How to become an entrepreneur in Nigeria  

Becoming an entrepreneur can be a big and life changing decision. Most especially if you are used to getting paid every month. As an entrepreneur, you have to become the one making the money and paying people who work with you. But becoming an entrepreneur does not have to be difficult. In this guide, you will learn how to become an entrepreneur in Nigeria.

Entrepreneurs are the backbone of any country. They constitute the highest employers of labour of any country. In Nigeria, entrepreneurs employ more people than the government. They keep the economy alive and going.

If you decide to become an entrepreneur, you will be playing a big role in shaping the Nigerian and global economy.

Who is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is a person who starts a business, putting in finance and commitment with the aim to make profit. Usually, an entrepreneur starts by launching a small business and building it up. An Entrepreneur can be involved in many businesses.

So the whole idea of being an entrepreneur is to be self sufficient by running your own business. If you are already running your own business, you are an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs are very important. They are the oxygen of the economy. Almost every business and private company in Nigeria is started by entrepreneurs. From the small shop or business centre on the streets to the big companies we all know, entrepreneurs are behind it all.

Globacom, Dangote Cement, Zenith Bank, Channels TV, Interswitch, Mavin records, Facebook, Instagram, even the phone and computer you use were all started by entrepreneurs! Like them, you too can become a successful entrepreneur and make big impact.

Why should you become an entrepreneur?

There are many reasons why you should consider becoming an entrepreneur:

  1. Unemployment: One of the biggest reasons to become an entrepreneur in Nigeria is unemployment. The unemployment rate is high. There are so many qualified Nigerians without job. Even the jobs that come along offer small payment. Why sit at home doing nothing when you can become an entrepreneur?
  2. To be your own boss: If you do not like the idea of waking up 5 am to prepare for work and return 9 pm. The best option might just be to become an entrepreneur! You get to be your own boss and take your destiny into your hands.
  3. To become successful and rich: While you can become successful and rich working for big companies, your progress is limited and determined by the people. They decide when to promote and increase your pay no matter how hard you work. But as an entrepreneur, you are in control. The money you make is mostly yours. The richest people in the world are not employees but entrepreneurs. From Jeff Bezos to Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola and others, they are all entrepreneurs
  4. To change the world: As an entrepreneur you make impact in the world. What entrepreneurs do is solve problem and create jobs. If you will love to impact the world and also create jobs, entrepreneurship can be a tool.
  5. To build your dreams: You may have dreams and ideas that you have always wanted to pursue. Maybe no one else can see it as you do. The best way might just be to take a chance and build it!

If you need a little inspiration, you can have a look at the most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

How to become an entrepreneur in Nigeria

Follow these steps to become a successful entrepreneur in Nigeria:

1. Make up your mind

The first thing you need to do is make up your mind if you really want to become an entrepreneur.  Becoming an entrepreneur is a big step. For example if you have a regular job, are you going to quit? Or will you be working and running your business as a side hustle until you can quit and focus on it. If you actually ponder how to become an entrepreneur in Nigeria that means your mind is already pushing you.

Entrepreneurship no matter how well planned has an element of risk. You are taking a chance. Go through everything that could go right and wrong and determine if you are really ready to become an entrepreneur.

2. Pick the right business

The next step is to decide what business you want to do. Entrepreneurship is large! There are so many businesses you can do. Don’t just rush through, think and meditate through it.

Entrepreneurship can be time consuming at the begging and slow to pick up, so it is important that you go into a business that you have passion for or at least care about. Getting bored is not a good sign. Most times, what drive entrepreneurs at the early time is passion and hope.

The business should be something you are good at and you know you will be successful.

Consider these points:

Solve a problem

The number one goal of starting a business or becoming an entrepreneur should be to solve a problem. When business is about problem solving problems then everything makes sense.  For example, maybe people in your community travel far to buy Jeans. You can decide to save them the stress by selling jeans in your community. That way you have solve a problem.

Consider what you are good at

What is it you love doing? Do you love music? You can become a music entrepreneur. What do people complement you about? Your food is amazing? You can start a food business.

You can checkout the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria and look at other business ideas for inspiration.

3. Research the business

Once you have decided on a business to start, research that business. It is very important to get familiar with the business you want to start. Ask yourself questions and find answers. Where is the best place to start that sort of business? For example if you want to start a boutique, are there other boutiques in your areas? Are they succeeding and making sells? The people in your area do they prefer new clothes or okrika clothes? Ask yourself the right questions.

