E-commerce is full of prominent and talented women in 2021

By digging deep into the world of e-commerce

Women CEOs are female e-commerce role models

Rebecca Minkoff co-founded a global fashion brand, starting off her journey as an 18-year old with big dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Her company has now generated over US$100m in sales, and she’s a member of the New York State Council on Women and Girls. She’s passionate about empowering women and has a 789,000 strong army on Instagram.

Dubbed ‘the UK’s number one beauty box’, Birchbox found a real gap in the market. People often get frustrated endlessly searching for products themselves and spending far too much time sampling new products. So they came up with a solution that lets consumers try different products without breaking the bank. The company’s founders, Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna met at Harvard and have managed to lure one million subscribers to the site, raising US$80m in venture capital since 2010.

Conquer the world from the comfort of your house

The hugely successful and uber-popular Not On The High Street was founded by Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker. The company concept was first dreamed up at a kitchen table way back in 2006. Fast forward 12 years, and the business has an annual growth of 150% and sales are worth £100m.

The key takeaway from these businesses is that women are key to the changing nature of how we shop. Minkoff is a brand in herself and a voice for strong women. Birchbox helped initiate the subscription box model and Not On The High Street gives women a highly accessible way to sell products via their online store. Many women are going from selling products in their spare time as a side venture, to turning the business into a nine-to-five job. That’s what happened to Danielle Atkins when she started her swimwear brand Kulani Kinis, which is now on-track to hit AU$1.5m-2m in annual revenue by June 2018.

Despite these success stories, there are still big changes to be made at the top of businesses and amongst those who are deemed to be market thought leaders. When Big Commerce announced their list of ‘The 19 Most Innovative E-commerce Brands of 2018’, the nine-strong judging panel was all made up of men, which given an increasingly diverse marketplace, does not reflect these wider market changes. Differing attitudes to men and women in some sections of the market seem to persist as well. A particularly interesting story comes from the female founders of Witchsy, who after having not being taken seriously, invented a male co-worker.

With this fictitious change, they quickly sold US$200k in merchandise.

But despite stories like this, it appears e-commerce really is updating the traditional structures that often hold women back. There’s also a broad avenue opening up for female-skewed shopping, run by women for women. Which leads us to our original question …

Exploring whether it creates more opportunities for women to excel

Has e-commerce made it easier for business women?

It certainly seems as though the e-commerce world is well suited to female entrepreneurs because it allows them the flexibility to balance their lives around work. The industry has become more accessible, with women running businesses from home or on-the-go. It’s also now far easier to build a business outside of a normal job and sell creative goods, for instance, via sites like Etsy.

An e-commerce business can seem to be a much larger concern, when really it’s just run by one person. For instance, anyone selling online can grow their brand fast, thanks to platforms like Facebook Marketplace. Using a brand like DHL Express to deliver your goods is a sure way to look like a big operator.

Social shopping will have a massive impact in 2018 according to Jason Stokes, founder and CEO of Shopify Expert Eastside Co. This is an area where women tend to excel, because social suits female shopping habits.

Community-led brands are also on the rise. Brands that are grown and built on social media are often backed up by an army of loyal fans.

If Etsy is anything to go by, then things are definitely improving for women in the e-commerce sphere. The user base is 86% female and around 30% of sellers say their Etsy stores are their sole source of income.

Are you ready to join the women’s business network?

There’s still a long way to go for women in business, but increasing numbers of female entrepreneurs are flourishing in e-commerce. From 2010 to 2015, the number of self-employed women in online retail has risen by 28%.

A study by eBay using UK government data had some encouraging findings. The number of British female entrepreneurs operating e-commerce businesses has risen by 28% over the past five years and is growing faster in the UK than anywhere else in Europe.

There’s also been a rise in France (17%) and Italy (5%). The USA, Australia and Canada rank highly as good destinations to be a female entrepreneur. It’s important to note there are still gender gaps in lots of countries, but overall trends are positive.

The whole world stands to benefit from women taking a leading role. Increasing female participation in the business sector to 10% would take the overall economic contribution of women-led SMEs to more than £180bn by 2025. It’s an inspiring statistic which shows change that will benefit all in the longer run is on the horizon. It will also take a change in attitudes to women from the largely male-dominated business elite as well as consumers though, to ensure these changes are as far reaching as possible.

Why More Women Are Turning To Entrepreneurship

The Hidden Advantage of Women in Leadership

  • The ability to network
  • Collaboration
  • Communication, both oral and written
  • Critical thinking

Women have been proven to hold a key advantage in these soft skills–a study by global consulting firm Hay Group found that women outperform men in 11 of 12 key emotional intelligence competencies. According to Richard E. Boyatzis, Ph.D, one of the study’s developers and co-owners, “… If more men acted like women in employing their emotional and social competencies, they would be substantially and distinctly more effective in their work.”

Better Problem-Solving
People who differ from one another in gender, ethnicity, or other identities bring a diversity of perspectives to an organization, which enhances creativity and encourages the search for novel information.

This, in turn, leads to better decision-making, and ultimately, greater success. A study on female representation in top management found that companies that prioritized innovation saw greater financial gains when women were part of the top leadership ranks.

Additionally, another report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute discovered that companies with one or more women on the board delivered higher average returns on equity, lower net debt equity and better average growth.

Building Trust
According to Pew Research Center’s Women and Leadership survey, 34% of American workers say that women have an edge over men when it comes to being honest and ethical, while just 3% believe men are better.

