What Makes A Successful Entrepreneur In Nigeria?

by op-ed contributor
What makes a Succesful entrepreneur in Nigeria: Insightpreneur

As we all know, becoming a successful entrepreneur in Nigeria is not easy not  encouraging. Still, despite this uneasiness, we’ve seen so many successful entrepreneurs doing great in this country. I’m glad to say that I am part of them.

First and foremost. Let’s break it down;

The word entrepreneur simply means a man or woman who does business. So basically, an Entrepreneur is a businessman or businesswoman. And being successful means being able to achieve one’s goal. Success is, therefore, relative to the goals you’ve set for yourself.

I will be revealing the #10 major secrets that will make any business person successful no matter the business you are into. I repeat, no matter the business that you are into! And the first thing is;

Secret #1: Your Mindset 

Why are you into business? Do you think it’s because doing business is easier than going to work at 8 am – 4 pm, or you think doing business is easier than career work?

You must get your mindset right. I’m sad to tell you that doing business in Nigeria is not an easy way out. If that’s the reason why you are into business. For your business to succeed, you will have to put in more time, energy and effort that you would use if you were to be in a 9-5 job.

To cut it short, what I’m telling you is that, for your you to become a successful entrepreneur in Nigeria, you must be ready to put in the necessary work. This will take us to the second thing which is very very important for you to be successful in business.

Secret #2: You Must Be A Calculated Risk Taker

As an entrepreneur in Nigeria, if you can’t take risks, you can’t make money. You can repeat this to yourself till it sinks in. Wealth belongs to those who take risks, but not just any risk, calculated risks. 

When it comes to expansion and growth in business, it comes with lots of risk and uncertainty. But if you let that stop you, then you’ve already set a limit to your growth.

I’ll share a business lesson with you from a series I just finished watching, and after that, I will be expanding on how you can take calculated risk in your business.

Lord Teresa Mendoza’s Story

This story is about Teresa Mendoza, the protagonist in the series Queen of the South. Teresa Mendoza is the main character in the movie(series) Queen of The South.

Teresa rose from being an ordinary delivery agent, for drugs (I mean cocaine), to be the head of several drug cartel leaders. How did an ordinary lady rise to be the head of several cartel leaders in a business that is dominated by men? This is what I’m about to reveal to you.

PS: I do not in any way, support or endorse the cocaine business!

But I am sharing this with you to learn the powerful strategy many other successful business people, and I are using to grow our business exponentially. The secret is: Teresa Mendoza is a calculated risk-taker.

What makes Teresa Mendoza a Calculated Risk Taker?

Lord Teresa Mendoza

Lord Teresa Mendoza The Risk Taker

When Teresa was recruited into the cartel, the intention was for her to be a prostitute attending to the needs of the men in the cartel (drug business) solely. That’s what she was recruited for, but when she got to know that, she wasn’t satisfied with it. The second option was for her to be a delivery agent. I mean cocaine pusher. Now, which will she choose?

In the cartel, the prostitutes were only given the luxury of sleeping in one dirty and tiny room with student size beds and no proper upkeep. But the second option was her running drug deliveries which is a very dangerous one.

Although being a delivery agent comes with more luxury. e.g. having a better place to sleep, a fatter salary, and a car to run your deliveries. But what about the risks? She could be nabbed by the police and sent to jail, or even worse. Killed by the rival cartels.

Teresa chose the second option, and that was the beginning of her journey to the top. I mean the top of the top. She took several risks along her way to the top. Now, how do you apply taking calculated risks in your businesses?

Because if I tell you all this, and I don’t tell you how you can directly apply it to your business, I have only helped you halfway. You are about to take a risk, and you are afraid to do it. It’s a normal thing to be afraid, but don’t let that fear stop you. Successful entrepreneurs take risks.

Secret #3: How to Take Calculated Risks As an Entrepreneur

  • Check if the risk is avoidable: Ask yourself, is there any other way to achieve your goals or aspirations without taking those risks? If no, then ask yourself again, what’s the worst-case scenario that can happen to you as a businessman in Nigeria? What’s the worst that could happen if after taking the risk and things didn’t go as planned? Now, after you know what the worst-case scenario is.
  • Weigh the worst-case scenario: Know how fatal it is, and carefully think it through if it’s something you can bear or not. If you can, go ahead and take the risk, but if you can’t, I mean, if the worst-case scenario will be too fatal for you, don’t it. This is how successful entrepreneurs operate.

