Online Business Vs Offline Business

So, basically in this post we’re going to think about what makes an online business different from an offline business. This is Part 3 of How To Start an Online Business in Kenya.

Business is business everywhere you go, even “online”. You are basically selling something that people want. However, I would strongly argue that doing business “online” is better than doing it anywhere else. Why?

  1. It is relatively cheaper to start and run an online business. You can get started for as little as $25 (about Kshs 3,000/-) and your monthly costs could be even lower.
  2. It is also generally less difficult and easier to get people to visit your business premises – your website.
  3. It is generally easier to scale. You can have very many customers without investing in infrastructure to support them. While an “offline business” may need to get new offices to serve more people, you can just use your one website to serve more people. You can even serve all of them at the same time.
  4. You can do absolutely anything under the sun. There are endless options when choosing your business online. You can sell bananas, have a service based business, sell affiliate products or create websites that make money through the hundreds of different monetization options. What you can do is limited only by your ingenuity.

Unfortunately, this makes the idea of starting an online business so attractive that people think it is easy. This could not be more far away from the truth. I would strongly argue that doing business online is harder than doing it anywhere else because:

  1. While it is easy to get people to visit your website, it is quite difficult to convert these visitors into paying customers. In most cases, people find it easier to spend money “offline” than “online”.
  2. You are competing with the whole world. While a Nairobi-based business may have a few competitors in town, an online business probably has hundreds of competitors from all over the world.
  3. It is extremely easy to get distracted. There are so many options that many online business people simply get lost in trying to do everything.

I know you’ve read those stories – you know, those stories of people becoming millionaires overnight online. Exciting, eh? And to think that you could be next… it is indeed true that you can make millions online in a very short period of time. However, if you look closely at anyone who made millions online, you will discover:

  • That they are very smart and/or talented
  • That they followed a very strategic and focused plan
  • They work (or worked) VERY hard

As you think of doing online business, be prepared for the extremely hard work that you will have to do to see real success.

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  1. You are right. An online business is better in many ways. However, taxation issues are not very clear. How do online freelancers pay their taxes? Thanks.

  2. I am also unclear on taxation issues for online entrepreneurs. Waiting on your article that talks about taxation.

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