10 Essential Steps to Start a Small Business in Nigeria

by Sulaiman Halima
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start a small business

The decision to start a small business in Nigeria can be influenced by varying circumstances, regardless of the state of the economy in our country.
Whether you’re a student trying to make ends meet, a job seeker inopportune to secure formal employment, or you are keen on becoming a boss of your own or an entrepreneurial-driven individual; the goal is to attain financial independence and be of benefit to the country’s economy.

These can only be achieved by improving your chances of making your small business a success.  To achieve this, I have set out some tips to start a small business in Nigeria. 

What is a Small Business?

A small business is any independently owned business that requires a low capital with few or no employees, it is usually run by an individual or a small number of people. To start a small business in Nigeria, you don’t have to break the bank. You may encounter certain challenges when you decide to start your small business, but this can be less likely when you have the right mindset and approach.

Are you planning to start a small business but need help figuring out where to start? Then I’ve got you! 

10 essential Tips to Start a Small Business in Nigeria

  1. Consider your passion and interest

To start a small business in Nigeria, the first thing you need to take note of is your zeal. Try to figure out your passion and interests by pondering on what excites you. Consider how you can utilize that which gives you excitement into a great business concept that is sustainable and has profit. Simply put, monetize what you love. 

  1. Define your business idea

Creating a business plan from the start of your small business makes it a lot easier. Make an in-depth business plan that sums up your intents and how you plan to achieve them. Make detailed findings on the kind of business you want to start or the service you want to start rendering.

Though I mentioned in the first point that you should monetize what you have an interest in, but there are other important factors that you need to put into consideration.  You can monetize what you are passionate about, only if it’s profitable and you are good at it.

Also, you should figure out the demands and choices of the people around you as this will give you some clues on the kind of small business you can venture in. For example, if you’re a student, when thinking of starting small, you need to go for something that you think your fellow students will need or want. 

Read also: All You Need to Know About Venture Capital as a Nigerian Entrepreneur

  1. Secure funding

It can be quite expensive to start a small business in Nigeria, especially with the hike in the price of everything. So before going deep, it is important to explicitly understand the financial obligations involved. Estimating the expenses and making a detailed budget is a good way to start as you are going to have a real insight into the amount that is required to start your small business. 

If you have the means to fund the small business then it’s fine. It is still fine if you don’t have the capital, as there are several loan options you can take if you cannot raise. It is very okay to overestimate the amount of capital you need to start your small business as you might not begin earning a sustainable profit immediately.

Also, don’t expend money excessively or unnecessarily. Avoid spending capital on whim stuff that won’t help your small business achieve its goals or meet targets. Spend as wisely as you can and only on the things that are important for your business to thrive. You can always go for the luxury when you gain your ground, remember! 

  1. Choose the location of your business

The location of a small business plays an important role in the success of the business.  To start a small business in Nigeria, opt for an area that is easily accessible by your target customers as it can affect the business in many ways. The choices you make as regards the location of your business could affect it positively or negatively. 

The demographic of a business location can adversely limit the demand for the product, for example; a fast food business is liable to make more sales in busy areas compared to residential areas. It is important to go for a location that is easily accessible for customers, suppliers, and possibly your workers. 

  1. Sign up your business by acquiring the essential approvals and permits

In Nigeria, small businesses need to acquire a variety of permits and licenses, based on their location and the type of business they are into. Licenses and permits are important to make sure you operate legally and avoid possible penalties and disruptions in the future.

Also, they stand as confirmation that a particular business has met the requirements necessary to become a business owner in Nigeria. Though it can be quite expensive and challenging to obtain licenses for your small business, it is important to do them to retract the closure of your business, avoid payment of fines and other punishments by the government. 

  1. Employ the right workers

Another tip on how to start a small business in Nigeria is to employ the right workers as they can have a great influence on the success of a small business. Hiring employees often come with certain commitments like the constant payment of their salaries, and compliance with certain rules that guide the hiring of labourers.

Employing qualified workers enhances customer service, increases business productivity, and allows small businesses to expand. Therefore, small businesses need to employ workers who have skills that are in line with the business and are dedicated to promoting the success of the business.

For example, as a small business owner who is into a fast food business, you should hire someone who is hardworking and has the skills related to cooking. 

Join our WhatsApp community to connect with people of like minds and similar interests with you. 

  1. Your service or product should be quality

To build your customer’s trust, you need to deliver high-quality products or services as this will contribute to their satisfaction. As a small business owner willing to thrive and expand, focusing on quality should be your priority.

Apart from the fact that your reputation is at stake, delivering quality products or services will give you a heads-up against your competitors. Whenever your clients receive the exact thing they desire or even more, it is most likely for them to stick with your brand and constantly patronize. some may even share their good reviews which can greatly attract new customers.

So to start a small business whatsoever, whether a tangible or a non-tangible product, you should focus on providing quality not only because you want to satisfy your customers but because it is going to save you a lot of worries from customer complaints. So do justice by producing quality. 

  1. Be a friendly person 

Networking has been the most effective and cheapest way you can advertise yourself. Create a personal rapport with your customers as this can help you go a long way. As a small business owner, if you can build a healthy relationship with your customers then you are more likely to succeed.

Being approachable and observant of your customer’s needs is a valuable trait you must possess as a small business owner in Nigeria. Also, all matters and complaints regarding your customers should be handled promptly as this approach can potentially turn a bad moment into a good experience. So take note of this tip. 

Read also: 10 Unbelievable Techniques to Get to Know Your Customers Better

  1. Say no to credit

As a small business owner, selling on credit can mar your business. Selling or rendering your service to customers who make purchases without immediate funds can pose a great threat to the financial status of the business.

On the good hand, selling on credit can entice your business to more customers and good sales but the down sides are more. When you sell to your customers whether late or non-payable, it will be quite difficult to restock and reinforce when there is nothing left in your shop. Therefore, it is equivalent to regression; your business is not going to move forward so you should avoid it. 

  1. Be consistent

Being consistent and reliable as regards the quality of service or product one can offer in a business is quite important. As a small business owner, you must build a positive reputation for your business by constantly offering your customers the same level of quality, services, and experience over time. Apart from the fact that consistency enables you to build trust and reliability with your customers,  it also helps you to stand out among your competitors. 

Read also: 5 Tips to Stay Consistent With Your Goals.


There you go with the tips on how to start a small business in Nigeria. A small business does not necessarily have to be selling goods, it can as well be in the form of a service.
Whatever idea of a small business you want to opt for, it is important to follow the above tips for a successful operation. So feel free to start your dream business, open your shop, follow the tips that I’ve mentioned, and the sky will be your starting point. Good luck! 

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Edited by Oluwanifemi Akintomide.

About Author

Sulaiman Halima
Sulaiman Halima
Sulaiman Halima is a microbiology graduate and a tech enthusiast. She is a UIUX designer and a writer who is passionate about creating engaging content.

Writing is not just a hobby for her, she learns more through writing and has found it to be a great way to express her thoughts and share her feelings with others.

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