Small Scale Export Business in Nigeria: How to Start

Starting an export business in Nigeria can be very daunting. But you can choose to take a step at a time by starting the business on a small-scale.

Small Scale Export Business in Nigeria

Small Scale Export Business in Nigeria

In this post, we have compiled a step-by-step to guide to starting a small-scale export business in Nigeria.

Step #1:  Register your Business Name

This is the first step in the process and it means you’re letting the government know you now own the business and the business name is yours.

The government agency in charge of this is the Corporate Affairs Commission. The agency is authorized by the Company and Allied Matters Act 1990, pursuant to section 659 to register businesses in Nigeria.

There are different categories of business registration in Nigeria. These include;

  • Registration of the business name,
  • Registration for Private Limited Company (LTD),
  • Public Limited Company (PLC),
  • Company Limited by Guarantee (LTD/GTE),
  • Unlimited Company (ULTD),
  • Incorporated Trustee

As a small or medium sized business what concerns you is the registration of the business name and perhaps private limited company aspect.

When registering your business name, you will have to go to the Corporate Affairs Commission Office nearest to you to obtain a Form for application with a token. On the form, you would fill your name, address, the type of company you want to register for and your business name (you would be given the opportunity to pick the first choice and an alternate name in case the first name is not available). Before you submit the form, make sure you make a photocopy so they can use it to find your form when you get back. After submission, you would be required to come back in three days to find out if the name(s) is available for use.

Then you have to visit again about a week to two weeks later to find out if the name has been approved. If the name has been approved, then you proceed to the business registration.

You will be presented with a business registration form to fill, which should be filled carefully. Do not hesitate to ask for help or clarification when you do not understand, so you do not make mistakes. You will also be required to pay a fee prior to submitting the form. After submission, you would be given an affidavit/attestation form, which you would be required to take to a magistrate court for endorsement. The court would also collect a token for that.

You would also be required to submit certain documents with the registration form. You can check this website to see the necessary documents and requirements

If you have your attestation, the registration form, the necessary requirements and you have paid the required fees, you can submit these documents at the CAC office. And if you get it right, you should be able to receive your business name certification in one or two weeks.

Step #2: Choose the products you want to export

This step requires selecting products that are lucrative in the international export market. Here are a few things you should do if you want to select the perfect product.

  • Examine the trend

You need to examine the trends to see the products that gaining a lot of attention. You can use the internet to find out about these products.

You can also consider the products that you are interested however, it is important that you select products that are lucrative because passion with money is as good as nothing

  • Analyze your competitors

You need to check your competition. There are two ways to look at it. You can either attempt to take a part of the market share of a competitor that is a monopoly or you can join in trading in a particular product that has several competitors. In this case, your best bet will be to add a unique selling point that makes you stand out from the other competitors.

  • Research the products

You need to research the products and find out all you need to from it. This will ensure you make an informed decision when selecting the products.

  • Identify government policies

Government policies can either make or mar your business. This is why it is important to know the import and export laws provided by your country and the country you would likely want to trade with. The customs laws on each of those goods would also help you make an informed decision on the profitability of the product(s) in question.

  • Identify your target market

You have to not only identify particular buyers but also the country they would be in. it is recommended that you find out more than one buyer and maybe just a country as a start to see how they would react to the product you want to trade in.

Step #3: Source for Foreign Buyers of Your Product

Finding buyers is extremely important to the growth of your business. This step can be complicated because it is not always easy to access these buyers, unlike local trade where you can speak one on one to them.

However, you can go online to find buyers. You can also go through e-markets such as Alibaba to find the businesses that need your product.

You can also learn a lot about foreign buyers by visiting their Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria. You can either go online or you can visit the Chamber of Commerce office in the country.

Another option is to attend trade fairs or trade shows. These are exhibitions where different companies in a particular industry come together to exhibit their products and services. It is organized for marketing and networking. When you attend any of these events, you’d have a good idea of particular individuals or companies that would be interested in your work.

