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“Olamilekan, do you think I should start a business here in Nigeria?”

Someone sent this message to me on Whatsapp recently, and while I was just going to type, “of course, go ahead!”, I had to have a clear rethink of what it meant to actually start a business in Nigeria.

When you look at startups like DMSI, uLesson, Jobberman, Hotels.ng, etc., and how these startups started their journey, you could feel inspired to want to make your own magic happen. But, have you also thought about the actual process involved?

I spoke to the CEO of softwork_shoes, a handcrafted shoe-making startup located in Lagos, and he had this to say, “Starting a business is not an easy task, especially here in Nigeria. This is why you want to make sure you’re starting your passion. I’ve failed numerous times in getting my business model right; in fact, I still struggle with one or two things in scaling, but one thing I’m glad about is that I’m learning so much in the process.”

Laws, policies, funding, environment, politics, etc., are some of the few deciding factors that’ll play into how your business is able to thrive. If you cannot find a way to cover the base around these factors and find a good balance, you might even see your business fail before you start! It’s here I’ll advise that you can either go put your money in bet9ja or one of those gambling platforms(at least, here you still have a 50% chance of making more money.)

If you still think, “I want my own business”, then;

  • Have your idea ready. Not just any idea, but that “super-duper” idea that you believe is going to work
  • Make sure you understand the business niche you’re venturing into
  • Research more about the market to know how much demand and supply is going on in that niche
  • Consider the total amount you think would be necessary for you to start
  • Consider your funding source. All businesses need money to grow, really
  • Know who your competitors are, and understand their own business models
  • Get the perfect location fit for your product (You don’t want to go to computer village and sell pepper there)
  • If you would require an extra hand, what qualification and skill do you require you might want to see in this person?
  • And of course, incorporate technology into the whole business process

Sometimes, even with all these factors in place, you could end up not winning immediately. So, one most important skill to develop is the “can-do” attitude. Wade through the early rejection, and you may well be on your way to becoming the next unicorn!

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