In today’s high-visibility world, where trust is a valuable and fragile commodity, it’s more important than ever to ensure that a company and its leaders are always acting in an ethical manner.

Failing to uphold ethics-based behaviors can have serious consequences and negative long-term implications for any organization. On top of declining team morale, lower productivity, and internal turmoil, unethical behavior can result in financial loss, a significantly damaged public reputation, loss of confidence from investors, and much more.

In the words of Nidhi Raina, Head of Personal Excellence and Organizational Transformation at Tata Consultancy Services, “For any initiative, return on reputation–values and beliefs, as an organization and as an individual–is as important, if not more so, as return on investment.”

From professionalism to collaboration, to a supportive management style, to a cooperative problem-solving approach, women possess skills that make them invaluable assets. When women combine these capabilities to fuel their leadership, they achieve qualitative cultural gains and win quantitative business success alike. By productively integrating and advancing both soft and hard skills, female leaders innovate the organization itself and drive sustainable growth.

To charge what they are worth

Unfortunately, the gender pay gap has remained relatively stable over the last 15 years or so. The Census Bureau found that full-time, year-round working women earned 80% of what their male counterparts made in 2016. If change continues at the rate seen since 2001, women will not reach pay equity with men until 2119.  Do we want to wait another hundred years? Certainly not, which is why women are favoring entrepreneurship. If you’re the boss, you are in the unique position to set your own rates and charge what you’re worte.

To have more control over their future

The belief that working for a company offers the most stability is a myth. Many women have experienced a layoff, restructuring, reorganization, buyout or a variation of those at some point in their corporate life. These scenarios often result in organizational changes which are out of one’s control and can have a negative career impact. Working for yourself means you are in the driver’s seat. This is a powerful statement because you not only have control over your business activities but also whom you work with including clients and business partners.

To advance more quickly

More women are starting businesses to escape the glass ceiling. A fascinating study published in the Harvard Business Review tested the theory that women aren’t promoted as quickly as men because they behave differently. The study, using sensors, found that men and women behave the same in the workplace, get the same amount done in a day, spent the same amount of time at face-to-face meetings with their superiors and scored equally in performance evaluations. These results suggest that the differences in their promotion rates weren’t due to their behavior but to how they were treated. Research by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. showed that although women and men say they want to be promoted in about equal numbers, women are 15% less likely than men to get promoted. The researchers say that, at this rate, it will take more than a century to achieve gender parity in the C-suite. Not surprisingly, women are turning to entrepreneurship to advance their careers more quickly.

To follow their passion

Many women are leaving corporate life because their jobs just aren’t inspiring them anymore (if they ever were). Starting a business allows you to find meaning and gives you the ability to leave behind a legacy that you can be proud of. To be truly successful, you need to find work that you’re passionate about. In a wonderful book called, Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck the authors in their research found that without heart, few businesses become truly successful. In fact, they say that “pure brain-based IQ is probably the least essential quality for business success.”

South Africa’s business women leading in Entrepreneurship across the world

Over the years, many South African women have taken over the task to change the narrative, take up space and become successful entrepreneurs. From business owners expanding their companies in the townships to company directors working in South Africa’s biggest cosmopolitan hubs, more and more of South Africa’s women are leaning into the world of business.

To attest to this truth, recently, champagne brand Veuve Clicquot hosted a morning of crucial conversations with women to inspire and embolden successive generations of audacious female leaders in the country.

At the event, the Veuve Clicquot 2020 Barometer (second edition): International Women’s Entrepreneurship Barometer study was unveiled. The survey showed that of the 17 countries measured, South Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs. The survey found that 54% of South African women consider themselves entrepreneurs first and foremost – the highest level of women entrepreneurship amongst countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Hong Kong that were measured.

Ninety percent of South African women entrepreneurs believe that to succeed they need the support of a network of women entrepreneurs. This is a definite positive for my young cousin as the future is strongly supported by other women. South Africa has an abundance of its own successful businesswomen that will leave a legacy for many young girls as a point of reference to be proud of.

Successful Female entrepreneurs

1. Basetsana Kumalo
Basetsana Kumalo, also known as Bassie, was part of the beauty pageant circuit since the age of 16, where she has crowned Miss Black South Africa and Miss Soweto. Four years later, she has crowned Miss South Africa. While still having the crown, she shifted her career by starting to work for the TV program Top Billing. From here, Kumalo’s impressive successful businesswomen story began to emerge. 
She became a 50% partner of Tswelopele Productions, the company which produces top billing, and executive chairperson of Tswelopele Group and Tswelopele Publishing. This partnership alone was enough to prove Basetsana Kumalo’s merit as one of the most successful South African female entrepreneurs. Her pivot into the media industry is nothing if not impressive. But that’s not all; since then, she has developed a clothing line, sits on the boards of five companies, and endorses a Revlon Hair Product. With all of these impressive achievements—and her tireless dedication to helping to improve the economy – Basetsana Kumalo is not only one of the most well-known South African entrepreneurs, but she is also one of the most influential female entrepreneurs in South Africa.

2. Khanyi Dhlomo
Khanyi first started gracing magazine covers by the age of 15; she went on to be a radio newsreader at 18, television newsreader at 20, and editor of True Love at 22. After this short rise to the top and eight years at True Love, she decided to move to Paris to run a South African touring campaign, before studying at Harvard. For many, this would have been more than enough to make a successful businesswoman story, but Khanyi Dhlomo was only beginning her career as a successful businesswoman in South Africa. 
While at Harvard, she struck up a plan to publish her own magazine. After returning to South Africa, she launched Destiny, a magazine that combined business content and lifestyle. Since then she became a director of the Foschini Retail Group and CEO of Ndalo Media. Dhlomo has also launched her magazine into the digital space—leading the industry by example and continuing her impressive record of innovation as one of the most successful South African entrepreneurs. Dhlomo is now recognized globally for her efforts and achievements—serving as a wonderful example of what is possible for SA entrepreneurs if they continue to work hard and follow their dreams. 