Other options include:

  • Register with National Export Boards

The NEPC (Nigerian Export Promotion Council) is involved in the promotion of the business of Nigerian exporters. Registering with the NEPC will do your business a lot of good as they are involved in organizing organize trade fairs to create a buyer-seller relationship.

  • Buying agents

Many international businesses have buying agents who come into the country to help them buy their products instead of them transacting virtually with buyers. So you can contact these agents and show what you are selling to them.

  • Online Ads

The internet has made the world a global village. So from your little corner in Nigeria, you can reach the world about your products. You can run ads like Google ads or Facebook/Instagram ads to showcase your business to areas far beyond your scope of reach.

  • Industry associations

You can also contact the association of some industries and request for a list of companies you can work with.

  • Social media platforms

The world has become a global village and one of the reasons for that is social media. You can use social media platforms such as LinkedIn to connect with buyers but LinkedIn. Facebook can also help you find buyers as long as you make your profile attractive and marketable.

Step #4: Find suppliers of your product

Now that you have identified your target market, the next step is to find suppliers of your products. There are a few things you’d need to consider to get this right. One of the most important things is the quality of your product. You’d need to source for quality products if you want your buyers to keep coming back to you.

So, how do you find suppliers?

You can find suppliers online by typing your product on Google. You can search for words like wholesale, supplier, wholesaler, and distributor combined with the product. Also, you could search for words like “cocoa wholesaler” or “wholesaler of cocoa.” Basically, you have to use different words till you get what you are looking for. Another option is to look for the directories of manufacturers or ads to direct your search.

You can also attend trade fairs to find suppliers. And if you have contacts in the industry, then it makes it easier. Even if you don’t meet the exact supplier of your product, you are bound to see someone that can point you to what you are looking for. When you attend these fairs, speak to a lot of people and you would be surprised how much information you would leave with.

Another option is finding suppliers by referral. You can achieve this by speaking to people who are already in the business to find out who their suppliers are. You can also ask around your circle, you might be surprised how much information the people around you would supply you with. Also, you can ask on social media platforms.

Finally, we have decided to include the list of export goods in this post. This list can certainly help you in the process of starting your business by giving your product ideas.

  • Bitter Kola
  • Breadfruit
  • Cashew nuts
  • Charcoal
  • Cocoa
  • Crayfish
  • Edible local chalks (Nzu)
  • Fabrics
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Groundnut
  • Hibiscus flower
  • Kolanut
  • Locust beans
  • Melon
  • Moringa seeds
  • Ogbono seeds
  • Palm fruit
  • Palm oil
  • Pepper
  • Plantain
  • Sesame
  • Shea butter
  • Tiger nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Walnut
  • Zobo leaves



27 thoughts on “Small Scale Export Business in Nigeria: How to Start”

  1. Hello there , I am interested in mini or small export business especially the one where African or Nigerian living abroad who are interested in products or produce available in Nigeria. Do you deal in this kind of buyers?

  2. Dear Sir/Ma’am,
    Pls let me know the cost and duration of the training, particularly the practical aspects. Also let me know the packaging of products such as Bitter kola, Tiger nuts, Ginger sesame seeds and etc.
    Anxiously waiting for your speedy response.
    Best Regards.

    Adetoyi Emmanuel Lai.

  3. I’m interested in small scale export training program. Can you pls intimate me with all it takes for one to be part of it ?
    Thanks and Best Regards.

    Adetoyi Emmanuel Lai

  4. Well, Am in interested in the small scale export business . I have registered my business name with the CAC. I have market for the agricultural products I want to export but I still need your guidance before starting.

    • Hello,
      Have You been able to learn how to start an exportation business? Can you link me up with the right connection to learn. Please, I have had this business in mind for so long now.

  5. I am fully interested in small scale export business, but I need to b well informed before venturing into it. Pls if possible help me with how to acquire the basic training needed in order to proceed

  6. I’m interested in small scale export business in Nigeria. Pls, let me know the details of how to get properly trained.

    Best Regards

    Adetoyi Emmanuel Lai

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