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17 Proven Strategies for Growing a Small Business in Nigeria

17 Proven Strategies for Growing a Small Business in Nigeria

Given the unfavourable economic situation in Nigeria, growing a small business is more difficult than ever. Successive governments are not making the economy ideal for business growth as well, so small businesses struggle to survive. Noting that less than 30% of new businesses grow through infancy to maturity, Nigerians have a lot to learn about growing small businesses in a multicultural nation of more than 230 million people.

This detailed guide covers 17 proven strategies for growing your small business in a challenging climate like Nigeria. With these outstanding strategies, you can accelerate your business growth to the point of making it a household name. These growth hacks do not guarantee overnight success, but they will set you on the path to gradually scale your small business to the point of profitability.

17 Proven Strategies for Growing a Small Business in Nigeria

17 Proven Strategies For Growing a Small Business in Nigeria

The growth tips outlined in this guide require persistence, hard work, creativity, and due process to yield results. They have been proven to work over a sustained period of time. They work regardless of the time, place, country, industry, and products or services involved. These 17 proven strategies for scaling your business in Nigeria would work for you if you diligently apply them to your startups.

1. Create a Realistic Business Plan

To succeed with your small business in Nigeria, you need a grand document to guide you. Your business plan is not only for you, it is also for potential investors and commercial lenders as well as future partners. So long before launch, create a realistic business plan that covers the type of business, target customers, financial outlay, estimated employees, projected profits, and market dynamics among others.

2. Employ Qualified People For Your Business

Hiring the wrong people is the surest way to kill a small business. In fact, most business owners in Nigeria complain of thieving staff, incompetent employees, and uncooperative hands. Many problematic employees are not only self-serving, they lack the vision of their employers. This issue may have stemmed from a faulty hiring process, and from a non-functional work culture.

To grow your business, you must hire the right people with the right attitude and visions. Do not forget that your employees must be well-paid in line with their experience and years of service, and they must undergo constant training for their roles and growth path. Having a round peg in a round hole ensures the progress of your business and the happiness of your staff.

3. Know Your Customers to Meet Their Needs

You are in business to meet the basic needs of your customers. Put in another way, your target customers put you in business. So before launching your business or developing products and services, you must fully know your customers. Knowing your customers entails knowing their demographics, their basic needs, their preferences, and changing tastes. Based on your customer research, you can create products, design product features, and develop an effective marketing strategy that works.

You must understand that knowing your customers also requires knowing your competitors. You must know the features and Unique Selling Point (USPs) that attract your target audience to your competitors’ products. To fully understand your customers’ needs, you must know how the economy affects your customers’ choices and how future trends determine consumer tastes.

SEE ALSO: 11 Top Sources of Funding For Your Business in Nigeria

4. Eliminate Business Risks

All businesses face constant threats that can undermine the success or viability of the enterprise. Your small business faces external risks from customers, suppliers, lenders, competitors, market forces, current government policies, and global events. It also faces internal risks from unfaithful employees, equipment breakdown, poor sales, and other business risks.

While it is not possible to eliminate all business threats, you can control them to reduce their risks. As an entrepreneur, bearing and managing risks is part of your job as a business owner, and this is what distinguishes you from a salaried employee. Effectively managing your risks will guarantee fewer disruptions to your business operations.

5. Adapt to Market Conditions

If you must survive as an individual or business brand in Nigeria, you must be highly adaptable to market conditions. Nigerians as a people adapt expertly to political and economic situations, and having survived a civil war, the country of more than 230 million people remains united due to its resilience. The same is true of Nigerian businesses and business owners.

Given the unstable economic climate in the country, Nigerian businesses must constantly adapt to political changes, electricity challenges, currency fluctuations, and other national issues. As part of adapting to market situations, your startup should be able to change directions quickly in terms of scaling down, expansion, price changes, product redesigns, and market penetration among others.

6. Build Customer Loyalty

One major strategy for staying in business is customer acquisition. As a business owner in Nigeria, you must constantly attract customers to your business using various marketing schemes. The best way to attract loyal customers is to give them products and services that they want, at the price they want, and in the manner and place they want it.

You must not only be good at attracting customers, you must be exceptional at keeping or retaining customers. Customers who are loyal to your brand keep you in business, and you must do everything within your capacity to keep them happy. To attract or keep customers, you may use advertising, customer loyalty programme, or product bonuses to boost sales.

7. Leverage Social Media

This is a social media era. The internet goes a long way in promoting businesses and boosting sales, but social media goes even further to build credibility and facilitate topical discussions. As a small business in Nigeria, your customers will like to interact with the faces behind the brand and provide instant feedback on company activities.

