One of the wonderful things about Nigeria is that for business owners, the potentials to make wealth are endless. Of course, running a business in Nigeria could be very challenging. We have one of the toughest business climates in the world. Still, the potentials for profits are mind-boggling.
You don’t have to be a Dangote or Elumelu to make money in Nigeria. However, you do have to follow some important tips; you must do your due diligence. Running a profitable business in Nigeria is not a stroll in the park. It will challenge you, it will push you to your limits. But like me, you wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
Below are 5 tips I suggest you implement to run a profitable business in Nigeria.
1. Have a marketing plan
Do you have a marketing plan?. If you don’t, you need one.
It’s all about the plan. What is your value proposition? Who is your target audience? How do you plan to reach them and deliver your product/service to them? What are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and how are you tracking them?
Without a solid marketing plan, your business is running on random luck; one thing you don’t want in your business is random. You need a solid system which ensures that everything runs smoothly. You must know where every kobo is coming in from and where you are spending them.
A marketing plan is not something you draw up over the internet, especially in Nigeria where we have insufficient to nonexistent records. You need to enter your target market and conduct your own study to discover the best way to penetrate that market.
If it takes you a long time to draw up a marketing plan, it will be well worth it in the long run. Go ahead and do it.
2. Understand the business
I notice that people usually pay more attention to ‘lucrative business ideas’ than on how those businesses really work. Not a day would pass on nairaland without someone asking “what business can I do with Nxxx,xxx and make Nxxx,xxx every month.” The business idea articles on this blog get more attention than all other articles. There is so much emphasis on the best lucrative business idea to make the most money.
There is nothing wrong with looking for lucrative business ideas to invest in. But you must understand, the devil is always in the details. You need to understand the details about the business you want to venture into. This is where most people get it very wrong.
Many people venturing into a particular business do not spend time to understand the pros and cons of that business. They only need to see that Mr. Adamu is raking in money with that business and BAM, they are in, just like that. Kind of shoot first, ask questions later.
Till today, many people are still trying to create their own nairaland. A lot more are still trying to create their own naij and SDK. Most of them fail. Only a few who are able to understand how the industry works are able to make it. You must first understand what makes a business flourish before you launch into it.
3. Be Innovative
One innovative idea or concept could make your business go viral. Do something creative, something out of the box. Make your customers go wow!
CNN once ran this story about a Nigerian windscreen cleaner who showed up to work one day in dapper suits, with a bright red bow tie to match. See the picture above, if you see this guy cleaning your windscreen would you be able to ignore him? You see him sweating and everything but the suit was a head turner. It was so never-seen-before that his picture went viral on social media; he landed a huge job the following day.
The point is, to run a profitable business in Nigeria, you must innovate. Explore your creative genius, give people something to talk about your business and watch your profits grow.
4. Have a leverage
A leverage is what gives you an edge over your competition. It makes you stand out and leaves a permanent impression in the mind of your target audience, making it difficult for them to leave your brand.
A leverage could be anything: the way you deliver your product/service, having lower prices, superior brand presentation, anything.
The tailor who makes my clothes has this ability to look at you and just figure out what would suit you best. It may not mean much to you if you always know the patterns and design you want. But for some of us who have little to zero fashion sense, having someone like that is invaluable. For my tailor, his leverage lies in the way he understands, interacts with and delivers the best service to his customers.
What is your leverage? There has to be something you can offer better than anybody else. Use that leverage to your advantage and your customers will pay you for it.
5. Get techie
Technology makes things so much easier these days. The best part is you don’t need to be tech-savvy or a programmer to leverage the power of technology in advancing your business.
One chore I hate with all my heart is taking inventory (taking stock, in street language). Even if you don’t hate it, taking stock is often a time-consuming task, time which you could devote to something else. Now, technology makes it easier to take inventory with only a click. There are many business management software you can deploy to automate such tasks as inventory and sales records. So you don’t have to worry about your sales girl stealing your money.
This is just one example of technology at work in business.
If you used to spend a lot of money paying graphics designers, you can now design your own graphics, free of charge, using a service like canva.com. The examples are endless.
Don’t keep doing things the old-fashioned way when you can use technology to save time, automate tasks, and make more money.