By Onwueme Paul
SMS stands for short message service and is one of the services that mobile telephone service providers and internet service providers provide to end users. It is a digital mobile service that enables businesses and individuals to send messages across to their target audiences. For instance a product launch, wedding notification, promotions, greetings and other announcements can be sent to a large number of people across various networks at a relatively low price.
With an SMS business one has the opportunity to help individuals and businesses send their messages to people scattered over diverse regions using texts at little or no cost whatsoever. No need to call friends and relations to tell them something you can say in a few understandable sentences. Just get to the point with your message and you are there home and dry.
There are two main types of services provided by SMS business namely premium service in which the end user pays for the service and Customer Relationship Management service in which a service provider pays for the service to end users.
Benefits of SMS
• Saves cost. For less than the normal rate of sending SMS with conventional media
• Faster as you don’t need to manually prepare and configure messages to be sent
• More secure than ordinary text messages and phone calls as there is less risk of unauthorized access
• Offers convenience to sender
• Privacy is improved
• Not many people buy into SMS mode of sending messages
• It is costly to acquire although it tends to cost less when the cost is spread across units purchased.
Steps to Starting an SMS business
1. Locate a service provider
The first step is to locate a service provider. A company that provides bulk SMS service to resellers, this company typically offers resellers a custom built website with a control panel from which the reseller and create and manage client accounts. With this CP in place the reseller can now start marketing his service to clubs, associations, companies, banks and other companies that have a large customer base.
2. Get connected to the internet
Of course internet access is necessary but the kind of internet access that suits you will depend on the kind of customer you are dealing with and the type of SMS service (if you are using XL plug-in software). With a large client base you will need dedicated internet access but with a small business you are looking at any kind of internet service even a cybercafé is good enough.
3. Get a Reseller Plan
After securing an internet access the next step is to purchase a reseller plan. Most reseller plans start at just N10,000 with as few as 5,000 units. The choice of purchasing plan ultimately depends on you.
4. Approach the customers
After having determined your business model the final step is to start approaching customers and spreading the word about you and your service. Good prospects include churches, associations, banks, small businesses, hotels, political parties and even NGOs.
Things to note
The SMS plans have a validity period which means they must all be used up within a given time frame or will become stale.