Despite a huge slump in 2020, economists in South Africa are cautiously optimistic that we can expect moderate growth in 2021.
There are opportunities, especially online business ideas, for entrepreneurs to turn into lucrative business ventures. Online shops, in particular, are booming as people continue to avoid large crowds at malls.
In this article, we cover:
- e-commerce growth in South Africa
- online business ideas
- registering an online business
- affordable space for online businesses.
Growth of online business in SA
Worldwide, online shopping saw massive growth throughout 2020 as more people bought online instead of venturing to the shops.
In South Africa, the biggest online retailers have reported significant growth since the start of 2020. Takealot saw revenue increase by 28% and OneDayOnly recorded a 128% increase in sales.
Online business opportunities
If you’re a budding entrepreneur looking for online business ideas, check out our list of potential startups.
Build an education platform
Education for children or adults takes many forms and online learning has never been more accessible. An education platform can offer structured courses or a simple online tutoring or training service.
Offer delivery services
Delivery services are more in demand than ever. More people want to order food and other shopping online. A delivery service can deliver items for another supplier or include shopping on behalf of your users.
Start a clothing line
Clothing may seem overdone, but consumers will always love fashion. Today there’s a higher demand for better fits, larger size ranges and more gender-neutral options. A range that caters to a specific need can set your clothing line apart from the rest.
Offer freelance services
If you have a skill, there’s a good chance you can offer it as a freelance service. Successful freelancers aren’t just designers, writers and programmers. They’re also bookkeepers, virtual assistants and consultants.
Sell your art
If you create art or designs that you want to sell, there are services that will print them on merchandise and fulfil orders for you. Websites like RedBubble let you upload your designs so customers can buy them on mugs, T-shirts, stickers, phone cases and more.
Create a niche product
This one takes a little more thought, but innovative people create niche products all the time. Spot a gap in the market and create a product that fills it. Often, these ideas come from their immediate surroundings or community.
Resell thrift items
There’s a sizable market in finding good deals at flea markets, sprucing them up and reselling them online. It takes a lot of hunting, but if you have the flair for refurbishing, you can make good money. You can try antiques, but you have to know what you’re looking for.
Start an NGO
NGOs aren’t about making big profits but about making a difference. If that’s your aim, you’ll find people nearby who can use your help. People will be more charitable if you make donating online easy.
Online business registration
Online businesses are no different to bricks-and-mortar businesses when it comes to registration, taxes and other business-related obligations. You must register your business based on how you aim to run it.
Operating your business as a sole proprietor means you operate as an individual. There’s no need to register your company name unless you want to. The only requirement is that you keep thorough records so you can declare your taxable income and comply with employment laws.
Alternatively, you can register your business as a private company (formerly CCs). A private company needs a registered name, and a board with at least one director and one incorporator (can be the same person). It has to submit an annual return or annual accounting review.
To register a private company, you’ll need to:
- register your company with the CIPC
- open a business bank account
- register with SARS
- register for VAT (if applicable)
- register as an employer (if applicable)
- register for UIF
- register with the Compensation Commissioner.
Affordable office space for online businesses
The Workspace offers affordable coworking and private office options with numerous benefits, such as free high-speed internet.
If you need to hold inventory, many of The Workspace’s branches have self-storage units. There are also virtual office options.
About The Workspace
The Workspace is the ideal environment to nurture online business ideas. We offer affordable, fully serviced offices and coworking, and all our members have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services.