing those that value convenience. This helps you to expand your client base and that in turn grows your earnings.
- Easier to start
Does your business require any special permits and paperwork sign by your LC1 before you can open a new branch? Say goodbye to such issues when you set up a website.
How Do You Get Your Uganda-based Business on The Internet the Right Way?
Most business owners rush into getting a website with no plan for what to do when they have the website. Not you. You are ready to do it.
Before you start working on your website, you need to create your marketing plan. Figure out how you will drive traffic to your website and what content you will create in order to keep people interested in your brand. Pick the social platforms you will use and how you will use them. If you are not a pro, find someone like SNCT Marketing, someone to help you make your dream a reality.
To explain it simply so that anyone will understand. Think of your website as a car, the vehicle to make your dreams a reality. Your car requires fuel, oil, wheels, etc in order to drive. These items are your traffic generating tools such as Facebook, Instagram, Google. You need to have all these in place before the car can drive.
So how will you get people to find and then see your beautiful new website? If you do this right, the current and long-term prospects in Uganda will make it easy for you to grow your business using the internet.
About SNCT Marketing
SNCT Marketing is a digital marketing agency based in Kampala, Uganda. We provide a wide range of services including SEO, copywriting, graphic design, photography, website design, marketing strategy, and planning. SNCT Marketing was founded by Carl and Sarah Kapapiro as the premier one-stop solution provider for SME’s looking to maximize their return on marketing spend. Click here to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation call with one of our experts.
Uganda is growing rapidly and only businesses will take advantage of that growth will benefit. Yes, you will need a website, however, you will also need more. A clear strategy that outlines the activities you will take to build your brand online. This should be your focus when you discuss it with your consultants or your marketing team. You can learn more here.