Opinion: LEVERAGING THE POWER OF INTERNET FOR WEALTH CREATION – By Naufal Ahmad
Do you know that the internet contributes to over $2.2 trillion in annual retail sales?Or that the total number of WordPress users rivals the entire population of Turkey? The internet has now become such a force to reckon with, responsible for trillions of dollars in direct and indirect revenue annually, and understanding how it contributes to the growing world economy will only help your business grow.
There was a time when the social media was considered a passing trend that’s only for the “tech savvy kids” and that it can never be used for anything serious like business or education, these skepticisms have been proven wrong overtime as there are 3.26 billion Internet users this December with more than 2 billion of them having active social media accounts. Social media can generate huge amounts of data about customer in real time, there are more than 1.79 billion monthly active users on Facebook that generate 4.5 billion likes daily, twitter has more than 500 million monthly users that generate over a 100 million tweets everyday. Instagram has a total of 600 million monthly active users and 300 million daily active users. The economic opportunities offered by the social media are huge if only used for the right purposes. The Internet is fortified with extremely powerful learning tools like YouTube with millions of video tutorial on nearly everything ,all that is required of a person is to have the entrepreneurial mindset and the will to learn and monetize these skills.. Popular social media platforms have now become marketing Giants offering SMEs with unique businesses tools responsible for the spontaneous growth of startups to million dollar empires in no time.
A statistical study by the United Nations in 2014 showed a direct link between Internet penetration and drastic reduction of poverty. ThIe Internet is so powerful that you can use it to 1.learn s skill 2.develop it to a product or service 3. Market and sell it online. And this is not just another global phenomenon,it also applies to Africa and Nigeria in particular as we are leading in the continent with regards to Internet penetration breaking the record of 97.21 million internet users in 2016 according to NCC, we also have highest number of social media users,according to Facebook 16 million Nigerians visit Facebook monthly beating Sout. h Africa’s 12 million and Kenya’s 4.5 million monthly users. According to NCC 83% of Nigerians used the Internet for shopping in 2016 as the population becomes more internet savvy and price conscious, people now tend to want to do a thorough research on products and find best prices before throwing their monies around. With that being said I think it’s unwise for any Nigerian business owner to ignore the significance of building a comprehensive and meaningful online presence. Social media platforms provide a unique opportunity for small businesses to meet many prospective leads and convert them to loyal customers, it allows the businesses to gain free inputs from customers to enable businesses improve and grow.
Small business have now with the help of social media become global brands and can sell across the globe with direct contact to unique customers. I will like to tell you of a sensational entrepreneur Gary Veynerchuck who took over his family’s wine shop and grew it from #3m to #60 million dollars in just 5 years using the Internet and ,he’s now an angel investor with investments in Facebook, twitter, uber and other big investments. Another interesting Internet success story is story of two sisters from Zimbabwe that started as for fun street photographers which later transformed to the biggest fashion blog in Africa and around the world, this blog later gave birth to a very unique African fashion label called Mafashio which was chosen in the top 10 fashion talents in the “Future voices ” completion.
Online shopping platforms like Zuvaa are able to globalize African fashion by shining lights on Talented African designers and creating link between the designers and the global market. These are not just stories because I can personally relate to this important phenomenon,my brother an I started a clothing line about a year ago with the help of social media we made about 125 sales in 2 months nationally and internationally that’s equivalent to about N 625,000 ..now I’m not saying we are we we should be yet but we are working on improving and uplifting our capacity as a company ,this is all due to the effective utilization of these social media platforms. I know of a photographer that goes by the name Madugu Photography that started his business 9months ago, taught himself how to take pictures using YouTube, uses Instagram to promote his work and is now rubbing shoulders with big names in the photography business and this is all due to the effective utilization of the Internet and the social media. There is no excuse for being unemployed nowadays,use your internet wisely.
The giant social media platforms recognize the unique needs of business which lead to the creation of special “for business features/profiles”which “which allows businesses to add their Geo location,email addresses and contact numbers. There’s no excuse to being unemployed on this Internet age,all the resources required to build successful business is yours for the taking,all you need to do is use the social media effectively.
Naufal Ahmad Instagram/twitter @9aufal