Follow us
best business tools for African entrepreneurs

12 essential tools for African entrepreneurs to run a successful $10m+ business

Have you ever dreamed to build a business that generates $10m+ in revenue?

And have you ever asked yourself what the best tools for African entrepreneurs are to build a $10m+ revenue business?

African entrepreneurs wanting to build a business that generates $10m+ in revenue need many things. A great team, great processes, perseverance and the best tools for African entrepreneurs that are available to make the challenging goal of achieving this business goal more realistic. 

The great thing about an increasingly digital economy is that many of these tools make many complex processes easier to manage at a more affordable cost than was possible only 20 years ago. From accounting, marketing, file sharing to cyber security and others great tools are available. We take a look at some of the best tools for African entrepreneurs.

Accounting

Accounting plays a crucial role for any successful business that wants to scale to $10m+. Yet when it comes to accounting there can be so many challenges like managing finances, cash flow projections, understanding daily cash flow requirements, late payments and many others. Many of these challenges involve repetitive tasks that can be time-consuming and complex. In today's increasingly digital economy business tools are emerging that are helping to reduce that burden significantly.

Xero

One such tool is Xero. It is one of the leading accounting cloud software solutions that allows you to run your business from anywhere in the world. The software allows you do online invoicing, gives you an overview of your stock, reconciles bank statements, comes with automatic back up, integrations with many popular business apps and unlimited users.

Xero is a great tool for African businesses who want make their accounting run easily and efficiently. In South Africa, for example, many well-known businesses already use it including Yuppiechef, Rawson Properties, Truth Coffee Roasting and Diga Consultancy.

Analytics

In our data driven age, you need a tool that tracks what happens on your website or your app. With the continued shift to digital, analytics tools will only become more important. This means you absolutely need to have analytics in your business in order to understand your audience, their behaviour and what you need to optimize in your business.

Google Analytics

When it comes to analytics tools, it is clear that Google Analytics is the market leader. According to e-nor, a US marketing agency, Google Analytics is used by 69% of the Top 500 Fortune companies in the US.

Google Analytics market share 2016

Google Analytics is the standard analytics product for most companies around the world and most likely in Africa too (did not find any stats to support this assumption). Given that it is such a popular product there are many free articles and videos online that show you how to analyze all sorts of valuable things about your business and where you might be leaving money on the table. As such it is one of the must have tools for African entrepreneurs.

Mouseflow

Mouseflow is another valuable analytics tool. In comparison to Google Analytics, it video records user sessions and allows you to see where the pain points of your users are as they navigate your website. Featuring heatmaps, video replay sessions and user feedback, Mouseflow is an affordable tool that can help you identify where your funnel can be optimized and in turn increase your conversions.

The video replay session is one of Mouseflow's big strengths compared to Google Analytics. That is why it should be used as a complementary tool to give you valuable insights which Google Analytics cannot.

Communication

In many ways, business communication has grown very complex across multiple communication channels in the space of the last 20 years. Think emails with inbox overload, sms, whatsapp, facebook and many other channels that businesses use to communicate internally as well as externally.

Slack

Tunga founder Ernesto Spruyt whom we interviewed about outsourcing software development to Africa and an avid Slack user had this to say about Slack: "90% reduction in e-mails. All team communication in one place. It has never been so easy to know what’s happening in the team. A must for every team, but in particular remote or distributed teams."


File sharing

In this day and age file sharing has become essential to run a successful business.  For information to be useful for businesses, it needs to be accessible, traceable, secure, and support the workflow of your business. All of this becomes much easier with modern file sharing tools.

Feem

When it comes to file sharing Dropbox or Google Drive come to mind first for the most of us. So why do we list Feem instead? Because it is from Buea, Cameroon and as African entrepreneurs it is important to promote and use good African digital tools when they are available.

Marketing automation

Why would you continue doing repetitive tasks like backing up your database, tagging and segmenting your leads, follow up with visitors who have abandoned your cart, split/test your marketing campaigns when you can let marketing automation handle that? It will save you time, energy and money while freeing you and your staff to work on more strategic issues in your business.

GetResponse

GetResponse is an all-in-one marketing platform that includes email marketing, marketing automation and webinars. It is suitable for solopreneurs, bootstrapping startups and businesses that want to get started with marketing automation without a big financial investment. You are welcome to read our in depth GetResponse review if you are interested to learn more about the pros and cons.

Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft is a more sophisticated marketing automation platform than GetResponse and geared more toward established small businesses. Infusionsoft allows you organize your CRM in a very smart way by collecting and automatically assigning important data to your customers such as their behaviour patterns. It also comes with a full integration that allows you to automate invoicing, billing, collection and much more.