3. Wendy Luhabe
Wendy is a South African businesswoman that has pioneered many initiatives in attempts to provide economic empowerment to women. Wendy got her first exercise in social entrepreneurship in 1995 after she founded Bridging the Gap. An impressive start to her successful businesswoman story—but it isn’t even close to being the end of Luhabe’s wonderful endeavors and achievements as a successful businesswoman in South Africa. Since then, she went on to find the Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (Wiphold) and was listed as one of the 50 Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World.
She is now the Chair in the Women Private Equity Fund and on the board of the IMD Business School. Recently she was also appointed by the US Secretary of State to the Council on Women’s Business Leadership. Wendy Luhabe has already achieved so many incredible accomplishments as one of the top South African female entrepreneurs—primarily due to her innovation and tireless efforts. Although she has already done enough work for a lifetime to stand among the well-known South African entrepreneurs, Luhabe continues to strive towards greatness – leaving us excited to see what we’ll see next.

4. Felicia Mabuza-Suttle
Known as the South African Oprah, Felicia started by being born into an entrepreneurial family in Sophiatown. Although this factor alone would have been enough for many pursuing a successful businesswoman story, Mabuza-Suttle wasn’t satisfied with good fortune alone. She was determined to make her name as one of the successful South African female entrepreneurs by working hard and dedicating countless hours towards her dream. After studying at a University in America, she entered the television industry, working her way up to an executive position at Houston Public Television. It was during her time with the Huston Public Television that she honed her skills and took notice of practices that she would use in her later successes. Mabuza-Suttle started working on ideas that would later go on to become loved by many in South Africa when she concluded that she had spent enough time studying the industry in America. She then returned to South Africa in 1994 where she landed on the TV show on SABC, The Felicia Show.
She went onto become the executive producer of the Africa Channel and a founding member and non-executive director of Pamodzi Investment Holdings Ltd. She also owns a successful restaurant and is a bestselling author of the book Dare to Dream. With so many amazing accomplishments, Felicia Mabuza-Suttle is a fantastic example of what it means to be a successful businesswoman in South Africa. Moreover, Mabuza-Suttle has helped to redefine industry standards in South Africa—helping her to stand out even more among well-known South African entrepreneurs. 
So next time you’re struggling to get through a day of running your business, why not look through this list for some inspiration.

5.  Siphesihle Katana

She didn’t have any intention of starting her own business in agriculture, but a chance encounter and hard work put the wheels of destiny in motion. In 2014 she started the Siphe Development and Capacitation Agency which she co-owns with her husband. They supply local supermarkets with vegetables.
“You need to trust yourself if you want to make it in this field of work. You need to tell yourself that everything is going to work out no matter how many times you’re told it’s not going to.”

Siphesihle Kwetana co-owns the Siphe Development and Capacitation Agency.

6. What it takes to start your own law firm, according to a 25-year-old KZN woman who did it.

Born and raised in the small town of Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal, 25-year-old Sne Mthembu was admitted as an attorney of the high court a few months ago. She leaped faith shortly thereafter: she left her job and started her own firm.  She’s even added the word “partners” to her firm’s name because she’s open to working with other people.
“My ultimate goal is to inspire young, black women and show them it’s possible to do your own thing.”

One Mthembu started her own law firm.

7. From a career in the SANDF to styling for Forbes Woman Africa – Free State woman’s dream come true
From serving 10 years in the SANDF to styling magazine covers, Bontle Mogoye is going places. She styled the cover stars for an issue of Forbes Woman Africa, which featured 50 successful African businesswomen, including media personality Bonang Matheba and businesswoman Irene Charnley.
“Coming from a small town, Kroonstad in the Free State, they’d say I can’t be a fashion designer [but] I could be a doctor.”

8. Nomfundo McCoy

How my divorce turned me into a successful businesswoman.

Nomfundo Mcoyi lost everything to her first husband following their divorce in 2009. She had to start over from scratch. In that moment of need and despair, Icebolethu Funeral Group was born. She left her job as a teacher to venture into business. Today her business, based in KwaZulu-Natal, employs over 300 people.
“God has blessed me with a very dedicated team, which understands my vision. I couldn’t have done it on my own. It took teamwork and dedication to get where we are today.”

Nomfundo Mcoyi of Icebolethu Funeral Group.

9. Soweto’s celebrity nail technician on how she built her empire: ‘I’ve learned to rely solely on my skills’
Instead of attending her own matric dance 15 years ago, Phiwe Mngadi was busy doing the nails and eyelashes of her ball-going friends and fellow schoolmates. In 2015, having worked at beauty salons in and around Joburg to gain experience, she decided she was done being just another employee. She knew she had plenty to offer as a business owner, so she opened Plush Nail Art Studio in Soweto.
“Beauty has always been my passion and it’s something I’m lucky enough to have done every day since leaving school.”

