small scale business ideas in Nigeria
Ever thought about starting your own business but don’t know where to begin?Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. As a Nigerian, allow me to say you’re lucky because this country is filled with opportunities for small scale businesses.
Whether you’re looking to start a side hustle or build a thriving enterprise, there are countless options to choose from.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most promising small scale businesses in Nigeria that you can start right away.
From agriculture and retail to services and manufacturing, you’ll find an idea that matches your interests and budget.
Starting a business is challenging, but also exciting and rewarding.
With hard work and perseverance, you can build something great.
So what are you waiting for?
Keep reading to discover some inspiring business ideas that you can turn into your own success story. The future is yours to shape.
1. Retail Business
So you want to start a small scale business in Nigeria but not sure what type?
Retail is always a solid option.
As a retailer, you buy goods from manufacturers or wholesalers and sell them directly to customers. It’s a proven model that can be very lucrative.
A retail business is easy to set up and run. You don’t need any special qualifications or training to get started.
All you need is a storefront, inventory, and a passion for customer service. Some types of retail stores that do well in Nigeria include:
- Clothing boutiques: There is high demand for stylish and affordable clothing. You can source trendy fashions from local designers or import from China and Turkey.
- Beauty supply stores: Cosmetics, hair products, and skincare are always in demand. Stock popular brands along with lower-cost alternatives. Offer samples and testers to help customers discover new favorites.
- Phone and accessories shops: Mobile phones have become essential, so shops selling affordable smartphones, cases, chargers, and other gear tend to do well. Make sure to keep up with the latest models and tech.
- Grocery stores: If you have enough space, a neighborhood grocery store can be very successful. Focus on staples, snacks, and perishables. Pay attention to what people request and keep shelves well-stocked. Provide good customer service and fair prices.
The key to any retail business is understanding your target market and keeping a fresh, affordable selection of goods that meet their needs.
Give great service, build a loyal customer base, and your small retail shop can turn into a thriving, long-term business. With hard work and the right product-market fit, the possibilities are endless.
2. Food Processing
If you have a knack for cooking or baking, consider starting a small food processing business.
Nigeria’s growing population means the demand for packaged and processed food is on the rise.
- Focus on traditional Nigerian snacks, spices, or ingredients. Things like plantain chips, kilishi, suya spice blends, or ground egusi seeds. People love products that remind them of home.
- Keep it simple to start. Pick one or two products you can make in large batches. As your business grows, you can expand into other items. Maybe start with a single spice blend, then add more flavors later.
- Source high-quality, fresh ingredients. Buy from local farmers or markets whenever possible. People will taste the difference.
- Package and label your products attractively. Include nutritional information and a memorable brand name or logo. This helps build a loyal customer base.
- Sell to local stores, open-air markets, and online. Many small food companies find success selling through multiple channels. But focus on your local community first before expanding across the country.
- Build your skills through online videos and food safety courses. While experience is the best teacher, proper training will help ensure you follow best practices and regulations.
- Consider equipment like mixers, dehydrators, sealers, and kitchen tools to increase production. But start small and only invest in new equipment if you have steady demand.
With hard work and the right product, a food processing business can be a great way to tap into Nigeria’s growing market for packaged and processed food.
And sharing the flavors of Nigeria with others is rewarding work.
3. Information and Communications Technology
One of the most promising small scale business in Nigeria is in the information and communications technology sector. With increasing internet and mobile phone penetration, ICT-related businesses have huge potential for growth.
Web Design and Development
Promote your services on social media, at local tech meetups, and through your own website to find clients.
Mobile App Development
The mobile app market is booming in Nigeria.
If you know how to code apps for Android or iOS, you can build and sell your own mobile apps or develop them for other businesses.
Focus on solving problems for the Nigerian market, like apps for mobile payments, agriculture, education, or healthcare. Partner with local startups and companies to build apps for them.
Many Nigerian businesses struggle with digital marketing and need help promoting their products or services online.
Offer services like search engine optimization, social media marketing, email marketing, and pay-per-click advertising.
Help businesses improve their online visibility, increase traffic to their website, build their social media following, and boost online sales.
Digital marketing is a skill that is in high demand.
With more people gaining access to technology, the need for basic computer skills training is significant.
If you are proficient with common software like Microsoft Office, you can offer lessons and tutorials to teach others.
Provide group or one-on-one training on essential skills like using a computer, email, word processing, spreadsheets, and more.
Many people are eager to learn tech skills that can help them find a job or run a business.
The ICT sector holds a lot of promise for budding entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
With hard work and persistence, these types of small businesses can become very successful.
The key is finding a need in the local market and working to solve it.
Agriculture is a major sector of the Nigerian economy that employs about 70% of the population. There are several small-scale agricultural businesses you can start in Nigeria:
Nigeria has over 82 million hectares of arable land suitable for cultivation of crops like cassava, yam, plantain, maize, sorghum, millet, rice, wheat, beans, groundnuts, cocoa, rubber, and palm oil. You can start a small farm to grow any of these crops and sell to local markets or food processing companies. Some steps to get started:
-Acquire farmland. You can buy, rent or lease land in a rural area.
