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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.


15 Reasons You Must Quit Your Day Job for a Personal Business

15 Reasons You Must Quit Your Day Job for a Personal Business

There are times when it makes perfect sense to quit your day job for a personal business. Although quitting your day job requires careful consideration, it might become very necessary under the circumstances outlined in this guide. This content covers 15 reasons why quitting your 8-5 job might be the best thing to happen to you.

All things considered, quitting your salaried employment has positive and negative sides; meaning there are good and bad reasons for quitting your job. This is the more reason you must consider your position and options critically before turning in your resignation letter. You must also consider the best way to resign from your job without offending anyone, and how to get support while transiting to another job – this time, your own job.

Quitting a job where you are well-paid and climbing the executive ladder is not easy, but retaining your job is not all about salary and allowances. In fact, most people fear quitting their jobs because of financial considerations; they fear being without any income and leaving their family hanging. But this guide goes beyond salary as the reason for quitting; it considers other factors as they tie into the prospect of a personal business.

15 Reasons You Must Quit Your Day Job for a Personal Business

Major Reasons To Quit Your Job In Favour Of A Personal Business


1. You Want To Be Your Own Boss

If you do not feel fulfilled with your current employment, you might consider leaving. This is more important if you feel you can achieve your life purpose as an employer of labour rather. Many people aspiring for public offices in government are already wealthy, but they think they can make the greatest impacts as politicians, so they vie for public office. So if you want to call the shots in all you do, then it is best to exit your current job and set up your own company.

2. You Have Major Life Changes

If you recently experienced major life changes, then it may be best to consider career changes as well. You may have to leave your current employment if it cannot accommodate newer changes in your life. If you have a newborn baby added to the family, working 8-5 may become a big challenge. If you are relocating to another city or state, keeping your job may become impossible. So the best thing to keep you going may be your own personal business.

3. You Fear Your Current Employment May Collapse

If you have reasons to believe that you may be fired from your current job, then you may as well take the cue and bow out. If it is obvious to you and other employees that your place of employment may soon collapse or be liquidated, then you may have no choice but to leave sooner. With all indications that your job could leave you at any time, you must harness your skills to launch your own business.

4. You Want to Acquire More Education

If you feel an overwhelming need to further your education in order to advance your career, then it might be enough reason to resign from your current job. If it is not possible to combine your job and new education, it is high time you considered starting your own personal business. A private enterprise will give you more freedom to acquire more education while earning an income on your own terms.

5. You or a Family Member Suffers From an Illness

If you suddenly become the major caretaker for a terminally ill family member, or you become seriously ill and unable to hold down an official job, you may need to establish your own business. Ill-health in yourself or a loved one forces you to reevaluate your employment status and to often settle for a private job that enables you to earn money while taking care of your health.

Recommended: 17 Ways to Plug Financial Leakages & Save Money in Your Business

6. You Do Not Feel Connected With Your Current Job

If you always feel lost in your workplace or out of place working alongside others in an establishment, then it may be an indication that you are not connecting with your job. In fact, millions of people report they are not fully connected or mentally engaged with their jobs, and this is a sign that they are not doing a job they really love. If this describes you, you must quit that day job for the job you love – and nothing stops you from setting up the job you want yourself.

7. You Work In a Toxic Work Environment

Millions of people around the world work in a toxic work environment. The prevailing work culture may not align with their personal values and goals, or their colleagues and superiors may be difficult to work with. Two things make a workplace toxic: a terrible work culture and terrible job colleagues/bosses. If a workplace affects your physical or mental health, then you must leave if you are not in a position to effect the desired changes.

8. You Want to Create Socio-Economic Impacts In Your Community

You may feel the strong need to quit your day job if you are not making any significant impacts in your community. It is doubtful that a salaried worker can make considerable socio-economic impacts where they reside. If this is a major concern to you, you may consider exiting your current job to set up a private business that will enable you to give back to your community.

9. You Are Determined to Work In a New Industry

If you must change careers or work in a new industry, it might be necessary to resign from your current employment to set up your own business. Leaving your banking job makes perfect sense if you want to venture into the IT industry, and resigning your insurance job is admirable if you think you can achieve more in the music industry. If you must explore personal business avenues different from your current employment, then you won’t have a choice but to quit your day job.