Phiwe Mngadi of Plush Nail Art Studio in Soweto

10.  I quit my job to start my own practice – now I enjoy my 12-hour shifts.

For Veronica Shabalala it started as a dream based on a desire to do more. Telling her nursing peers she wanted to set her own schedule one day was something they laughed about together. Now, draining 12-hour shifts are a thing of the past. Even though Veronica often works longer hours these days, being her own boss and a wound-care specialist gives her energy.
“I remember dreading the 12-hour shifts I used to work at the hospital, but now I find I can do more.  You do not get fatigued when it is your own baby you are working on.”

11. Yolanda Yawa-Donkers

Guguletu woman makes dark skin doll collection to celebrate African beauty after she felt underrepresented
She’d always been resourceful. Growing up in Guguletu, Cape Town, she didn’t like to play with dolls because she couldn’t relate to the fair-skinned blonde-haired variety found in toy stores. So she set about scouring flea markets in search of second-hand dolls to experiment on. Now Yolanda Yawa-Donkers is the proud owner of Luvuthando Dolls, a black doll brand that promotes diversity and aims to instill confidence in young children.
“I am passionate about the black child and wanted to create a product that will be fun and inspiring.”

12. Maria Ramos
Maria Ramos is a Portuguese South African businesswoman who today is the CEO of the ABSA group. She first moved to South Africa from Portugal with her parents, where she later became a citizen. After university, she primarily worked in finance and banking, taught economics, and served as an economist, which is just the beginning of this successful businesswoman story. Maria would go on to become one of the most successful businesswomen in South Africa.
She was appointed the country’s director of general finance, from which she moved to the position of CEO of Transnet in 2004. There she began to transform the country’s economy by reorganizing the debt-ridden company. As a result, she was ranked by Fortune magazine as one of the most powerful women in international business for four years in a row. It’s no wonder that Maria Ramos tops our list of female entrepreneurs in South Africa and well-known South African entrepreneurs in general! As one of the most successful businesswomen in South Africa, it was essential to mention Ramos’ many impressive accomplishments. As a learned economist, innovative businesswoman, and dedicated leader, Ramos is a perfect example of a successful businesswoman in South Africa.

How to calculate the wholesale price

The success of a wholesale brand, unquestionably, depends on the quality of products supplied. It is what your customers pay for. Yet, the financial success of a wholesale business also depends on finding the best wholesale pricing strategy for its products as well as increasing wholesale sales. Eventually, it is the financial outcome that pays the bills at the end of the month. Therefore, business owners need to pay sufficient attention to wholesale pricing.

Then we’ll ask the question: “How can I calculate wholesale prices?”. Wholesale pricing is an art. From the perspective of the wholesaler or supplier, a product needs to have a high enough price tag that maximizes profits. On the other hand, your customers – retailers- want to have access to affordable products to maximize their profits. 

There is not a silver bullet answer to this question. It depends on the business model you want to build. If wholesale prices are set high, a wholesaler may lose volume but increase product margins. If wholesale prices are set low, a wholesaler may gain volume but decrease product margins.

Set a retail price for your products

Being focused on wholesale doesn’t stop you from retailing your products, especially online. In the post-COVID world, the connection between makers and consumers improved tremendously. Local e-commerce combined with local deliveries can create growth opportunities for your business.

NMIn conclusion, improving the wholesale pricing can be the determining factor for your business’ future. And, it should be regarded seriously. If you want to focus on increasing your wholesale sales, you can have a look at 5 good strategies to increase wholesale sales.

Economics of wholesale pricing

One answer is clear. A business must optimize wholesale pricing for the total margins – total business margins at the end of the month. In one scenario, decreasing product prices can increase your volume much more and therefore increases your total margins. In another scenario, increasing the wholesale price may not affect your sales volume at all, because people love your product, therefore increases your total margins. A business owner needs to test these two scenarios to understand the dynamics of market toward their wholesale products.

Yet, this formula is nowhere enough to explain the bigger picture. You need to take into account the fixed and variable costs of your products. ie, making double the amount of products doesn’t double your costs or vice versa. So, the formula for wholesale pricing becomes

Fixed costs decrease the opportunities you can discover. This is why we emphasize a pay-per-use local delivery solution for local businesses. You can be really flexible while increasing your sales and it is all variable costs!

However, this formula still doesn’t take into account one important factor: the cost of selling more. Acquiring new wholesale customers is not free. It takes time and marketing budget to earn new customers –customer acquisition cost(CAC). When it comes to including monthly customer acquisition costs, make sure to divide it into the expected lifetime of a customer. Say, it costs $1200 to acquire a customer and an average customer works with you for 12 months, then your monthly CAC per customer is $100. So, the formula becomes:

Now, we have a better understanding of wholesale pricing economics.

Self-employment — South Africa’s biggest opportunity to create jobs

It conceded that South Africa makes extensive use of active labor market programs, but there is much room for systemic improvement.
A review of more than 100 active labor market programs (including entrepreneurial development, public works programs, training, work readiness, placement, and labor intermediation services) offered at the national level (with a combined budget of R100 billion) found that the constellation of programs may not be the right ones to address the employment challenges facing the country.
Although most unemployed people are vulnerable youth, programs are largely designed for better-off entrepreneurs or young people with more skills.
Few explicitly include vulnerable young people; instead, the initial eligibility conditions effectively crowd them out. This is due in part to the decentralized approach — the 20 departments in the review offer programs to meet their departmental mandates rather than working together to help resolve the national unemployment challenge.

Although most unemployed people are vulnerable youth, programs are largely designed for better-off entrepreneurs or young people with more skills.
Few explicitly include vulnerable young people; instead, the initial eligibility conditions effectively crowd them out. This is due in part to the decentralized approach — the 20 departments in the review offer programs to meet their departmental mandates rather than working together to help resolve the national unemployment challenge.

