It is undoubtedly a good thing to own and run a business. Having your own business saves you lots of the popularly 9 to 5 stress that people go through at work. You will be able to run your life on your own terms without your boss looking over your shoulder.
However, do not be so excited so fast. Starting a business might sound great, but it is just as demanding anywhere in the world and most especially in Nigeria. You in fact cannot take it with levity. In order to ensure your business grows in this highly competitive business world as it is in 2021, there are things you must learn and be ready to live by. This article writes about how to start a small scale business in Nigeria in 2021.
A business is any work that deals with the production and sales of goods or services. There are no rules pertaining to who can start a business. Neither do you need a particular degree or a huge sum of money in order to run a business successfully. However, there are some steps you need to take in order to run a business successfully.
Small Scale Business in Nigeria: How to Get Started
In this post, we will be sharing with you the key steps and processes to start and run a business in Nigeria.
If you have decided on your own accord to start a business, you need to be honest with yourself and try to answer some questions truthfully. Some of these questions are:
- Do I have the skills needed to run this business?
- Do I have the leadership skills needed to lead or manage a team?
- Do I have the resources to raise capital for the business?
- Am I a passion-driven person? Do I have the passion and motivation to make this business a success?
- Find a business idea
Many are usually so excited about starting a business that they do not put enough thoughts into the kind of business they want to start. Funny right? To be honest, not all business ideas are worth starting at all. Your business idea should be unique, actionable, found to be needed by the market.
How then can you decide on a good business idea?
Start by looking at what problems exist in your environment and see how you can provide a solution to such a problem. Your business must provide a solution before you can be able to successfully monetize it. If you find that your business idea is completely new, think of how it can relate to people in that environment. This means you are creating a need for it. For example, your business can be a more quality or same quality product but cheaper than what is already available in the market. Focus solely on what your business has to offer.
Conduct market research
You must have a good understanding of a business if you want to run it successfully. Try to conduct market research. This is not that difficult, all you need to do is ask people around you (potential customers) a few questions about how they find your business and the problem you will like to solve for them. The market research also entails investigating direct and indirect competitions that already exist in the market. This will help know how you can do better than them. Don’t be shy to ask questions if you need to and seek advice from other entrepreneurs
Ensure you properly utilize the feedback you receive from your market research. The goal of your market research is to know more about your business and how you will run it.
This is very important as you would not want to start a business today and find it crumbling in the future.
Create a business plan
You must have heard of a business plan and might be wondering what this is about. A business plan is a formal statement of your goals and the ways you intend to achieve them. A business plan can also contain background information about your start-up business. A business plan is very crucial to any start-up business, regardless of its scale or size.
Importance of a business plan
- A business plan helps you stay focused on your goals and organized.
- A business plan will help you determine what key problem your business is going to solve in the society
- A business plan will help you determine the value you are adding to your target customer
- A business plan helps you determine the business lifespan
- A business plan shows how you intend to generate profit both short term and long term
- A business plan shows how intend to raise startup capital
- A business plan shows how you intend to achieve market penetration & growth
Also, investors require a business plan before they can trust you enough to invest in your idea. Ensure you take time to write a great business plan.
Choose a location for the business
Once your business plan is ready, you need to choose a location for your business. This is especially crucial if your business is offline.
Factors to consider when determining the location of your business include proximity to your target customers. It is important to locate your business near potential customers, who will pay for your products and services.
Starting a business does not only requires skills and effort but also capital. Every business requires startup capital, no matter how little it is. A business needs money to run its daily operations. There are different means available to you to source for funds. These include bank loans, grants, equity investments, etc.
You need to register your business, not only so you will be taken seriously but so you will not run into problems with the law. Every Nigerian business is supposed to be registered with the Cooperate Affairs Commission (CAC) at the federal level and with the Chamber of Commerce at the state level. One of the crucial documents needed when registering your business is an article of association. This usually contains a lot of information about your business. You will also need the services of a lawyer when registering a limited liability company.
Register with the Federal & State tax offices
Upon registration the Cooperate Affairs Commission (CAC), you will also have to register with the federal and state tax offices. The body responsible for this is the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). You will be provided with your Tax Identification number which is required when opening a business bank account and when you want to access a loan or grant.
Get a business bank account
Setting up a business bank account is crucial for authenticity and validation when receiving capital from investors.
Start your business
Once your business registration is complete and your business has been validated by the appropriate tax authorities, you can now set your business rolling. Your main focus at this point is to increase awareness of your business. Make use of all tools available online to make your customers find you easily.
At this stage, it is important you let your customers know how your business adds value to their lives, This is how to grow and acquire new customers and generate more revenue, and get feedback on what you’re doing right and wrong.
Grow your business
The best way to grow your business and generate more revenue is through feedback. With feedback, you will get to know what you are doing wrong and how you can make your products and services better. After you have reached your first set of customers which may include those who have previously been in your network, you will have to reach a wider audience. Measures you can take to increase awareness of your business include expansion to newer locations, focusing on online presence.
Invest in Time
Business is not simply about having capital and money. You must create time for your business if you want it to grow. Business growth requires investing your time either when managing others on your team or meeting with customers yourself.
Develop a passion for it
Another crucial character needed to make your business a success in 2021 is passion. Running a business can be draining. There are days when the only thing keeping you going will be the drive, passion, and commitment you have towards the business. You must believe that the business will succeed, love the business and be passionate about it. It is only when you have enough passion for the business that you brace up even when things might not be turning up. It is only a can-do attitude that can run a business successfully.
Take your business online
In 2021, the best place your business can be is online. There are different tools available to help your business thrive. Such tools include:
Social media such as Facebook, Instagram
Website and blogs
Online marketing helps your business to be more visible than businesses that focus on only physical presence.
Buy Hosting & Domain URL
In order to have your own website, all you need to do is find a domain that is available. After which you will have to buy it so that it will be officially yours. You can also work with a blog such as with WordPress, which is a free and open-source content management system. The benefits of running your own website are explained below.
Posting relevant contents on your website or blog
If you have decided to own a website, you must put in the hard work of ensuring your website is active and engages your customers with content. Writing content that relates to your brand is important as it would place you as an authority in your niche. It would also help build trust and people would do business with those whom they consider competent and trustworthy.
Design your Sales Funnel
It is important you build a structure that will help convert traffic on your website and social media into sales.
Select an Email Autoresponder Software
Email marketing is a tested way of building customers and ensuring sales. You will be able to build a list for your Email list is via your website. An Email Autoresponder Software targets people that visit your website and do not immediately do business with you. When you are able to get their details, you can then build trust and customer loyalty through newsletters.
Create an Email Newsletter Series
As mentioned earlier, a newsletter helps to build and retain your customer base. An Email Newsletter is a type of mail that informs your audience of the latest news, tips, or updates about your product or company. You send this to those who have subscribed to your mail. With the use of Email software, newsletters can be automated. When you keep sending out newsletters, you are building rapport and trust. Your customers get to read about how you can add value to them or the new products that you offer.
Build Your Team
As your small business starts to grow, you will need a team to manage the operations of the business. However, at the start, you might not need a team since you will be the only one running your business. Having a team helps you not to burn out or wear yourself thin. You can hire someone to handle your content writing, marketing, or sales so you can focus on another important aspect of the business.
When hiring team members, make sure you get only those who can contribute to the success and growth of your business. A strong team can build your business while the wrong people on your team can mar your business.