The biggest social media platforms that you can use to promote your products are Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Reddit among others. You can create groups to grow a community of loyal customers on social media. The followers or subscribers you have in these communities will engage with you and stick to your brand.

8. Keep on Improving Your Products and Services

In Nigeria, money is hard to come by, so people want value for their money. It is not enough to have a satisfying product that Nigerians have been buying for years; they want you to innovate on product design, additional features, and extra satisfaction. Customers want you to add new benefits to existing products to give them value for money, and this is the only thing that can make them look away from your competitors.

9. Invest in Emerging Technologies

To remain relevant in your market, your small business must keep on evolving with the times. To demonstrate adaptations, you must automate your business by investing in emerging technologies. Investing in systems will make things easier for employees and enable your customers to patronize you much more easily.

Installing new software, investing in new equipment, upgrading the work culture, reaching customers where they are, and making it easier for customers to reach management are areas to invest in. These technologies should cover inventory management, product shipping, marketing automation, payroll management, customer relationship management, and even human resources among others.

10. Give Back to Your Community

Giving back to your community is called corporate social responsibility. It involves being of significant help to the community in which your business is hosted. It means helping the community to solve a particular problem or assisting in their endeavours to solve certain problems. Helping your community proves that you appreciate their patronage.

As a small business, you must give back to your community based on what you have earmarked and capable of giving without crippling your business. As part of your corporate social responsibility activities – you may give scholarships to community members, donate to cancer research, provide shelter for the homeless, and give free products to the poor in your area.

11. Attend and Host Local Events

To keep your brand in the mind of your target audience, you can attend or host local events that are of importance in your community. You can get involved in cultural activities, environmental programmes, religious sponsorships, and other community events that align with the visions and missions of your business organization.

When you organize or take part in local events, be sure to display your business banners, posters, boards, and promotional items at the events. Ensure that the MC or guest speakers put in a word for your business, and get your employees to wear promotional T-shirts that further your marketing objectives.

12. Be a Step Ahead of Your Business Rivals

To survive in a competitive business world, you have to stay on your toes. In Nigeria – and elsewhere around the world – this involves staying ahead of the competition. As a small business owner, you must take your competition seriously as much as you take your customers seriously. You can research your competition to know how they are performing with a view to beating them at their own game.

While your business rivals are ever mindful of every step you take, you must equally be aware of what your competitors are planning. You can research their marketing strategies, analyze their product features, and comprehend the extent of their market saturation. In the worst situation, you can position your product as an alternative if you are not able to upstage the competition; think of Pepsi and Coca-Cola, McClean and Close-Up, and DSTV and StarTimes.

13. Form Strategic Partnerships

It is rare for small businesses in Nigeria to merge with another or acquire another business. But if you have the capacity and come across a weak rival, you can acquire that rival business to inherit its existing customers. Forming strategic partnerships or initiative takeovers is helpful in expanding the influence of a business.

14. Identify New Income and Product Opportunities

Scaling a new business in Nigeria is very challenging, and it may take several years before a small business becomes viable. Viability is one thing, success is another thing. So to achieve viability and success, a small business may consider diversification. Diversifying into new markets will ensure new income and product opportunities.

When you identify a new income and product opportunity, it will guarantee newer streams of income for your business. For consistency and expertise, it is best to diversify into newer businesses within your existing industry. For instance, if you are a book publisher, you can diversify into suppliers of book and printing materials for other players in the industry.

SEE ALSO: 21 Entrepreneurial Lessons from the Life of Aliko Dangote

15. Advertise Your Business Effectively

You cannot do without advertising your business for improved sales. Given that there are more than 250 ethnic tribes comprising the 230 million Nigerian population, you need a strategic advertising campaign to reach most of your target audience. Ads cost money and must be sustained for a significant period of time – but when properly done, it is very rewarding.

If you do not have a large budget for adverts in the traditional media – TV, radio, and newspapers – you can opt to promote your business on social media. Advertising on social media is not necessary if you have a large community of followers, and it can be as effective as traditional media. For better results, you may use a social media manager to help you out.

16. Invest in a Helpful Work Culture

Investing in a conducive work environment and instituting a progressive work culture will work in your company’s favour. When your employees work in an atmosphere of respect, appreciation, growth, and promotion, it will boost their morale and enable them to give their best. It will help them to work with the company’s external publics to achieve the business goals and objectives without any hassles.

17. Adhere to Government Regulations

When you operate a small business in any parts of Nigeria, you must adhere to local customs and government regulations. Violating regulatory tenets or local customs will offend your customers, and it will impact your business negatively. Your business must not be involved in any community scandals and it must operate within the confines of the law and of your host community.