Lifting legislative and regulatory bottlenecks

The lack of coordination of active labor market programs and the absence of a strong private sector voice contribute to significant inefficiencies.
Many active labor market programs place the public sector at the center of employment creation, which is costly and unsustainable, rather than working with the private sector to identify how to leverage labor and product markets. As a result, there are significant overlaps, gaps, and general inefficiencies in serving unemployed people.
Lifting legislative and regulatory bottlenecks to self-employment would have a marginal fiscal cost, with benefits to be reaped in the short to medium term. The intended beneficiary population of these measures would be the more than 10 million unemployed or discouraged people of working age.
The number of adults who decide to engage in self-employment would depend on several other considerations but based on the experiences of other upper-middle-income countries, could be as many as 3 million individuals.

The revamping of active labor market programs could bring benefits in the medium to long term; their fiscal cost does not necessarily have to be high relative to the resources already allocated to such programs in South Africa.

For Ladies To Start Their Business

Are you a woman who wants to be your own boss?

Own your time and make good money! You probably read this in a shady get rich quick scheme. No one really gets to do that… or do they? The internet has exploded and given people all over the world the gift of opportunity. Backyard to bank balance success stories fill our Facebook feed, and social media celebrities are self-made millionaires. They all have the same running thread – the desire to make it on their own.

Running a business is no walk in the park, and not everyone can become a social media sensation. But a business or one with low or no investment is a definite possibility. It offers women who want to make money from the comfort of their homes, the opportunity to take it one step at a time and continue to fulfil all the other responsibilities that they are committed to.

The Most Important Investment is Your Time

Starting and running a business often does require lots of startup cash, but it also always also requires a significant time and energy investment. If you hate what you are doing you are less likely to put in the time and effort to make your business succeed. However, if you love what you do, even the little milestones will bring you far more satisfaction.

business ideas for women
The trick lies in marrying a talent with an idea and following it through. For any home-based business to work, skill is a definite requirement. One cannot become a successful home baker without knowing how to bake!

Identify a skill or talent that you think could be converted into a home-based or online business opportunity. Simply go through our consolidated list of business ideas for women who want to be their own boss and find out if you could be one of them.

Food, glorious food

If you are used to receiving compliments on your cooking skills then the food business is what you should consider. One of the most popular small business ideas for women is a tiffin service. There are a host of aggregators that give home chefs a wider audience.

Family recipes, traditional cuisines or simple home-style food is most sought after.

To start, make a WhatsApp list of friends and family who always ask you to make them this or that favourite dish, tell them that you are starting on your own and let word of mouth do the rest.

If catering food is not your style, you could simply document your passion for it. It’s a great business idea for a lady sitting at home with a lot of cooking ideas up her sleeve. Instagram is filled with celebrity home chefs who are reaping returns on their talent in the kitchen.

A great success story is that of Archana Doshi of Archana’s Kitchen fame. She used her passion in the kitchen to create a successful and very popular food blogging website that details meal plans, lunch box ideas and recipes.

Your skills: In addition to the obvious skill in the kitchen, you will need, basic phone camera skills and basic online social media skills for a page to help people find you.

Bake that cake

business ideas for women
If you are the designated cake baker at family functions, then a baking business may be right up your alley. It is a great business idea for ladies with low investments.

Services like Indulge by Innerchef allow home bakers to reach out to a wider audience and bake as per their capacity. Good presentation and quality ingredients will build a client base. Over time you can choose to invest in a website to help you get orders directly.

If you would rather bake for your family, then document your baking adventures.

Your skills: In addition to the obvious skill with the oven, you will need, basic phone camera skills and basic online social media skills for a page to help people find you.

Passion for fashion

homemade business ideas for women in SA
For those with a passion for fashion who are looking for a business idea in India under 10 lakh, opening a small tailoring boutique may work well for you.

Platforms like Shopify and Facebook shop allow you to reach a bigger audience and showcase your designs. Online payment gateways make the entire process so much easier. Prompt client servicing and innovative designs could help begin your success story.

Your skills: Good eye for designs and patterns, production skills that help you get work out of your staff and good customer relation skills.

Crafty ideas

business for ladies sitting at home
If you are great with your hands then a good home-based business for women is handmade craft supplies. The world is seeing a shift towards handmade as it is authentic and unique.

Websites like Shopify offer the opportunity to set up shop online and sell your creations from the comfort of your home. Stationary to handcrafted book covers, great ideas can be used to create handmade goodies that can pay good money. Backing your creativity with good quality and unique products will help build a loyal customer base.

Reaching out to party planners who design wedding and party favours is another way to make this work. They are always on the lookout for unique products and services.

Your skills: In addition to your creativity, you will need an online shop that you can manage like a Facebook shop. Decent skills with a camera phone to take pictures is also essential.

Resell to your social network

business ideas in SA with low investment
Reselling is fast becoming a popular online business idea for women in SA. This is an internet friendly version of the earlier offline “home sales” or “garage sales”, where women would call their friends and neighbours home to showcase sarees, suit pieces and jewellery among other items. For women who have a wide social network, nothing like making it earn you some extra cash!

Your skills: Good eye for trends and new products along with interpersonal skills that will help build customer relationships.

Stock trading

The stock market has a huge potential for becoming a home-based business for women. A large number of market savvy housewives are turning the stock market into their office. They look at earning extra cash by stock trading.

