Having observed from afar many ‘one-man’ / small businesses in Nigeria and worked closely with few, I’ve witnessed both the immense potential and the unique hurdles they face. Below are some key practical ways to tackle some of the challenges head-on:
𝟏. 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭 𝐅𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧:
Nigeria’s diversity driven by its heterogeneous society and unstable economy demands a hyper-local approach. Small businesses must tailor their strategies to suit specific regions, understanding their distinct consumer behaviours and preferences.
𝟐. 𝐈𝐧𝐟𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐋𝐢𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬:
Small businesses must navigate unreliable infrastructure with flexible logistics and supply chain solutions. To deliver value to customers and consumers, it is advisable to consider local partnerships to ease distribution challenges.
𝟑. 𝐄𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐕𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲:
Nigeria’s economic landscape can be unpredictable – driven by macroeconomic factors, and sometimes sharp price movements.
If possible, small businesses are encouraged to diversify their income streams and adjust pricing strategies to cushion against market fluctuations.
𝟒. 𝐑𝐞𝐠𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐱𝐢𝐭𝐲:
Doing business in Nigeria requires navigating various regulatory frameworks, which can initially seem complex. Keeping abreast of evolving regulations and enlist local expertise for compliance is required. Establishing a positive rapport with regulatory authorities is the best way to be on the side of the law.
𝟓. 𝐀𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐚𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐥:
One of the biggest challenges faced by small businesses in Nigeria is limited access to traditional funding sources driven by unavailability of collateral or credit history necessary to secure loans or other types of financing. To grow and succeed, small business owners must seek alternative financing options available in Nigeria’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
𝟔. 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐒𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲:
Invest in skill development for your workforce. Personally, I favour and recommend the Igbo apprenticeship system as a framework for talent development (even in MNCs).
It is ‘affordable’ and ‘accessible’. Also, several skills are imbibed in the apprenticeship training period. These skills cuts across technical, managerial and interpersonal skills.
𝟕. 𝐂𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐍𝐮𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠:
Small businesses should embrace Nigeria’s rich cultural diversity in their marketing and brand building initiatives. They should build trust by connecting with local values and way of life.
𝟖. 𝐓𝐞𝐜𝐡 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧:
Lastly, small businesses are encouraged to adopt and leverage digital solutions to manage cost, drive efficiency gains and access new customers. Mobile technologies is opening new avenues for reaching and engaging Nigerian consumers.
Small business owners in Nigeria are encouraged to approach all challenges as a chance to innovate and thrive. With adaptability, local insights, and a resilient mindset, small businesses can not only address these obstacles but also unlock remarkable success in this vibrant market.
Author: Dolapo Otegbayi