Learn how to start mini importation business in Nigeria with low capital while doing less.
The Central Bank of Nigeria defines small businesses as businesses with 300 employees or fewer.
Or, a business with a turnover of less than N100 million per year.
Importation business commonly referred to as import-export comes with lots of benefits.
- Untapped growth potential.
- Business grants and funding
- A massive population of citizens you can sell to.
How To Start Mini Importation Business Business In Nigeria
1. Get Your Priorities Right
Before you start a mini importation business in Nigeria, ask yourself, “What problem(s) do I want to solve?” I discovered many people start this business with wrong motives.
If you must survive with starting any of the top business ideas in Nigeria, you must be tough at heart.
This is crucial to the success of your business. I wish I knew earlier.
There will be a time in your business when:
- Everything working will stop.
- Your orders won’t arrive.
- Things going out of control.
Every successful entrepreneur today starts with solving a problem. I mean real important problems.
People don’t pay you for what you know. Never!
They pay you for what you do with what you know. – solving problems.
Below are list of reasons why most businesses don’t do well.
- The business is not solving problems at all.
- It is solving problems, but not enough to stand out.
- The business is not solving the right problem
- It is solving the right problem but in the wrong way
- The business is solving the right problem but to the wrong people
- It is solving wrong problems to the right people.
Forget the money, seek to identify as many problems as you can before you start.
- Can you identify your strengths and weakness?
- Will starting this business fit in with your family?
- Are you ready to work with no allowances, nor pensions?
Great companies starts because the founders want to change the world, not make fast buck.Guy Kawasaki
Ebube speaks more about it in The Entrepreneur’s Journey
2. Conduct Market Research
Before you start a mini importation business in Nigeria, it is best to conduct market research.
Market research is about finding out what customers need and determining how your business can fulfill this need.
Its goal is to help you find the best customers.
Market research is important to starting a business that will later become profitable.
One of the greatest copywriters, Gary Halbert, in a class, asked his students.
“What is the most important secret to success if I am to start a food business next street?”
- The first group said, The Price
- The second group said, The Taste
- The third group said, The Location.
Gary Halbert went further to unveil the answer. He said: A Starving Crowd.
I tell you, if there is no available hungry market for the problems you want to solve, you won’t go far.
But how do you know you have the right idea for a hungry market?
Use these three market validation points to check:
- Competitors: Are there any successful businesses in Nigeria doing the same thing?
There is no pride in trying to be the first to do a particular business. You know what happens to those kids that submit first in exams hall.
- Use: Do people need your products daily, weekly, monthly? If they need it once, then it’s a bad idea.
That’s because you will always spend more money in search of new customers.
- Uniqueness: Can you identify one way you would stand apart from others?
Everyone loves what is new – even you. No matter how little it is.
If you meet at least two of these criteria, then you are good to go.
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.Bill gates
3. Name Your Business and Register With CAC
To start a mini importation business in Nigeria, you need a registered company name.
This is very important and something you need to be thoughtful about.
Because the name you choose tells who you are, and how people will perceive you.
While it is possible to change your business name later, you don’t want to lose your long-built branding. Choose wisely
These tips can help in choosing your company name.
- Stay away from a location-based name: It makes it difficult to set up outside your location. E.g. Abuja Logistics Company
- Choose a business name with no English Meaning: It makes it easy to expand to other products in the future. E.g. Ellat Empire
- Use your name: If the business revolves around you and has no plan to sell the business in the future. E.g. Oluboba Consults.
- In all, choose a name that is memorable, available, and allows your business to grow.
After choosing, check the availability of your business name on the official CAC website.
Corporate Affairs Commission is in charge of business registration in Nigeria.
Need help with your business name registration? Contact Oluboba
4. Source International Suppliers
A good supplier is a must if you must start well with your mini importation business in Nigeria.
Once you finish conducting market research and registering the company name, you need a supplier.
An international supplier that makes the product you want.
Generally, the best place to find these suppliers is on Alibaba and 1688. But because of the language barrier, I encourage you to start with Alibaba.
On these platforms, you make orders for as many as a million units of any product.
But before you do that, wisdom demands that you buy one unit of the product.
This way, you can tell if it’s a product you want to continue with – product images can be deceptive.
And because of the naira restrictions, you will need to get a virtual dollar card to make your online payment.
You will find suppliers ready to send their products to you for free if you can convince them of the benefits of doing business in Nigeria.
Though they are rare. But they exist.
5. Get A Good Location
Depending on your products, you may need a location to sell from, especially when you have staff to work with.
Imagine you import auto parts; it wouldn’t be nice to use your house as ware house.
How to Choose the Best Location
- Ensure it is the best location for your customers type. Some businesses seem to sell more in a competitive location, while others cannot.
- Don’t fall victim to agents selling you larger properties, so they earn a high commission.
- Go with a copy of the housing agreement, so you read and understand better the law governing the place.
- If you are to share a building with someone, you need to be sure who you are sharing with.
- Pay the lowest amount of rent period acceptable. Because you may discover later, that the place is not conducive for your business.
Be sure you know all you need to before you settle down.
6. Create a Business Identity
Having a corporate bank account makes it easy to start mini importation business in Nigeria.
Please, this is not a must, as your business will still do well in its early stage with your personal account or cash at hand.
But sooner or later, you will need a business bank account.
And since you have registered your name, it takes nothing to open one at your preferred bank.
Why You Should Open a Business Account
- A business account takes away transaction limitations you may have with personal accounts.
- It builds trust and credibility when customers see your bank details in your invoice.
- It makes it easy to audit your cash flow to know if you are positive or negative with money.
- A business account protects your personal identity since it doesn’t share your information.
- It simplifies your tax-paying process and earns you more relationship-building with banks.
Another way to create a business identity is to have a separate phone line for business.
This is vital. It helps you differentiate your personal life from business.
When the phone rings, you know it’s time for business.
Other ways to create your business identity are as follows:
- Have a graphic designer design your logo
- Get business cards as they serve as a reminder of you and your business to whoever has it.
7. Move Your Importation Business Online.
One major challenge you will face as an entrepreneur is how to promote your products.
I once helped a client of mine got 175 people calling her per day. That is what I call strategic marketing.
Marketing online gives more return on investment than any other medium out there.
Small business entrepreneurs have a lot to gain from the use of the internet.
The following are some benefits of moving your business online:
- It breaks geographical barriers, thereby promoting your business all over Nigeria and beyond.
- It allows customers to access you faster and easier any day, anytime.
- You spend less on administration costs and salary payments.
In moving your business online, understand you need the following:
If you need help on how to move your importation business online, contact me here
Conclusion on How to Start Mini Importation Business In Nigeria
Getting a business plan is not a requirement to start a mini importation business in Nigeria.
But trust me, whether you think you need it or not, a business is a great tool to have at hand.
A plan is not only for your potential investor but also for your own functioning.
Don’t make the mistake of running your importation business operations by heart.
You need a plan that serves as a road map from where you are to where you want to be