From side hustle to global success: A guide to growing your online business

Natural textured wigs are now mainstream in the beauty industry, but it has not always been so; when Remi started her online business, Natural Girls Wig, it was because she was looking for wigs that matched her natural hair texture and she couldn’t find them online, so she thought that if she needed these types of wigs, then there were other women with similar hair textures who needed them too.  

She embarked on a transformative journey by starting a textured wig inspiration page on Instagram to feel the pulse of the market, and after a while, she started taking preorders for these wigs as she was getting multiple requests from interested buyers.  

On our Twitter Space series; “Problem to Product” Remi spoke to us about her journey and how she scaled her business from a small online side hustle to an international business serving customers across multiple countries. This article shares some valuable lessons from Remi and practical ways you can apply them to your own online business for growth 

In this blog post, you'll find: 

Strategies to help you grow your small online business

Secure Online Payments

Strategies to help you grow your small online business 

18.4% of new businesses fail within the first year, hence successfully starting a small online business and scaling it internationally requires intentional steps. Here are some of the things Remi did to grow Natural Girls Wigs and how you can apply them to your business. 

Talking to customers 

Customer service is vital for any business because if customers have a bad experience, they'll leave. Remi improved her customers' experience by regularly talking to them and gathering valuable feedback to enhance her products and even launch new ones. 

To understand her customers better, Remi puts herself in their shoes by exploring her website as a customer. She knows that online customers rely on product images and social media to make purchasing decisions, so she ensures that her product images are crisp and clear. 

In an online business, meeting customer expectations is crucial. Remi's team prioritises customer experience over making an immediate sale. They accommodate returns and refunds to ensure customer satisfaction and maintain a positive relationship with their customers. 

What you can do  

As a small business owner, effective communication with your customers is crucial for business growth as it enables you to better serve them. 

You can engage with your customers through direct communication, such as calling or chatting, which adds a personal touch. This allows you to gather valuable feedback that you can use to enhance your product or service offering. Additionally, following up after a purchase can provide you with feedback about the overall customer experience and the quality of your service. 

Collaborations and partnerships

Collaborations play a significant role in building trust among customers, especially for businesses in their early stages. Remi, during the first year of Natural Girls Wigs, leveraged collaborations with adjacent brands to establish her brand's credibility. 

Her collaboration strategies included: 

  • Identifying businesses with a similar target audience and proposing collaborations with them. This approach resulted in increased purchases in the first year. 
  • Reaching out to larger businesses that shared her target audience for joint giveaways and promotions. This allowed her to tap into a wider customer base and gain exposure. 
  • Collaborating with media platforms for transparent product reviews and offering giveaways to their subscribers. This further boosted the brand's reputation and expanded its reach. 
  • By employing these collaboration tactics, Remi successfully built trust among her customers and achieved growth for Natural Girls Wigs in its early stages. 
 What you can do 

Partnerships are crucial for online business growth as they allow you to reach a broader audience, potentially attracting customers who were previously unaware of your brand. 

To ensure successful collaborations, focus on identifying businesses that complement your own and can co-market with you. While it's a good idea to start with businesses of a similar size, don't hesitate to reach out to bigger brands as well. You never know the potential outcome if you don't give it a try. Cast a wide net and reach out to as many brands as possible to explore partnership opportunities.  

Optimising payments  

Remi emphasized the significance of optimizing payments for her business's growth. Since her customer base spans various countries, she integrated her business with multiple payment providers that offer reliable infrastructure across these regions. This ensured that her customers had a seamless payment experience while shopping on her platform, aligning with her topmost priority of prioritizing customer experience. 

For her US customers, Remi recognized the importance of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) options. Americans appreciate the flexibility of paying in instalments, and when she integrated with a BNPL provider, her sales saw a significant boost. By catering to the preferences of her US audience, Remi achieved exponential growth in her business. 

What you can do

Optimising your payments helps you to provide a seamless experience for your customers, here are some strategies to help you achieve this:  

  • Offer multiple payment methods so you can accommodate the preferences of different customers. This reduces the likelihood of losing out on a sale 
  • Partner with reliable payment providers so that your customers can enjoy quick transactions and an overall better payment experience 
  • Monitor payment data for insights on trends that you can use to improve your payments strategies based on customer behaviour

    Scale your online business

Leverage Marketing automation 

Remi uses various touch points to connect with customers and encourage them to return, whether it's through abandoned cart reminders or sharing brand and team stories. She finds that their brand story email flow is one of the most effective and highest-converting strategies for her business. This is particularly true for their major target audience, the global black audience in the diaspora. 

One aspect that excites their customers and strengthens the connection to the brand is the fact that Natural Girls Wigs produces locally in Nigeria. This information resonates well with their audience, enhancing the brand's appeal and fostering a strong customer bond. 

 What you can do 

Marketing automation is a powerful tool for small online business growth. If you’re not yet automating your online marketing, here are some steps to help you get started:  

  • Map out your customer journey and identify the key touch points, for an online business, it could be viewed product, added product to cart, payment completed, etc. 
  • Choose a suitable marketing automation platform like Klaviyo, ActiveCampaign or any other one that aligns with your business goals and budget. 
  • Create a lead magnet (an exciting offer, free sample, or gift) to collect contact information. 
  • Develop a lead nurturing campaign using automation to send targeted messages. 
  • Use data to optimise your campaigns for better conversion rates. 

There are several tools and resources to help you optimise your marketing automation. Do your research to find out what best works for your business and get started. 

Experiment and continuous learning  

Remi's success in her business can be attributed to her fearless attitude towards experimentation and embracing the unknown. She understood that trying new things, even when uncertain about the outcomes, was a vital source of growth and improvement. This approach allowed her to explore innovative ideas, marketing strategies, and product enhancements. Each endeavour, whether resulting in a success or a failure, provided valuable insights that helped fine-tune her product offerings and understand her customers' preferences better. 

What you can do 

To grow your small business, embrace experimentation, continuous learning, and data-driven decisions. Begin by setting clear goals and metrics. Start with low-risk experiments and try A/B testing. Gather feedback from customers and analyze your data consistently. Be open to rapid learning, iterating on successes, and pivoting from failures to adapt effectively. By following these steps, you can foster steady growth and progress in your business. 

Accept international payments on your website  


Remi's story is as an inspiring reminder that with passion, innovation, and a focus on customer satisfaction, any small business can grow into a thriving global brand.

As an online business owner seeking sustainable growth, you can apply these lessons to your own business for a winning formula