Keyword research

If you are planning to acquire leads and customers for your business to get to $10m+ in revenue then doing proper keyword research is a must. In fact, you'd look more like an amateur than a serious business person if you would neglect Google given that the search engine's market share in Africa is nearly 100%.

Google Market Share Africa July 2017

Imagine that in November you would rank well (admittedly this is very challenging) for the search term "Black Friday" and associated search terms like "Black Friday deals". Can you imagine the revenue your business would stand to generate?

Last year, American shoppers smashed previous retail records to pieces by generating a whopping $ 3.34 billion in revenue - mostly without leaving their sofas. In South Africa, retailers generated ZAR 85bn in the month of Black Friday. In addition, during the month of November "Black Friday" has a history of being amongst the top 10 most searched terms in Africa! The question at forefront of your mind should be what are the best keyword research tools for African entrepreneurs that help your business to rank well for key search terms?

Kwfinder

There are many good keyword research tools for African entrepreneurs out there. A great and very easy to use keyword research tool is Kwfinder. It is an easy online tool which will help you to find long tail keywords with low SEO competition.

Of particular interest to African entrepreneurs and marketers is that Kwfinder also generates valuable data on search volume for many African countries - unlike many other similar tools. Another benefit is the great user experience that comes with this tool.

Security

According to the Serianu Cyber Security Report 2016 on Africa a typical mid-sized business in Africa will have at least one or two systems exposed to the internet with little or no security to detect or prevent a cyber security attack. The estimated cost of cybercrime in Africa alone in 2016 was $2 billion.

One of the most pressing issues identified in the report are the need for awareness and training regarding cyber security indicating that far too many African businesses don't take cyber security as seriously as they should.Therefore, the question you should be asking yourself is whether you have taken the necessary steps for your business to stay safe?

Kaspersky Security

If you have not yet taken precautionary measures now is high-time. One tool that assists African business in preventing cyber attacks is Kaspersky Office Security. Kaspersky offers security for small businesses to prevent phishing scams, lock confidential data when a laptop gets stolen or lost and prevent foreign access when using public or free wifi.

Kaspersky Small Business Security Africa

Software development

Software development as well as software developers are in huge demand in Africa in light of the rapid transformation towards the digital economy of the 21st century. Software developers will need to build the backbone of the digital economy through neat software development - be it in banking, insurance, real estate, e-commerce and many others parts of the economy. Therefore, an important question is what good products exist that help African software developers build great software?

JIRA

If you are into software development then you have most likely heard of JIRA. It is probably the best known software development tool and is used by entrepreneurs and companies around the globe. JIRA features scrum boards, kanban boards, agile reporting, reports bugs and can offers numerous deployment options.

Speed

The speed of your website is of utmost importance in today's digital economy as speed directly correlates with your search engine ranking which impacts your bottom line. In fact, according to Google 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take 3 seconds or more to load. If you missing out on visitors, you are missing out on $$$.

Google Page Speed Insights

If you want to optimize your website Google Page Speed Insights will give you valuable information on how fast your website is both on desktop and mobile. It also tells you what to optimize in order to improve page speed. And the best part? It is free.

Fluterwave Page Speed Insights

Even a well funded company like Flutterwave can improve PageSpeed

Content Delivery Network

One way to speed up your business website is to make us of a content delivery network. A content delivery network is a network of geographically dispersed servers. Content delivery network nodes cache static content of websites like the images, CSS/JS files and other structural components.

cdn africa network

This is is what a content delivery network looks likes and functions

A big part of an end-user’s page load time is spent on retrieving this content. Therefore, it makes sense to provide these “building blocks” of a site in multiple server nodes, distributed throughout the globe. The main reason for using a content delivery network is to speed up your website.

Cloudflare

Cloudflare is content delivery network that helps you to not only speed up your Saas product, ecommerce store or website but also protect your business from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. At the time of writing, the company has 116 data centers spread around the globe with over 10 Tbs capacity. In comparison to many of its competitors, Cloudflare also has a number of data centers in Africa which makes it ideal for catering towards African audiences.

Website speed is something many businesses neglect and do not prioritize. This is a big mistake. You can get yourself a competitive advantage by having a fast loading website. One of the best tools for African entrepreneurs to achieve a blazing fast website is Cloudflare.

Conclusion

There you have it. 12 of the best business tools for African entrepreneurs to scale their businesses to $10m+ in revenue. Of course, these tools alone will not take your business to $10m in revenue without your and your team's hard work, dedication and commitment. They can, however, make the journey to get there much easier by removing many of the burdens small businesses are faced with traditionally. Therefore, it is important to invest in the best tools for your business to achieve your business goals.

Feature image courtesy of grovemade

About the Author Rise Africa Rise

Rise Africa Rise is your online guide to social entrepreneurship, technology and social innovation in Africa. Our aim is to provide you with valuable information, content and opportunities to support you in achieving positive social impact with your venture.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment: