Starting a business in Nigeria is not an easy endeavour. It takes time and adequate planning. Entrepreneurship is a concept that is widely being adopted in Nigeria. With the current unemployment rate and economic downturn, individuals are encouraged to start a business of their own. A Large percentage of employed masses also have what is termed a ‘side hustle’ as a source of extra income. Starting a business in Nigeria is one challenge, starting a business in Nigeria on little capital is another. As a potential businessman or woman, you must ask yourself how to start a small business in Nigeria and how to succeed in business in Nigeria. There is so much information on the topic of business, it has become a case of information dumping. The youth are not just saddled with so much information, they must filter it as well, which could be discouraging. As the ones who seek the knowledge, how will they know what to retain and which information to dispose of?
Business is the activity of making a living or money, by producing, buying and selling products or services, with the aim of making profits. If it will not profit you, it is not business. Business is a pivotal activity in society. Business upholds the economy, as every activity which provides income to run a society, is a business. Business ideas in Nigeria are many and innovative, but the country lacks basic platforms and standards which should help them thrive. It is also very easy to steal business ideas, without the originator having a platform to lay claims. In Nigeria the approaches to starting a business are different from others, also one must consider the legal requirements for starting a business in Nigeria.
Side business ideas in Nigeria are crucial to the survival of most individuals and households as monthly 9 to 5 incomes barely pay the bills on its own. a good side business can be done effectively with your 9 to 5. A good side business will produce a substantial income to support your monthly salary. Side businesses are the anthems of Nigerian undergraduates and citizens, almost like a plan B, the people need something to fall back on. Side businesses range from personal selling to uber driving, printing, product service and more.
Starting a business in Nigeria requires a lot of work and resources.
Here are key things you need to know when starting a business in Nigeria.
Find your passion
It’s easier to run a business you are passionate about. Whatever field it may be, there will always be a gap for you to fill in the field of your choice. Although what you think is your passion may not really be, it may be a step to finding what you’re truly passionate about. When starting a business in a country like Nigeria, passion is a major key that will keep you determined to succeed.
Brainstorm the idea
Every business stems from an idea. Things around you were once ideas, therefore you have to think of an idea. Brainstorming is a mental process whereby critical thinking is deployed to produce an idea. Brainstorming yields more results when more than one individual is involved, however, too many minds will lead to too many ideas. Your idea must be feasible in Nigeria considering all legal, illegal, normal and abnormal factors that may affect the idea.
A market research a systematic and organised effort to gather information about target markets and customers. A market research is important to help you understand the dynamics of your proposed market and is a key component in business strategy. The outcome of this research will affect your business idea and plan. The Nigerian market also includes the black market. Your research must cover all markets if you really want to succeed. Through this research, you can also build important connections. These connections will go a long way in your business operations and the success of your business. You can search online or attend workshops relating to your business to see what other businesses are doing. You can choose to provide an existing service, improved or a new service to fill a gap in the market or create a whole new market.
Develop a business plan
A business plan is a formal document which states your business goals, attainability and how they will be reached. A business plan may contain an executive summary of the business, business description, market demand, competitive analysis, business design and development, operation and management, resources needed and financial projections. This plan will guide you as you set up your business. A plan gives you foresight in the setup process and will help in preventing mistakes and loss.
Register your business
Register your business with the Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission, also called the CAC. Registering your business in Nigeria legitimizes your business. Depending on the nature of your business, this information is crucial to patronage. Customers find security in knowing your business is properly registered. Upon registration, you’ll need to clearly state the type of business you intend to register, a sole proprietorship, private limited liability or public limited liability company. Also, you will be required to provide a business name. This is because the name you intend to call your business may already be in use. There are several CAC offices in each state in Nigeria and registration can also be done online, however, after verification, other forms will follow.
Tax Registration is required if your business is a limited liability company. Tax-related issues are handled by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). The FIRS will receive the value added taxes (VAT), company income taxes and withholding taxes. Once registered, you will receive a tax identification number (TIN), which will be used for all tax processes. Tax registration is important as they are dues that will help in economic development. Boycotting tax registration and tax payments have different outcomes, after all, this is Nigeria.
Acquire necessary permits
When starting a business in Nigeria, it is important to acquire necessary permits. These permits give you the right and freedom to carry out business operations. Without these permits, your business cannot run. Various bodies regulate business operations, as such, you must register your business under a related regulatory body. There is a regulatory body for each field and there are practices you must abide by as a business owner. As a business owner, you can be fined for failure to abide by these rules and regulations.
Every business needs resources to operate. Resources may be in form of office space, furniture and fixtures, capital, human, technical and mineral resources. As guided by your business plan you need to secure resources that will aid the effective management of your business. These resources will eventually yield profits. As a business owner, you must also efficiently manage your resources so as to yield the best results.
Apply marketing strategies/Brand
Now your business is set and running you must apply your marketing strategies and brand your business. Starting a business in Nigeria is difficult because there are so many other businesses in your field, therefore, you must stand out. Ideal marketing strategies must be effectively applied to brand your business and bring your product to your potential customers. Your marketing strategies, depending on the nature of your business, could include advertisement, personal selling, promos etc.
Develop your brand
You don’t start a business by just creating a name and having an operations space. Starting a business requires development. As time goes by you have to develop your brand to remain relevant in Nigeria. Nigeria has numerous one hit wonder business, to remain relevant you must maintain and improve your product and services. You also have to offer more. Do not try to do the unimaginable all at once, taking baby steps is key in the Nigerian market. This gives room for growth of the brand. You can brand your business by having definite brand colours, a logo, a unique practice, a unique product, unique product or service names. This gives your business an edge over others. Nigerians of today like to be associated with names, developing your brand will make it a name, current, and potential customers will want to associate with.
Starting a business in Nigeria is neither for the weak nor the lazy. In an economy where things don’t always function properly, it may seem impossible to defy the odds, however, the hustling spirit of the country helps the people break glass ceilings in the field of business.