In this blog post, I will take you through the whole process of registering an online business in Kenya. We will also look at the costs associated with the whole process.
See, starting an online business in Kenya is a great idea for anyone looking to start their own company.
It can be done in just about any field imaginable, and there are many benefits that come with it.
You don’t need much money or experience when you’re starting out, which means that even if you’re on a tight budget, this may be the right choice for you!
Step One: Choose a Niche
It is important to be specific when you’re choosing a niche.
You want to make sure that your business is something people actually want, and not just an idea you think up on the spot.
Step Two: Pick the right product
The second step is to pick the right product. If you are not familiar with what your customers are looking for, then this can be a difficult task until you have had some time in business.
It is important that once you have chosen which type of online business will work best for your goals, stick with it!
Step Three: Do Your Research
Before starting out with anything, it’s good practice to do some research into what other businesses are similar or around this area of work.
Try looking them up online using search engines like Google; if there isn’t much information available about these types of companies (or none at all), then perhaps change your industry!
Step Four: Pick and register a business name
The next thing to do when registering an online business in Kenya is picking out the perfect name.
You want something catchy and unique so people remember who you are later on down the road once you’re well known within your niche/industry.
Think about how much money would go into marketing if everyone could just Copywrite their names? There goes all of that hard work!
Be sure to take advantage of this and keep it simple!
Once you have the business name, your next step is to book it so no one else can take it.
To do that, you need to register it with the Government of Kenya.
Follow these steps to do that;
a). Business name search in Kenya
Estimated cost – KES 950
- KES 100 – For name reservation
- KES 800 – For business name registration
- KES 50 – eCitizen convenience fee
Business name search in Kenya is conducted on the eCitizen Portal.
This means that you first have to create an account there, before proceeding with registering an online business in Kenya.
Follow these steps;
- Ensure that you have a valid email address
- Go to www.ecitizen.go.ke
- Fill in your full names as they appear on your national ID or passport
- Enter your ID number
- Enter your email address and phone number
- Activate your eCitizen account by verifying the link sent to your email address
- Create a password for your eCitizen account A confirmation SMS will be sent to your phone confirming the activation of your account.
That is how to create an eCitizen account in Kenya.
Now that you have an account, go ahead and log in to continue with registering an online business in Kenya.
Now, let’s move to business name search in Kenya.
Follow these steps;
- Log into the eCitizen portal
- Click on the “Office of The Attorney General and Department of Justice”
- Click on “Make Application”
- Click on the “Name Search- Company/ Business”
- Read and understand the instructions provided before applying
- Click on the “Apply Now” button
- Choose the business entity
- Enter your proposed identity(the name you want to search)
- Provide a short description of your entity
Review the business name search application and then Submit it.
Next, pick your preferred payment method from the list provided to complete your request- the search fee is Ksh.150.
Once you have completed and submitted the application, wait for a response from the Registrar of Companies.
b). Business name registration in Kenya
The next step in registering an online business in Kenya is business name registration.
Once the preferred name is searched and reserved by the registrar of business names, the application for registration shall be processed via the prescribed BN registration form.
Also, all Online business registration in Kenya is done via the eCitizen platform.
Once you have verified that your preferred business name is available, you can move ahead with the registration.
And to do that, you will need the following;
- Conduct a name search through the Registrar of Companies and wait for approval of the proposed identity
- Describe the nature and activities of the proposed entity
- Provide the full identities of all the proprietors
- Indicate the postal address for the proposed name
- Indicate the physical address of the proposed entity- include the plot number, the town, and the county
- Presentation of copies of the national IDs or Passports of all partners or proprietors
- Present passport photos of the partners as well as copies of their PIN Certificate
The payment is around KES 850 for company registration (Ksh. 800 for registration and Ksh. 50 as convenience fee).
- Log into your eCitizen portal
- Submit the business name you searched
- Click on business registration or name search. Since you have already searched for the name, click continue to submit your application. A search letter and KES 850 invoice will be generated.