-Choose crops to grow based on availability of farmland and climate.
-Prepare the land by clearing, plowing, and applying fertilizer.
-Plant at the beginning of the rainy season.
-Weed and apply pesticides to protect your crops.
-Harvest and transport crops to the market for sale.
Raising livestock like chickens, goats, sheep or cattle is also a viable small business option. Some options include:
-Poultry farming: Raise chickens or turkeys for meat and eggs. Build a coop, buy chicks, feed and care for them for about 6-8 weeks until mature. Sell eggs and mature birds.
-Goat or sheep rearing: Provide shelter, food, and healthcare for a small herd. Sell milk, wool, meat and offspring.
-Catfish farming: Raise catfish in concrete ponds. Feed and monitor water conditions. Harvest and sell to local markets, restaurants or food processors.
You can start a small business processing crops and livestock into finished food products. Some examples:
-Garri (cassava flour) or starch processing: Peel, grate and ferment cassava, then fry and grind into flour. Package and sell.
-Palm oil processing: Extract and process palm fruit into palm oil. Boil, skim and filter the oil, then bottle and sell.
-Yogurt or cheese making: Use milk from livestock to produce and sell dairy products.
-Bread baking: Make and sell bread, cakes, and other baked goods to local customers.
The key is to start small, learn the skills and build up your business over time. With hard work and persistence, a small-scale agricultural business can be very rewarding in Nigeria.
Transportation is essential for any business, large or small, to operate successfully in Nigeria. As a small business owner, you have several options to consider for transporting goods and people.
Nigeria has a network of busses, taxis, and motorbikes that provide affordable transportation for many.
As a business owner, you may find public transit useful for meeting clients or transporting smaller shipments within a city. However, for larger cargo or travel between cities, public transit may not suit your needs.
Purchasing your own vehicle, whether a car, truck, or van, provides flexibility and convenience but also higher costs.
You’ll need to budget for the initial purchase price, fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repair fees.
If your business requires frequent or high-volume transportation, owning a vehicle fleet may be necessary despite the increased overhead.
Consider starting with a single, versatile vehicle and adding more as your business grows.
Rather than taking on the responsibility of owning and operating your own vehicles, you can outsource transportation to a logistics or shipping company. They will handle moving your goods and products to customers and clients on your behalf. Outsourcing is often cheaper than vehicle ownership since you’re paying for only the transportation services you need. You can find companies that offer door-to-door delivery, airport transfers, intercity shipping, and more.
Modern options like Uber, Bolt, and others provide on-demand rides through an app.
As a business owner, you can use these services to conveniently get around for meetings, client visits or other work-related travel.
Ride-sharing is affordable, especially if you’re traveling alone.
The downside is that these services may not suit larger cargo needs or travel to more remote locations.
In summary, there are several good options for handling your small business’s transportation needs in an efficient and budget-friendly manner.
Consider your specific requirements and priorities to determine the right solution or combination of solutions for you.
With some planning, you can establish an effective transportation strategy to keep your business moving.
Manufacturing is a major contributor to Nigeria’s economy. There are many small-scale manufacturing businesses you can start with low capital. These include:
- Making packaged snacks like plantain chips, chin chin, puff puff or coconut candy to sell to local stores and supermarkets.
- Bottling and packaging palm oil, groundnut oil or coconut oil. Many Nigerians prefer buying packaged oils.
- Milling and packaging rice, beans, maize, millet or sorghum flour. There is a huge demand for packaged grains.
- Making shoes, sandals, belts, bags or wallets to sell to fashion stores. High-quality leather goods are in demand.
- Tanning and dyeing leather to sell to other manufacturers. Sourcing high-quality hides and learning leather treatment techniques requires time but can be very profitable.
- Buying plain fabrics in bulk and printing unique African designs to make into clothes, upholstery or other goods. Ankara and adire fabrics are popular.
- Making clothes, especially traditional attire like agbada, buba, iro and buba or men’s caps to sell in local markets or online.
- Weaving, knitting or sewing to make towels, bedsheets, blankets, rugs or other home decor to sell to wholesalers and retailers.
Cosmetics and beauty products
- Making shea butter, coconut oil, black soap or natural skincare and hair products to sell in local stores or online. Many people prefer natural beauty products.
- Repackaging bulk items like petroleum jelly, glycerin or essential oils into smaller containers to sell.
The key is to start small, keep costs low, focus on high-quality and unique products, build a loyal customer base, and expand as your business grows. With hard work and persistence, a small manufacturing business in Nigeria can thrive.