Stock trading can be done from anywhere, even parallelly with a job! It allows you to decide your risk appetite and earn using your financial skills. This option is great for those with a financial services background who have taken a break from work. But that does not mean that those without such a background can’t learn to become stock market pros. A risk appetite, however, is a must.

Your skills: Apart from an interest in the stock market, a regular study of current happenings and the willingness to learn from trial and error are also important.

Daycare centre

business for women
If you love being with kids and have a great time entertaining them, then a good business idea with less than 10 lakh investment is starting a small daycare facility.

When both parents are working, daycare is often the only option for a safe and healthy environment for the child. A small facility that is child safe with a well chalked out schedule as per the age group of children has made many small daycare setups a success.

ing on the terms of your venture.

Your skills: Good business skills concerning facility management, customer relation skills to handle parents and a keen interest in children.

Home-based hobby classes

small business ideas for women
If you have a skill that you are really good at, you can consider conducting classes to share it. Hobby classes like flower making, cake decorating, jewellery making, art, pottery etc are popular with adults and kids alike.

A Facebook page or Instagram account can help spread the word along with word of mouth. This is a very good business idea for women in India, where community living gives people the opportunity to interact and do these kinds of activities from home.

Your skills: Good interpersonal skills, innovative teaching skills and a fun personality will help draw more students to your classes.

Digital marketing services

home-based business for women

Digital marketing has become one of the most sought after services that have great potential for those who want to start their own home-based business.

Online courses abound that give a good understanding of the subject. If you have worked in the field of marketing and brand building, then this might be just the right fit for you.

Freelancing with smaller brands that seek digital marketing services on a project basis is a good way to start and build your portfolio. Having a website that details your projects and the work done would help build the credibility of your business service.

Your skills: In addition to a marketing background, and added digital marketing qualification is important. Good client servicing skills will help you retain and grow your client base.

Why choose Chinese factories?

How to find manufacturers in China?

For many companies, finding manufacturers in China that fit their brand, offer a reasonable price and high-quality products can be difficult. It’s a good idea before you start looking for manufacturers that you know the product you want making, the materials, the price you want to sell it at and how many you want making. If you know all of these things, you can actively search for manufactures that will suit your company.

There are several ways to find Chinese manufacturers including:


Online stores:

Alibaba is an international business-to-business platform where businesses can find and connect with manufacturers. It is easily the most popular website for finding Chinese manufacturers, but it does have a reputation for having a large number of suppliers over quality ones.

Global Sources:

Global Sources is Alibaba’s biggest competitor, but it doesn’t have trade insurance. It does have a rating system and reviews, so you should read through them thoroughly to make sure you find a reliable and trustworthy manufacturer.

Trade Shows

One of the best ways to find Chinese manufacturers is by attending the most popular trade show in China the Canton Import and Export Fair. It’s held in Guangzhou twice a year and is split into 3 phases, the first phase is electronics, the second covers home decor, consumer goods and gifts and the third phase includes garments, shoes, textiles and office supplies. However, if you’re unable to attend a trade show in China, there are trade shows in the United States that Chinese manufacturers attend. Trade shows are an incredible way to meet prospective manufacturers face to face, get information from them directly and compare suppliers in person.

Trade magazines

There are several different trade magazines or journals that will have a list of potential Chinese suppliers or manufacturers that you can use.

Sourcing companies
A sourcing company is a third party that helps a company find manufacturers or suppliers for products. You can use these companies to find the best supplier for you. A good sourcing company should have a system in place to find a manufacturer that is low cost and creates high-quality products.

Here are just some examples of the products you can find being manufactured in China:

Clothing and fashion accessories
Tech accessories and gadgets
Makeup and cosmetics
Phones and computers
Children’s toys
Pet supplies
Outdoor and travel products
Advantages and disadvantages of China manufacturing
Before you begin sourcing products from China, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages to be aware of. Having the right supplier is crucial for your success as a business, so you need to make the right decision for your company.

Here are some reasons why you should manufacture your products in China:

Lower production costs – The biggest advantage of manufacturing your products in China is that you can lessen the product cost, without reducing the volume of products you create. This means that your profit margin can rise and you have more money to spend on other parts of your business.

Market expansion – A big benefit of manufacturing in China is that you can easily expand into new overseas markets. If your products are being created in China, chances are people there are going to be interested in your products.

High output in less time – China manufacturers have the ability to produce large orders of products in a very short time. This is because China is able to afford cheap labour, and have such big factories they’re constantly mass-producing manufacturing products.

Starting a business in South Africa is Impossible?

What to know before starting a business in South Africa

The rise of highly successful start-ups and entrepreneurs in the last few years have led to many South Africans wanting to start their own small businesses. Unfortunately, for many, the journey ends with the idea of being an entrepreneur, because the process of registering a business in South Africa may seem too complicated and expensive. But is this really true? Or is it simply this preconceived idea that’s leaving potential entrepreneurs with broken dreams.

When starting a business, you need to have certain documents and structures in place, however, the process is not a complicated one. Anyone with a valid identification document can start a business in South Africa and with the right guidance, the registration process should be an effortless experience.

Do you really need to register a business in South Africa?

Yes. No matter the size of your company or the amount of profit your business makes, registering it can offer numerous legal benefits, such as asset protection and the ability to raise equity capital, and will simplify admin processes in the future.

Which types of companies can register in South Africa?

Profit, non-profit, public and private companies can all be registered in South Africa.

