Starting any form of business in Nigeria is practically not a piece of cake. If making cakes is easy, as the general notion agrees, in this part of the world, easy is not always the literal easy. Business and commercial environments are very tough and unfriendly. Many investors and entrepreneurs have had to withdraw from one business effort or the other. For those who could be counted as being successful, their stories are surely not going to be as interesting as the adventure novels you read at leisure.
Take it or leave, business theories we read in the books, most often do not agree to day to day activities here. There seems to be some unwritten rules that govern the business climate. Those rules; you could hardly find them in any recognized textbooks, are so permeating that the inability to follow them may be dangerous. Well, every society has its own peculiarity.
Scary as all these seem, Nigeria is still the investors’ dream land. For those who had and are still braving it and facing all the odds, they are smiling to the banks. Apart from the MTNs, GLOs, AIRTELs and ETISALATs of this era, countless other medium and small scale business owners are being grateful, to say the least, for investing in the most populous black African nation.
Contrary to all the negativities, this nation possesses one of the most significant factors of production. In simple honesty, it is not just one; there are numerous. She, undoubtedly, is endowed with an enormous population. When natural resources are to be considered, then Nigeria should be proud to boast of being blessed. Whatever the reasons for the unfriendly environment, could be issue for another text.
It is not entirely bad! You could still start and do business in Nigeria. Tens of hundreds are doing it, even if not all of them are succeeding. Perhaps those fallen into trouble waters did not consider the most important things to do before starting their businesses. Read along factors you must take into consideration when thinking of starting or even investing into a business in Nigeria.
KNOWLEDGE: WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE BUSINESS?
There is nothing as stressful as going to a location without a meaningful description or an address. It is the same as mopping aimlessly in the dark. Knowledge of the business is primary. You must take your time to understand what the nature of the business is. A lot of interesting investment prospects abound in many fields that you do not have any knowledge of. That is not enough to scare you off. Ask questions about things: the past, the present, notable people in the business, their histories and achievements, their challenges, and many more. These days feasibility studies, even though, they are not all reliable, can form your guide. Mentorship is another trend gaining ground that you can tap from. Be watchful, however, people do not always want to release information freely. Whatever methods you apply is not as important as the fact that you need knowledge. Seek it!
PLAN: PREPARE FOR NOW AND FOR EVER
Whoever fails to plan; plans to fail. Draw out schemes of what to do for the present, the foreseeable future and for any eventuality. Do not just think that the knowledge you have acquired will be enough to weather all storms; you could be shooting yourself in the leg. Business environment, as said above, is very unfriendly. Think of all possibilities and impossibilities. Put it down into writing what you intend to do, how you intend to do them and what time frames will be good to give accounts. Timing is significant for checking the progress of the business. Think and prepare for who you are going to get involved, both in the short and long term.
CAPITAL: NOTHING IS DONE WITHOUT MONEY
Be realistic in your planning and preparations. If wishes were horses, beggars will ride. You cannot do anything without the availability of capital. Cash must be ready in the measure of the size of the business. Do not start big when the cash available is meager. Credit worthiness is rare in our economy. Most banks are not ready to welcome your business idea, not to talk of putting their money on line. Once the knowledge of the business is in place, you start to plan with the little money you have. The truth is that you can start little and grow.
AVAILABILITY: TRUST IS NO ISSUE HERE
No man is an island! You cannot do everything by yourself. There will be need for other hands to help take care of one task or another. As much as you cannot do all alone and need people, you must make a duty to be available most of the time. Do not think it is appropriate to trust them with your business. Even family members are worse; complacency is usual the result. Managing strangers will be easier and better as there will be chance to apply rules and give orders to be followed. However, whichever the case may be, do not total trust to people.
RELATIONSHIP: START BUILDING YOURS RIGHT FROM THE START
Business is sweet when people patronize. Patronage comes from relationship built through quality products and qualitative service. Having clients is gradual, but should be lasting. That is also subject to the nature of business, the type of product and/service. Each customer’s attitude will be different and your ability to identify this will help your relationship with them in their numbers. Endeavor to have personal contacts with them, especially when just starting your business. Employees cannot handle all issues on their own. As part of building and keeping relationships, is to be aware of government oversight roles in all businesses. All levels of the government will, according to the law, impose one charge or another. When you keep good relationships, you will know what taxes and levies to be paid, and also how those governmental agencies can help your business. Be warned, you can never do without them.
EXPECTATIONS: ROME WAS NEVER BUILT IN A DAY
Always live in reality. Know that you are doing business for the future. Even when you get instant results in sales, turnovers and profits, it could be one-off. Many businesses in the past had been like that. Their owners had fallen for it and failed to know that the future might be hard. Do not live in the dream by believing that all will be well. Life is not a bed of roses; there are to be ups and downs. Know that starting little, steadying the business through close management and prudent resource usage. Expecting your business to produce good results, instantly, is tantamount to building your castle in the air. Easy and steady, you can end with an outfit that can boast of having survived the rough and unfriendly Nigerian business environment.