When you think about building a business on the Internet, there are five things you should be thinking about:

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Looking back 150 years ago, if a young man wanted to make a fortune, he had to go to the goldfields of California or Johannesburg. It was called the “gold rush.” About 100 years ago, it was all about being in the oil sector somewhere. And 25 years ago, it was about getting into telecoms (GSM).

Now there’s a new “gold rush” which started since the telecoms revolution gave birth to the rapid expansion of the Internet. Every single day, entrepreneurs across the world, including Africa, are launching tens of thousands of businesses on the Internet!

When you think about building a business on the Internet, there are five things you should be thinking about:

#1. How can I use the Internet to help grow the business we already have? There is no entrepreneurial activity that cannot benefit from the Internet. Websites, social media platforms, are all platforms that can be used to grow your business in terms of its sales and profitability by reaching more customers, quickly and cheaply.

It will quicken your growth. It is key to getting to the global marketplace.

#2. How can I use the Internet to spur innovation?

#3. How can I use the Internet to lower barriers of entry, including capital and cost?

#4. How can I use the Internet to access skills, expertise, and partnerships?

#5. How can I build actual Internet businesses?

I promised to discuss #5, so let’s get started: You and I are now on a platform called Facebook. Most people who use Facebook don’t even stop to think that it’s a business. I have even had people write me through Facebook and say they would like to be on the Internet!

You probably use WhatsApp, another Internet-based business. Perhaps you have used Uber, or bought things on Jumia and Konga, and you used a search engine from Google or Yahoo. All these businesses rely on the Internet.

Facebook first launched in 2004. It’s now worth $430+bn, close to the GDP of two of Africa’s biggest economies like Nigeria at $486.8bn (2015- World Bank) and South Africa at $317.6bn (2015- StatsSA). Google (Alphabet) is even bigger at about $645bn, last time I looked.

The titans of the Internet — Alibaba, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Tencent — are all bigger than nearly all mining, manufacturing, telecoms, and natural resource companies in the world today! Even the likes of Apple and Microsoft are only able to compete with them because they manufacture phones or provide software used to access the Internet.

Almost all these companies were started by young people, often whilst still at college. Many aren’t even 40 years old. These guys never knew there was such a thing as tenders on government contracts. They knew no ministers of government, and had never met a President!

__You do not need powerful friends and relatives in high places to get access to the most valuable piece of “real estate” in the history of the world. What you DO need is access to the Internet!

Your turn: This week I want you to take action! I want to see you get involve and built your online businesses. 

Success Always!

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