Now let me give you two practical illustrations that I use in my business.

Illustration #1: Locally Source Product

I am an Entrepreneur in Nigeria. I’m into the e-commerce Business (Using Digital Marketing to sell physical products). I’m in the fashion niche and men’s watch to be specific. If I source for a watch locally and I want to test it in the market. I have to, buy the watches like two variations (gold and silver or black and brown as the case may be).

Then take nice pictures of the watches and run Facebook ads for it then check if I will get orders and how many orders I will get. If things work out well and orders start trooping in. Then I will go ahead and buy the watch in bulk and sell-off, but if things didn’t go as planned. If after running the Facebook ads, I didn’t get any orders.

The worst-case scenario is losing the money I used in buying the watch. Most likely, I will just add the watch to the watches I wear or try and sell it off using another means.

As a businessman, I’m taking a risk there, but it’s a calculated risk by first buying samples of the watch to know if it would sell. That’s a calculated risk, but if I had just thought to myself that the watch would sell. And I go ahead and buy it in bulk, without first confirming if the watch will sell, I’m still taking a risk but not a calculated one which is bad if you want to become a successful entrepreneur in Nigeria.

Illustration #2: Imported Product

Now, let me give you another similar and practical illustration. Let’s assume the watch I want to buy, it’s to be imported from Alibaba, a China website. What I will do is first to confirm the quality with my two hands because sometimes pictures can be deceiving.

I will run Facebook ads with it, and then if orders are coming in, I will go back to the supplier (whom I have already tested the quality of his watch) and order for more. That’s taking a calculated risk!

Secret #4 Uncalculated Risks

Taking an uncalculated risk will be using internet pictures to run ads for the watch. When orders start coming in, I go ahead and order the watch in bulk, but what if I discovered the watches are not of high quality when they it gets to Nigeria?

While taking no risk at all will be, saying this “All those China suppliers can’t be trusted o!“, therefore not doing anything. This cut across any business sphere you are into. You must take calculated risks.

Now look into your business and start searching for areas whereby you know you would love to see growth and improvement. List all the risks associated with it, and weigh each of it and take the necessary actions.

The next is the number one most important skill every business person must master.

Secret #5: Learn How to Sell

If whatever business you do must succeed, then learning how to sell is the most important skill you must master as a businessman. Once you master this skill, it will multiply whatever sales you are making in your business currently.

Why is this the most important skill you must master as an entrepreneur?

I will still be using the story of Teresa Mendoza as a case study but before I reveal that to you, let’s go ahead and examine how Teresa Mendoza climbed her way to the top from a former apprentice/delivery agent to the leader of her cartel organization and several other cartels. How did she do it?

After Teresa Mendoza took some dangerous risks, she was able to land herself the best cocaine in her region. This cocaine had 98% purity compared to the 80-85% purity her other competitors were selling. Despite her having the best product in the entire region, it did not automatically bring people to buy her product. She still had to use this one skill I’m about to reveal to you before people started buying her products.

Want to learn how to sell on WhatsApp? Join our community to get access to the full guide to whatsapp marketing secrets.

Secret #6: The Art of Selling

Selling is an art that must be mastered by every business person. Advertising and selling go hand in hand but let’s focus on the art of selling aspect. To be more specific, knowing how to create an irresistible offer for your business.

In the digital world, it’s called copywriting, which means writing to convince people to take the desired action.

Teresa Mendoza is a master at selling, she knew how to create an irresistible offer for her products, and that is one of the major skills that skyrocketed the growth of her business. Since she knew how to create those irresistible offers, she started advertising shamelessly.

Now let’s take it down to your business. As a businessman, if you don’t know how to sell, your business will suffer. You are not doing business; you are only playing. There are specifics to selling, there are specific principles that when applied, will help you make a guaranteed sale anytime you implement it.

Secret #7 How to Apply the Art of Selling in Your Business

How do you apply this secret of the art of selling? It is simple; create Packages For The Products Or Services you Offer! This is essential for every entrepreneur in Nigeria.

Let me give you an example. It happened this morning. A business friend of mine needed my expertise on a Digital Marketing/e-commerce issue, and I knew I could very well help him, but I didn’t want to do it for free.