- Make payments and submit the confirmation
Click on the complete button and your business name registration application in Kenya will be queued.
You will get feedback within 1-3 working days.
c). Business Name Certificate
Upon a successful application, The certificate of Registration of the Business name also referred to as BN 3 is processed thereafter and issued.
Why is this necessary?
Well, if you intend to collect payments online via say MPESA LIPA Na MPESA, you will need the certificate.
Step Five: Build your website
Building a website is another important thing to do when starting an online business in Kenya.
You don’t necessarily need the best-looking site, but you want something that works well for what you’re trying to accomplish as a business owner, whether it is selling products or offering services.
Once again, this needs to be coherent with all of your other marketing strategies so customers know who they are buying from/working with.
To build a website in Kenya, you need two things;
- A domain name
- Hosting space
This is the special address people will use to access your website.
And to get a website name, you need to register it with a domain registrar in Kenya, like Truehost Kenya.
The cost of registering a domain name in Kenya will depend on the type of domain but generally ranges from KES 100 to 5K.
A .com domain will cost you KES 850 per year, while .co.ke domain will go for KES 599 per year.
Hosting is where the website files will be stored, making your website accessible online.
And just like domains, hosting in Kenya has different prices depending on the features it comes with.
But generally, it ranges from KES 1K to 15K per year.
To register a domain and add hosting, follow these steps;
1. Go to https://truehost.co.ke/
To continue with registering an online business in Kenya, head over to https://truehost.co.ke/ to get a domain and hosting at an affordable price in Kenya.
2. Click on Domains
3. Click on Domain Search
4. Click Simple Domain Search
5. Type your preferred website name
Here, you can use the business name you registered earlier on eCitizen. This way, there is brand consistency both offline and online.
6. Click on Search
Here, Truehost will check whether your domain name is already being used by someone else.
If no one is using the name, you will get a congratulations message. If it is already registered, you will have to try another name.
7. Click on Checkout
If the name is available, go ahead with registering an online business in Kenya by reserving the domain name.
Now, the next step is to add hosting space. To do that, follow these steps;
8. Click on No Hosting! Click to Add
You will be taken to a page with a list of available web hosting packages in Kenya.
Go through the list and pick the one you like based on its features and your budget.
Once you find it;
9. Click on Order Now
10. Click on Use
11. Click on Continue
12. Continue registering an online business in Kenya
You now have a website name and hosting in your cart.
Click continue to complete the order.
The next steps include creating an account and making the payments. After that is confirmed, you will receive details in the email you used to create an account concerning how to access your new website.
Step Six: Marketing
The last step when starting an online business in Kenya is to market yourself.
You can do this through many different means, but make sure you are consistent in your efforts so customers know who they’re buying from!
Here are some marketing strategies you can use;
- SEO – most people look for certain keywords when they are looking to buy something online, so this is a great strategy to use.
- Social Media – Facebook and Twitter pages can be used in many different ways! You can post new products/services that you’re offering, share your website with all of your followers, etc. It’s important not to just update it once in a while but keep up an active profile so customers know who you are!
- Blogging – create a blog and write about things you’ve learned as an ‘expert’ in your industry. People love to hear stories, so why not share some of yours?
- Email Marketing – this is one way that companies can keep their customers up to date with the latest products/services being offered! It’s also important because it keeps them interested in what they are buying from you. If someone only buys once or twice every couple of months, do you think they’ll remember who they bought from after a while? You need to remind them constantly so customer retention stays high! This will help ensure your business success down the road when sales are slow at times etc.
- Press Releases – If there is news or some type of event happening within your industry, sending out press releases about what happened will help get the word out there! This works well if someone sees their friend talking about how they read an article about one of these events on social media and they want to check it out for themselves.
See, marketing yourself online in Kenya takes effort but can be done fairly easily if broken into small chunks over time.
Make sure you keep up with consistent efforts and marketing strategies so customers know who they are buying from!
And that is how the process of starting and registering an online business in Kenya works.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and we will get back immediately.