7. Skilled Crafts
Skilled crafts are always in demand in Nigeria. If you have an artistic talent or skill that you can turn into a business, consider one of these options:
Tailoring and Fashion Design
Nigerians love fashion, so if you’re handy with a needle and thread, tailoring and fashion design can be lucrative businesses. You’ll need to be up on the latest styles and fabrics. Focus on high-quality, custom work for your clients. Promote your business on social media to build up your customer base.
With Nigeria’s focus on appearance and beauty, hair styling is a popular small business.
You’ll need proper training and a salon space. Offer cuts, color, extensions, and treatments for both men and women. Hair styling requires building a loyal clientele, so pay attention to high quality and customer service.
If you have a talent for arts and crafts, consider turning your hobby into a business. Some options include:
- Basket weaving – Using natural fibers to create sturdy and decorative baskets. Sell at local markets or online.
- Jewelry making – Creating handmade necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more from materials like beads, gemstones, leather, and metal. Sell at craft fairs, boutiques, and online stores.
- Pottery/ceramics – Making bowls, vases, mugs, and other decorative or functional items out of clay and firing them in a kiln. Sell at artisan markets and craft stores.
- Candle/soap making – Creating handmade candles, soaps, lotions, and bath products using natural ingredients. Sell at local markets, gift shops, and online.
The key to success with any craft business is producing high quality, unique products and building a loyal customer base through social media, craft fairs, and online stores. With time and dedication, a skilled craft can become a thriving small business in Nigeria.
The healthcare industry in Nigeria is a promising area for small businesses. With a population of over 200 million people, the demand for quality healthcare services and products is high.
Opening a pharmacy is a popular small business option. To become a licensed pharmacist in Nigeria, you must obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy, complete an internship, and pass an exam. Once licensed, you can open your own pharmacy to sell prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Focus on providing high quality medicines and excellent customer service.
Diagnostic centers provide medical testing services like blood tests, X-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs. This business requires significant investment in equipment and properly trained technicians and radiologists. However, with rising healthcare needs, diagnostic centers can be very profitable. Obtain the necessary licenses and certifications to open a diagnostic center.
For those interested in a healthcare business that serves the community, consider starting a home healthcare agency. Home healthcare provides nursing, therapy, and assistance services for the elderly, disabled, or chronically ill in their own homes. Build a team of qualified nurses, therapists, and home health aides. Market your services to hospitals, clinics, and individuals in need of at-home care.
Selling medical supplies like hospital beds, wheelchairs, stethoscopes, and scrubs is a straightforward business idea. Source high-quality supplies from reputable manufacturers. Set up a retail space or online store to sell supplies to healthcare facilities, practitioners, and the general public. Offer competitive prices and good customer service to build your business.
With hard work and the right healthcare focus, your small scale business in Nigeria can thrive. Identify an area of need, obtain the necessary licenses and certifications, build a quality team, and provide exceptional service. The healthcare field offers many opportunities for small business success.
How to Start a Small Scale Business in Nigeria: A Step-by-Step Guide
Starting a small scale business in Nigeria can be challenging but also rewarding. Here are the basic steps to get you on your way to entrepreneurship:
Develop a business plan
A good business plan is essential. It will help you outline your idea, your target market, marketing plan, operational details, and financial projections. Do thorough research on your industry and competitors. Build a model that shows how you’ll make a profit. Your plan will be vital for funding and guiding your new venture.
Determine the legal structure
Will you establish your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership or limited liability company? Each has pros and cons regarding control, liability, and taxes. Consult a lawyer to understand which structure suits you best. Then register your business with the appropriate government agencies.
You’ll need capital to start and maintain your business. Determine how much you need and explore options like using your own savings, taking out a loan, getting a line of credit, crowdfunding, or investor financing. Make sure you understand the terms and risks of any funding you accept.
Recruit your team
Hire qualified employees and consultants to help run your business. For a small startup, look for people willing to work for equity or lower pay. You want a mix of skills and a shared passion for your mission. Provide training and incentives to keep your team motivated.
Find a location
If you need office or retail space, look for an affordable location that suits your needs. Consider renting, leasing or even sharing space to minimize costs. Make sure the space is properly permitted and zoned for how you intend to use it.
Market your business
Build a professional website to establish your online presence. Use social media to raise awareness and engage with potential customers. Network, get active in your local community, and consider traditional advertising to spread the word about your new small business.
With hard work and persistence, you can get your small scale business up and running successfully in Nigeria. Stay focused on your goals, adapt to challenges, and keep striving to better serve your customers. Growth and prosperity will follow.
So there you have it, a list of some of the most promising small-scale business to start in Nigeria.
The opportunities are endless if you have the drive and determination.
Don’t let excuses hold you back from pursuing your dreams of business ownership and financial freedom.
Take that first courageous step, develop your business plan, start small if you need to, learn from your mistakes, build your knowledge, and keep working at it each and every day.
Before you know it, you’ll be running a successful small scale business in Nigeria. Now go out there, spot those opportunities, take action and make it happen.