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How to Do Business in Nigeria

How to Do Business in Nigeria

Am glad to be back with you this week, I hope you found useful our last piece on how to do business with Zero-Capital. Got many calls and text messages where many businessmen found values for the knowledge gathered from last article and those who are applying the secrets have increased in productivity and making good profit in their businesses.

This week, we would be exploring how to do business in Nigeria, for Nigerians it will be an eye-opener, for foreigners, it will be a great opportunity to learn how to profit in this GREEN Land called Nigeria. It would interest you to know that not all Nigerians are eating from the fruit of this land, while large numbers of foreigner move to Nigeria and smile back to their countries with profits in “Hard Currency” and many Nigerians still complain and languish in poverty despite great ideas and potentials they are loaded with. I have a warning, this may not be the conventional business lessons you learnt from your Business Schools but the unique ways to do business in Nigeria. I have here 5 things you need to open in order to access business doors in Nigeria that ensure your productivity and profitability. I will give also you instances to make the techniques more realistic!

1. Open your Eyes: Nigeria has population of over 175 million people (July 2013 est.) with 52% living in the rural while 48% lives in the urban areas. United nation projection stated that Nigeria is one of eight countries expected to account collectively for half of the world’s total population increase from 2005–2050. These 175 million people will eat daily, they will take their bath, wear cloth, transport from one point to another point. They need education, they need accommodation, sound health, they will need light, and they will need water and many more things daily. In Nigeria, even a blind man can see money literally on the street. If you go to the rural areas, there are people in Agriculture who want to communicate, transport their goods and services to the urban areas of the state. If you come to the urban area, the culture and the way of life there is a big door in business for only those who can see. Entertainment and music industry is a big business in Nigeria; Communication gadgets are flooding the nation, who provides it? Who repairs it? You can be a distributor, you can be a middle man, you can buy and pay latter (base on your integrity capital) All am just saying is that you need to open your eyes to see the need of the people, provide goods or services to meet the needs. You will never be out of business if you could open your eyes and meet the needs of the people in Nigeria.

Tade is a friend who became a millionaire in ‘Iyana Ipaja’ side of Lagos when he discovered the irregular power supply to the area. He saw the way people were scrambling for Candle sticks as alternative for electric supply. He wrote to a Candle factory in India, they supplied him and he became a major distributor of Candle not only in his area but a greater part of Lagos where there use to be poor power outage! He opened his eyes and is a millionaire today!

2. Open your Container: The starting point of a business Nigeria is to have what to offer. There can’t be business without value exchange and there can’t be value exchange if the businessman does not discover what he can offer! The need for you to go back to your closet to find out; what are your potentials? What are your strengths, and what makes you thick. If you come to Nigeria and tell people you are an expert in general business, you may not be able to do more or sustain any business. The need for you to find your path gives you opportunity to earn your part of the market share. You need to discover who you are and what you can offer for you to have access to the market. The journey of self discovery that leads to business discovery is very important here. People everywhere have needs; it is the discovery of you and your type of business that gives you leverages in the marketplace. If you are a quiet and reserve person, there are countless problems and needs in Nigeria waiting to be solved by you! If you are an outgoing and outspoken person, there are businesses you can do in this nation. Nobody is useless but it must be discovered to be deployed. No business idea is bad until you are able to find those who need what you carry. So it is your responsibility to find out what you carry and if you don’t know how to do that get in touch with business consultants who specialize on this area.

Chidi came to Maiduguri broke; he tried so many things outside his strength he was frustrated and was very broke. One day he discovered that he interact with people very easily, he discovered that the people need cold water because of the hot weather, he discovered he had a freezer at home lying fallow, he brought it out and started to do use his relationship strength to meet needs, today Chidi is rich just because he discovered what he could do with what he has.