So I can willingly and joyfully give him all the necessary information he needs to know. I knew if I asked him directly for the exact price I wanted there would be resistance, so I created an irresistible offer for him.

I gave him three options which I created on the spot. It’s not like, I had it written down somewhere before, I just knew the principles. So these are the three options;

  1. The Regular Package: I told him the exact things he would be getting, I listed it out for him.
  2. The Standard Package: I told him he would be getting all the things I mentioned in The Regular Package plus some extra stuff that I listed for him.
  3. The Platinum package: I told him he would be getting all the things I mentioned in the Standard Package (which already included Regular Package) plus some extra stuff which I also listed one by one. And I gave him the price for each.

Now, what’s the effect of creating those three packages for him? I did that because I wanted to shift his attention from, “should I pay for this or not?” or  “can I afford this or not?” to “which one should I buy among the three?”

Secret #8: Direct their Focus

His focus is now on comparing the three packages to each other and deciding which one to go for, but if I had given him only one offer. His focus would be on if he should pay for it or not. To cut the story short, he went for the Platinum package.

Secret #9: Create Urgency

After getting him to make a decision on one of the packages, which he chose the Platinum Package. What did I do next? I injected another marketing strategy called urgency to make him pay immediately.

All Big brands like MTN, Indomie, Milo, and others use this offer strategy. That’s why MTN has data ranging from 1GB to Unlimited. Same reason why Indomie has 50naira Indomie and ranges to hungry man-size. That’s why Milo has sachet types ranging to the tintype of various sizes. You must know this to become a successful entrepreneur in Nigeria.

Note: There are many more principles in the art of selling.

Secret #10: Advertise Shamelessly

Doing business without advertising is like winking at a lady in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does. As an entrepreneur in Nigeria, once you’ve mastered the art of selling. The next thing is to advertise shamelessly.

The 7 Commandments Of Advertising

  1. You must Arrest Attention
  2. Ensure you create an Offer
  3. Make a call to action
  4. Create a sense of urgency
  5. You must track or test
  6. You must establish credibility
  7. Take away the risk from your customers

Ensure your advertisement arrests people’s attention, from headlines to graphics, text or anything.

Create different offers for your business. Give them options and ensure you get the money from them. Include a sense of urgency, for your offer to be irresistible, it must not always be available. Moreover, humans love to procrastinate.

You must track and test, always track your results to know if there’s any subtraction or addition. Finally, the last, establish credibility. Let the people love you and trust you. People find it easy to buy from those who they love and trust.

Take notes from these tips carefully, and watch your business grow as you become a successful entrepreneur in Nigeria.

Questions And Answers From The Session


You said that we should ensure that our offers are not always available, but what happens if someone didn’t take action during the time phase we gave him/her, but later comes back? Should we give the discounted price, or we should ask them to pay the original price?


Yes, never let your offer price be always available, most especially when the offer is for people that have a relationship with you. People who know you. Now, this is what you should do if they don’t take immediate action but come back later.

Let’s say you gave them this price before;

Regular price: 20,000. Promo price: 15,000. With a deadline at 2 pm, but the person came back the next day wanting to pay for it. Just let them know the promo has ended. However, because you are being considerate, you will not be charging them the 20,000 NGN which is what they ought to pay. But you’ll only be charging them 17,000 if they’re making the payment immediately.

But if you were to be advertising online to thousands of people, you might not worry about that.

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Editor Note:

This article is a transcript of a lecture delivered by Mr. Timothy Moyofola on the topic “What makes a successful entrepreneur in Nigeria”, at the Insightpreneur 2020 Digital Conference held on Telegram. You can click here to join the group and digest other enlightening knowledge delivered by other guest speakers at the program.

About Mr. Timothy Moyofola

Timothy Moyofola is an Entrepreneur, a Digital Marketing, and a Sales Expert. He’s also a business coach who helps people increase their sales or revenue through his practical teachings. He has helped many Nigerian youths start up new businesses and grow their existing businesses. He’s the founder and CEO of Timmie-Kettle’s Enterprise. A company that deals majorly in Telecommunication and E-commerce Business

About Author

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Op-Ed are articles published by guest authors. We no longer accept guest posts. However, we are still open to adding long-term content contributors to our team of insightful writers. To write for us, please check out inisght.ng/guest-post.

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