4. Get education or mentoring

At this point you have to decide if you will need education or mentoring before you start. Just to be clear, you do not need to have a degree to be an entrepreneur. Don Jazzy runs one of the biggest Music label in Africa and he is not a graduate. Orji Uzor Kalu owns one of biggest conglomerate in Nigeria and he is reportedly a drop out. But do not also forget that Tony Elumelu has masters, so does Jim Ovia. It all depends on what you want to do.

If you want to open up a law firm, you need to be a lawyer. That means you might need an education. But if you want to be a software developer or programmer like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, you may not need a university degree but you need to learn how to code. Learn it. Which you can learn online from the comfort of your home.

In some cases you might need mentoring. For example if you want to go into importation, you may need to be close to someone who is into that already to learn and master the process involved.

5 . Register the business

At this point, you are getting closer to starting your business. Now is the time to get it registered! You have to decide if you want a sole proprietorship or limited liability company. You can always start with Sole proprietorship and upgrade to limited liability. But if you want to have a full business with all the benefits of running a business, register a limited liability company. At this point, register your business. The CAC is responsible for business registration in Nigeria.

6. Plan the business

At this point you have to plan your business. A popular saying goes “failing to plan is planning to fail. The person who fails to plan, plans to fail.” That can be true when starting a business. A lot of people ignore this but it is not right.

You should sit and plan your business then stick by it. Write down a business plan. I know it might sound stressful but a plan does not need to be too long. It can be just a page or so!

Your plan should lay down your business objectives and strategies. And more. Remember that, if you decide to look for investors later, a business plan will help investors understand your business. If you do not know how to write a plan, you can follow this guide: How to write a business plan. Or simply get a a paper, write down your business objectives, your strategies, how you are going to attract customers, how you will market and more.

7. Identify your target audience

It is very important to know who your customers are. Let’s be sincere, not everyone is going to buy your product or patronize your services. Yes, your close friends and family will patronize you but apart from them, who else will?

Don’t just fantasize in your head that everyone is going to buy your product, I wish it works that way but unfortunately not. Who are the best group of people that will likely buy from you? Is it young people? Students? Working class people? Family people? Mothers or fathers?  These are things you should research and know. This will help you locate your business in the right place close to your target audience.

No matter how amazing your business is, if it is far away from your target audience, you may not make the best out of it as you should.

8. Get your finance sorted

To start a business you need money. And chances are that you will be the only person funding your business at least at the initial stage. So it is important that you track your income and determine how much you are going to put in the business.

Financial discipline is very important. So get all your finances sorted. Stick to plan.

If you feel you will need additional support, you can try crowdfunding, angel investors or look into getting loans.

9. Network

Networking is very important for entrepreneurs who want to succeed. By networking you open up potential of meeting investors, clients and opportunities for growth.

Attend events related to your business. Use social media. Workshop or business seminars that relates to your business. Any place at all that you can find networking opportunities, walk into. Remember when you meet people, be nice, be generous, introduce yourself. BE NICE and POLITE.

This way you can build a network of supporters, partners, vendors, customers and more that you can leverage on to grow. Remember to keep records and follow up.

10. Build your business gradually and grow

Start building your business gradually. Do not expect that everything will immediately work out fine and within two months you are the next big thing in town. Growth is gradual. Win new customers, retain the old ones you have. Keep growing. Enjoy the process!

11. Market

Marketing is the lifeline of your business. Marketing is what will make people aware of your business and bring people to your business. According to your budget, market your business. You should be marketing your business always. Word of the mouth. Posters. Make use of social media. Build a website. Blog about it.

As you have bigger budget, explore bigger beneficial marketing opportunities.

Can anyone become an entrepreneur?

Yes! Anyone can become an entrepreneur! All you need is the willingness and know how. This article explains how to become an entrepreneur in Nigeria, anyone can follow the steps.

Can I become rich as an entrepreneur?

Yes. The richest people in Nigeria are entrepreneurs. If you too learn how to become an entrepreneur in Nigeria, you can become rich.

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Mfon Abel Ekene

Mfon Abel Ekene

Internet scientist and blog expert. Loves writing, researching and helping people reach their dreams. Speaker and authour.
Follow me on Twitter @mfonabel

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