Is the process of registering a business in South Africa really that complicated?
Not at all. If you follow the correct steps, your business can be registered in just a few days.

What are the steps to register a business?
Start by reserving a name for your business

It is important to choose a unique name for your business; one that has not yet been registered. You should also secure the domain name of your business. This will give credibility to your business and reserve the space online for when you are ready to launch a website.

You can easily search for names on 1-grid’s website. Simply scroll to the search bar, type in your ideal name, as well as two alternatives, and press search. 

Have the right documents?

Many people think that you need a stack of documents to register a business, but this is not the case. With ShopShipShake, you simply need the following:

Please read the guidance for beginners: https://bit.ly/2XfMNYl

Advanced guidance: This guidance will help you to learn how to purchase on SSS: https://bit.ly/2Pca497

It’s that simple.

When starting a business, should I have a bank account?

Having a bank account for your business is a SARS requirement. A business bank account will ensure that personal and business transactions are separated for better bookkeeping.

Starting a business in South Africa is not as complicated as you may think. With the right guidance and advice, you can register your new business in just a few days and reap the benefits thereof.

How to Find your suppliers

What Are Wholesale Suppliers?
Wholesale suppliers are business-to-business (B2B) entities that sell products at a discounted rate to other businesses. The buyers then sell the products in individual units directly to consumers for a profit. Wholesale suppliers may or may not manufacture the products themselves. In some cases, they even do a mixture of both.

Wholesale vs. Dropshipping
You’ll see mentions of both wholesale and drop shipping when we look at some of these small business wholesale suppliers. In the case of wholesale, you purchase the inventory from the supplier, who ships the items to you to store in your warehouse, stock room, basement, spare bedroom, wherever you keep your product. When a customer makes a purchase, you are then responsible for picking, packing, and shipping those items.

Dropshipping, on the other hand, is a more hands-off approach. So while you control more of the logistics and customer experience in wholesale, you leave this up to the supplier in the dropshipping model. Essentially, a customer purchases from you, but the supplier picks, packs, and ships it. You never buy the inventory from them in the first place, and they are responsible for storing merchandise. This is also less risk, though margins are typically lower.

How Do I Find Wholesale Suppliers?
Every search starts somewhere – in this case, you can begin with a Google search. This will bring up a list of wholesale suppliers to try. You can search by product, industry, and even location to pull up an initial list.

Bear in mind – wholesale can be a scary place. Not every wholesaler is legit, so you need to do some vetting beyond the first page of Google. Search for the company name and add keywords like “reviews” and “scam” to your query to unearth any red flags.

For labour-intensive industries, importing from China can effectively help to reduce labour costs. When compared to other countries such as the US, management and technical personnel salaries are significantly lower, as are the rates for hourly type positions.

Supplies and Raw Materials:
There is a chance of reducing your material costs, but note that this factor will depend on the type of raw material used in your manufacturing process – this is seen for materials, such as copper and nickel, which prices are determined globally.
One of the biggest challenges here is finding and qualifying a reliable supplier. Shopshipshake however takes care of all these aspects, making use of tried and tested suppliers, ensuring that your manufacturing chain benefits from the use of reliable partners.

China is a rising market and, within the last 50 years, has developed into a country with high tech manufacturing capabilities. Companies, such as ChinaSavvy, make use of world-class machinery from Germany, Japan and the US.

As seen in machining, various types of machines are employed for various results. ChinaSavvy can offer services using:

Chinese Built Machines: Employed in cases where tight tolerances and precision is not a requirement for part appearance or functionality. These machines are relatively inexpensive to incorporate and is capable of delivering low costs parts where precision is not of the utmost importance.

Be your own boss by choosing suitable business

These low-investment small-business ideas make a great entry point for beginners, bootstrappers, or anyone with a busy schedule and let you pick up a side business without having to drop everything else.

You still need to come up with a solid idea, build a brand, put effort into marketing, and provide excellent customer service. But there are ways you can bypass many traditional startup costs, such as initial inventory, warehousing, and retail space.

Here are examples of business ideas you can start on your own with a small investment.

1. Start a dropshipping business

Dropshipping is an easy business to start and the first of our good business ideas. Dropshipping is a fulfilment model where third-party supplier stores and ships inventory to customers on your behalf. It’s one of the best businesses to start because it’s low overhead, hands-off, and scalable.
You don’t need to handle any products yourself—you just need to make the sales and pass orders on to your supplier. In fact, it’s one of the quickest and cheapest businesses to start. Dropshipping is a low-investment way to test product-market fit and launch a business before you invest in your own original products. Just be sure to always order a sample for yourself to make sure your supplier is reliable and that the quality of the products is fit for selling to your customers.

2. Design and sell print-on-demand t-shirts

Another dropshipping model, print on demand puts inventory, shipping, and fulfilment in the hands of a third-party supplier. But unlike the dropshipping idea above, the focus here is on customizing products with your own designs to create something original.

T-shirts, hats, phone cases, hoodies, skirts, tote bags, and more become canvases for your creativity. You can think up witty slogans for developers or references that resonate with cat owners—if there’s passion and pride within a community, there’s a potential t-shirt business you can start.

Even if you’re not a designer, you can find one to work with using freelance sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Dribbble, or 99Designs.

With many print-on-demand services, you’re paying per-product, so the base price per unit will be more expensive than if you were to order in bulk. But the advantage is that if a certain t-shirt design doesn’t sell, you haven’t actually paid for the item yet (only the design, if you outsourced it).

