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Starting an Online Business With Minimal Investment

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Entrepreneurship

Starting an Online Business With Minimal Investment

A step-by-step guide based on my own experiences for you to follow

Would you believe that all you need for you to do business online is a creative mind, a simple yet robust business model, a laptop and internet?

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Yet, this is exactly what I started with and tried in 2016.

In March that year, I started a small experiment called Conper, which stands for Content Developer.

I decided to start this after feeling a bit bored at home, as I had just relinquished my holdings in a company to investors from Japan.

The concept was simple – do some tests on social media to see the impact of good content in a campaign.

So I made some simple but creative graphic designs for banner and logo images, and started with that. In less than a week, the results surprised me – from an experiment borne out of curiosity, I now had a viable business that could be built up without capital!

So if I can do it, so can you – all you need to do is do what I did, and you can imitate the concept to suit your business and marketing ideas:

  • Choose a social media brand:
    • For me, I had chosen Facebook at the time; however, there are many channels on social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and so on. So you have to choose wisely, depending on the kind of product or service you want to sell.
  • Legal Registration:
    • Although it was just an experiment, it was still a business – so I made sure to register the business before embarking on the experiment. Here’s why; by law, any business must be legally registered at the Companies Commission of Malaysia.
    • This is to protect both the seller and the consumer, so that there are avenues for legal recourse in case something goes wrong. Also, when conducting any business transaction, it gives confidence to potential clients if they know they’re dealing with a proper business entity.
  • Proper Exploration of Creative Idea:
    • I started Conper after nearly two months of observing social media activities by the small and medium industries (SMIs) in Malaysia and ASEAN. I saw that they were a bit behind from the aspect of high-impact content creation on their social media sites. Most were boring and unattractive – pictures, pictures and pictures, that’s all. They could not afford to compete with big companies with their ‘terrible’ social media content, so they chose to put videos, GIFs, articles and even animations to sell their products.
    • That’s where I saw a market opportunity and decided to experiment. After two months of commencing Conper, I began to get serious questions from small and medium sized entrepreneurs and then had the opportunity to provide social media content at rates they could afford.
    • The creative idea here means you can fill in the emptiness that exists in any industry that you think there is a demand for your product or service. It works even better when there are not many competitors in the industry that you want to serve.
  • Strong business model:
    • Conper was just a brand that provided content on social media and websites. The business model I used for this was that it is online, and that it uses internal expertise without the help of outsiders. I also helped them make their business brand viewable globally even though they were located only in Malaysia.
    • This is because of the quality of the products made by SMEs in Malaysia were known to be of high quality, it was just that their marketing level was quite weak due to the lack of budget. I helped them provide creative outcomes in terms of graphic design and international writing for them, at only a slightly lower cost than market prices.
  • Laptop and Internet:
    • The activities I carried out were mostly through the use of laptops and/or tablets, which were flexible to carry anywhere. At that time I did not need a physical office, just a virtual office address and ultimately fast Internet access. Since we could get fast, reliable wifi for for free even at the local Mamak then, all I needed was to pay for a meal and a drink, and I was set for the morning and/or afternoon to work.

With this example, you can see how easy it is to start up an online business – brainstorm with your friends, or seek a mentor to discuss ideas before making your passion your business – and then make it happen online.

Who knows, you can also start a business without big capital, and it can turn out to be a great business someday!

Azleen Abdul Rahim is the co-founder and editor of Marketing in Asia, a resource centre for all things marketing. Our peers in the online magazine world, the site hosts experts in marketing who have influenced and inspired powerful marketing concepts and ideas that are both shareable and immediately applicable. SME Assist is proud to collaborate with Azleen in bringing you thought pieces of experts in their field as well as the best approaches you can take to upgrade your marketing. You can visit the Marketing in Asia site at www.marketinginasia.com, and follow Azleen on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/azleenabdrahim).

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