10. You Want to Multi-task For Fulfillment

You work as a cashier in a bank – but you are a naturally gifted singer and actor. Although the banking job pays very well, you do not feel fulfilled because music and acting beckon hard. Since you can hardly combine another job with banking, you choose to leave so you can multi-task with music and acting. Music and acting are like personal businesses that give you a sense of purpose and freedom, more than what banking can do for you.

11. You Want a Greater Work-life Balance

Work-life balance is most possible with a job of your own. Many people suffer burnout because they expend all their energies and time into their jobs, hardly having time for family or vacations. So if you feel you are having burnout and need greater work-life balance, you might reassess your options and launch your own business. With your own job, you enjoy better physical and mental health than you do in paid employment.

12. You Find it Hard to Take Feedback

If you are always at odds with your employer or superiors due to your inability to accept feedback, then you must start your own business. Some people are not toxic or rude, but their nature does not just accept correction or criticism. So if you find it hard getting along with your boss because of his constant criticisms or reviews, you might do better with your own job where you are your own boss.

13. You Want to Earn Money While Travelling

If you are a globe-trotter at heart with an overwhelming urge to take the next ship sailing out, then it is better you resign from your day job. Today, thousands of people earn a living by travelling from one city and country to another. These people travel the world with a videographer and they share their experiences in all the countries they travel to. You may choose to work as a freelancer reviewing hotels, attractive sites, and city life for magazines and travel websites.

15. You Can Earn More Without Paid Employment

If you are double sure that you are underpaid, and have an overwhelming assurance that you can earn more on your own, then you may consider leaving your current employment. Although remuneration should not necessarily be the reason you leave your job, it may become an issue if it affects your family situation. And you must of course exit your salaried employment if you think you can earn more as a freelancer or business owner.

Recommended: How to Get People to Invest In Your Nigerian Company

16. You Bring in All the Businesses

If you leverage your industry connections and personal skills to bring in all the business for your employer, you may as well consider setting up your own company. It is possible for a single individual to bring in 90% of the sales a business enjoys, and it is possible for a single marketing executive to facilitate 85% of a company’s sales figures. If this is you, you may choose to exit and set up a similar business where you are the CEO.

What to Do Before You Quit Your Job For A Personal Business


Before submitting your resignation letter and launching your private business, you must ensure certain things are readily in place. Below are some of them:

  • Get all the training and resources before you leave

Before you resign from your current employment, ensure to acquire all the helpful training and personal resources that will help you in your subsequent jobs. Official trainings are designed to equip and sharpen your productivity, and they would be helpful when you launch your personal business.

  • Fund your startup with remuneration from your day job

This is as clear as daylight. Launching a new business after leaving your paid employment is much harder if you never anticipated it during your employment. So it is advisable that you envision your departure from your current employment two years before you exit, and use your remuneration to fund the takeoff and operation of the side business.

  • Set up an operations fund

Going back to the advice that you must start your exit plan two or more years before you resign from your current employment, you must have an operations fund for your startup set up long before you leave. For context, you must have enough funds to cover at least nine months of business operations for your startup before you think of resigning from your current job.

  • Run your startup before you resign

Launch and run your startup for as long as possible before you leave your current employment. Before doing this, ensure that you are not violating any employment agreement; since some contracts stipulate that you cannot run a side-hustle during your employment. If this is not the case, ensure that your startup is functional for several months with profitable turnover before you exit. The emergency fund you keep aside will keep you from financial worries when your startup launches.

  • Talk to a lawyer before exiting

It is important to discuss with a competent lawyer before resigning from your current job. A lawyer will negotiate exit plans and even severance pay from your employer before you finally leave. If you are quitting your job before your contract expires, a lawyer will help to navigate the muddy waters in case your employer wants to throw the law books at you. A lawyer will ensure you leave under amicable terms, secure severance payment where possible, and cover you if litigation ever results.

  • Do not slam the door when you leave

When you finally leave your current job to run your private business, ensure you leave amicably. Do not slam the door behind you since you may still need colleagues and even bosses after you leave. You may need reference letters, industry contacts, or even need to refer others to work in the same company. So ensure you follow all disengagement procedures before leaving and leave the door open in case you or any loved ones would want to work at the company again.


After you quit your job and launch your personal business, ensure you dedicate all your time and efforts to growing your new business. Hire competent hands to scale the business and ensure you adhere to all government regulations for your type of business. You are now your own boss, so go ahead and do what you know how to do best.