3. Launch your own book

A book is just another type of product when you think about it. As such, you can create one to serve a particular demand in the market.

Cookbooks, picture books, comic books, poetry books, photo books, coffee table books, novels, and even ebooks—if you’ve got the knowledge or creativity, there are a variety of original books you can bring to the market. The options are endless—that’s why it’s one of the best businesses to start.

Print-on-demand publishing is a relatively safe way to test the waters and get started with self-publishing. It also gives you control over the quality and looks of your book.

Launching your own book can be a great way to monetize a blog if you have or are looking to start one.

4. Create digital products or online courses

Digital products like music, courses, and templates are unique on this list of small business ideas. Unlike the others, they’re not tangible. There aren’t recurring manufacturing or shipping costs to worry about, so your margins can remain high while generating passive income, making it another no-brainer for the best businesses to start.

The trick is figuring out what makes for a good digital product. What is useful enough that people are willing to pay to download it?

The answers range from original instrumental beats to stock photos that can be licensed to other creators to information products and templates that help people level up their skill sets in a particular field.

If you’ve got a talent that can be turned into a digital product, think about packaging it into a new stream of income.

5. Sell print-on-demand

posters, greeting cards, and prints
If you’re artistically inclined or know your way around a camera, you can dropship using a print-on-demand business model to let others physically own a piece of your work. Just be sure you have the rights to the content you want to print or are using public domain assets you can freely monetize.

If you’ve already got an engaged online following—say you’re a cartoonist or an urban photographer—you’re in an especially good position to give this small business idea a try.

Depending on the printer you work with, you can turn your work into products such as posters or framed wall art, even greeting cards. There are plenty of digital templates and mockup generators like Placeit you can use to showcase your products without having to print out each item and conduct your own photoshoots.

6. Start a charitable business

Starting a non-profit organization isn’t the only path you can take to help fund a better world.

Having a mission to go along with a business, and setting aside some profit for a cause, gives social entrepreneurs a unique way to position their company in the market while addressing the issues they care about most.

While many social enterprises offer their own original products, you can also take any of the small business ideas above and partner with a non-profit or execute that social good with your own hands, as long as you’re transparent about how it works.

As part of your marketing, you can share the impact that your customers are having by supporting your business, such as a blog post covering your work in the community or a real-time impact calculator on your website.

7. Sell a service

Offering services isn’t passive, but it can certainly be a lucrative way to gain self-employment. With services-based small business ideas, “time” is your inventory and your biggest investment. You’ve only got a limited supply of hours in your day. However, that makes it easier to get up and running if you’ve got skills that are in demand.

Writers, graphic designers, virtual assistants, SEO consultants, cleaning service providers, dog walkers, real estate professionals, and more can build a business around their skills.

It’s one of the best business opportunities because it can be expanded with any of the other ideas above to create additional revenue streams by “productizing” services through physical or digital goods.

A photographer, for example, can service a local event while selling prints online through their Instagram account. A freelance writer can sell a copywriting swipe file of high-converting sales copy. Coupling your service-based business with physical products can give you another source of income that isn’t directly tied to your time.

You can use the BookThatApp or Acerill Appointment Booking for Shopify to let customers easily schedule a session or consultation or buy tickets to a class with you through your store.

You can also offer your services through a freelance marketplace like Upwork to increase your chances of getting discovered by the people who need your skills.

8. Create an online fashion boutique

If you love fashion and sharing your sense of style online, you can consider creating your own online fashion boutique. You don’t need to become a fashion designer—you can simply curate items from other vendors into your own online store (using the dropshipping model we discussed earlier).

Dresses, shoes, swimwear, accessories, and more—you can build your own fashion brand using one of the several product sourcing apps for Shopify, model them in your own product photos and social media posts, and build an online following as a trendsetter.

9. Sell handcrafted and homemade goods

If you’re a maker—whether you DIY soap, candles, sauces, or pottery—you’re in a unique position to find an online business idea, because product development and procurement are literally in your hands.

Unlike many of the other ideas on this list, you will need to consider shipping and inventory management, but you can start simple on a per-order basis or with a small batch until you start generating consistent sales.

In fact, many makers on Shopify started with a home business idea, selling on Etsy or eBay, or to friends and family through word of mouth, and grew into full-time small-business owners after establishing a demand for their products.

10. Build an audience you can monetize

In today’s connected world, the ability to capture and keep the attention of others is an asset. It’s one that many businesses are even willing to pay for and one that many creators can convert into a business with multiple revenue streams.

Whether you choose to grow your following on YouTube, Instagram, or a blog (ideally a combination of different channels), you have many avenues for monetizing your audience:

11. Start a pet business

The pet industry is ripe with opportunities for all kinds of small business ideas. And it’s an industry worth nearly $100 billion, so it’s an easy one to get started in, with guaranteed demand. Your pet business could be product- or service-based—selling accessories, food, or toys, or offering to groom, walking, or training expertise.

12. Create a membership program

Online memberships aren’t just a hot new business idea that materialized from people being required to stay home during the COVID-19 crisis. Online memberships are ideal for entrepreneurs with an established active and engaged community. They work much like a subscription-based business—customers make recurring payments in exchange for a virtual product or service.

Memberships are great for managing members-only access to content on a website, and even for physical businesses that offer guided sessions online. Yoga studios, gyms, clubs, and art schools are a few examples of businesses that can easily take advantage of this low-investment business model.

Since this content is behind a gate that only paying subscribers can access through their customer account, you can also host exclusive live streams in addition to (or instead of) downloadable content.