3. Open your arms: Doing business in Nigeria entails you open your hands to work. This is a country you can’t fold your arms, you need to put your hands to work. Lazy people do not have a future in this nation. We cannot have a green land without having people who will roll their sleeve and work. Until you work nothing works; it takes diligence to bring out the beauty of your idea. Business ideas are good but business work on the business idea is greater. In Nigeria, when you see opportunity, you must be ready to put your hands to work. Everyday opportunity abounds but there are few hands working, that is the major reason for the high level of poverty because there are limited people who put their hands to work. There is no food for a lazy man in Nigeria, when you find the problem, you met the need and your sustain business by hard work.

Abu found a need for “Suya” joint around a popular around a popular club in Abuja. This need is open, the market is accessed. Abu had meeting with the management of the club to be their “Suya” barbeque chef. This decision made him to work harder than before; the demand has made him to look for the meat during the day and grill the meat from night time till early hour of the next day! The circle continues 24/7. Abu needs to give it all that it takes to become successful in business.

4. Open your mouth: Nigeria is a great nation of potential, great people and great market but you must open your mouth and let people know the solution you provide! Open your mouth may not necessary mean physical mouth but anything that can project your solution to the world. Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and other social media are ways to open your mouth to your friends and family. Nigerians talk and like to gist, you have to give your neighbor something to talk about. The more “gossip” about your business the wider the solutions you deliver travel; open your mouth and fill the space of the earth with the image of your solution. When you find yourself in a small group, tell them what you do, share your solution anywhere everywhere, you don’t know where and who will call you for business. When anybody has a related problem you can solve, don’t be timid and tell them you can resolve it. Go full force, talk the talk and work the talk. I will like to warn you as this juncture that don’t be an empty talker, don’t let turn to empty barrel that makes the largest noise! Prepare your content with your content to match your talk because people judge your talk with your content! So be content ready while open your mouth!

Ubong is a good cook but no external people know except his wife! He knows he could cook not only for his house but also for commercial purposes. He started telling people that he could cook for them when they have events and big parties! AS he started to open his mouth, he began to get business gradually! He posted it on his Facebook wall, twitter account and his LinkedIn statues. This shot his cooking business up and today he earns from his passion by basically opening his mouth to tell people what he does.

5. Open your mind: In Nigeria, change is the only permanent thing. Business may not always turn the way you propose. Sometimes your business plan will never come out as planned! What do you do when the nation is not given you the environments to deliver your dream? You have to open your mind to change! Open your mind to flexibility! Open your mind to new ideas and innovation of how to make things happen. In doing business in Nigeria, don’t you have to be rigid rather be dynamic. Nigeria is a peculiar country that peculiar things happen every day! There could be exodus of your market from one place to another! Theirs could be change of policy, change of taste or change of demand! What do you need to do? Ask questions and align yourself with people; ask the users and change your strategy to meet up their demands, ask the market and see the direction it’s tilling to. Don’t be rigid, be flexible! Be ready to learn, be ready to relearn! Be ready to try new things and new ways! Be flexible in your mode of presentation and market channel. All these would change your business if you take note and keep your mind open.

Ogene is a big time business man in a settlement close to a major town in Nigeria, he sells bicycle parts. All of a sudden he discovered customers don’t come for the bicycles parts anymore! Sales began to drop. He repainted his shop and spent money on the environment to attract customers but yet no sales! He went further to ask from his customers and people around; he discovered that the state government has given 1,000 “Keke NAPEP” to the villagers around the state. This has affected the demand on bicycles parts; his customers now need tricycle parts. Though it is sudden for him but he needs to change his products if he would ever remain in business!

In conclusion, you must have a clear understanding that doing business in Nigeria is like harvesting a honeycomb; you have abundance of honey to take home but you need to be strategic in the way you go about it if you don’t want to get sting. Nigeria is a land rich with people, places and mineral resources! Only those who can see it can reap it, those who have what to offer will be offered, those who put their hands to work will eat the fruit of their labour, those who talk about what they do will have more opportunity to do more businesses and those who have flexible mind will do more in the business world! Keep all these in mind and make maximum use of them, your business productivity and profitability would be guaranteed!
See you at the top!

Remi Dairo
President, School of Productivity
CEO, Solvere Word Consult
Facebook: Remi Dairo II
Twitter: @Remi_Dairo
LinkedIn: Remi Dairo

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