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How to Start Small Town Business In Nigeria

How to Start Small Town Business In Nigeria

Nigeria has over 248 cities with population of between 10,000 to 500,000 people, with tens of millions of Small Town businesses. If you are looking for Small Town business ideas, here’s a guide to help you run your small town business successfully or start from the scratch anywhere in Nigeria.

One key advantage of small town business is opportunity to be known instantly without much publicity. Marketing is easier, and you can differentiate your brand easily in any niche.

Moreover, you can create the kind of services tailored to your market easily because you can profile your target customers more precisely. And if you provide top notch product or service it spreads across the town faster through word of mouth publicity.

What’s A Small Town Business?

A small town business is a business providing services targeted at customers living within a small town. In Nigeria, small towns are cities with population from 10,000 to 100,000. You can include any city that’s below 500,000 population.

Another Term that describes small town businesses is local business. But not all local businesses are in small towns. And not all small town businesses can be described as local business. Some businesses in small towns operate globally as well.

However, most successful businesses today started in small towns. Your An take advantage of the location to fully test and fine tune your idea before launching out into a much larger target audience.

How Business Works In A Small Town

If you are starting out your business from a small town, you should understand how business works there. Although, you still need to do and follow proper business startup plan. But with a different approach that helps you address the immediate needs of your target audience.

Furthermore, there are important things that make a Small Town business successful. Here are some of the best ones:

  • Be a big brand in a small town
  • Place quality above your marketing
  • Locate your business to be easily accessible
  • Communicate your business model early
  • Focus on the right customers

People in small towns like to associate with big brands. It gives them the feeling of importance. Remember, most of them have also lived or do travel to big cities. This big brand strategy is very important to starting a small town business.

Another thing is to offer quality product or service. Your product will make your brand stand out. While rest of it, like location, business model, customer segmentation will help you serve those who really need what you offering.

Types of Small Town Business Ideas

There are several businesses you can start in a small town. One way to pick a small town business idea is to examine the ideas based on your training or experience. I have also classified these small town businesses into for special categories to help you understand what’s applicable to you.

Below are the main categories:

  1. Service Business
  2. Retail Business
  3. Construction Business
  4. Farm Business
  5. Industrial Business

Small Town Service Business

One of the biggest industry in any society is the service industry. This also applies to small towns. You will find more categories under the service business than any other opportunities available for entrepreneurs in a small town.

The list is quite long, and I may not even be able to remember all of them in this article. You can help me add those you remember in the comment section. I will gladly pick it up from there and include them when next I’m editing this post.

  • Security service
  • Cleaning service
  • Delivery service
  • Transport service
  • Car repair service
  • Phone repair service
  • Computer repair service
  • Air conditioners repair service
  • TV and Radio repair service
  • Rental service
  • Plumbing service
  • Floor and wall Tiles service
  • Educational services
  • Ushering service
  • Bar service
  • Salon service
  • Cloth making service
  • Shoe repair service
  • Hospitality service
  • Medical service

Small Town Retail Business

The retail business is a very important category in small town businesses. It’s the second largest category after service business. Although, some retail businesses offer more than one niche product to enjoy higher patronage.

But I have made separate lists where applicable.

  • Food retail business
  • Cosmetics retail business
  • Drug retail business
  • Cooking Gas retail business
  • Farm produce retail business
  • Building material retail business
  • Baby products retail business
  • Shoe retail business
  • Supermarket business
  • Spare parts retail business
  • Petrol retail business

Small Town Construction Business

There maybe very few companies in the construction business in small towns, but there are many individuals who are involved in this sector. However, construction is one of the major capital projects you can find in small towns, especially developing ones.

In Nigeria, home construction work are the biggest direct revenue migration opportunity. Because most of these small towns are people’s villages. Some of who live in big cities and overseas. But they send money home to build houses for them.

  • Building Construction
  • Road construction
  • Block molding
  • Metal construction
  • Wood construction

Small Town Farm Business

Farming is one of the major occupation of most people is small towns. Most of what’s eaten in big towns are produce from the smaller ones. Also, the era of subsistent farming culture is gone. Farmers now approach it like a business. They farm for income and not just for food.

Here are some of the farming business main categories you can engage with:

  • Vegetable farming business
  • Fruit farming business
  • Livestock farming business
  • Cash crop farming

From these main categories you can further dilute them to smaller categories and pick what you can focus on.

Small Town Industrial Business

If you are thinking about building your own manufacturing business. Small towns are best for it. Because you will enjoy cheaper land cost, lower labour cost, and also affordable raw materials for your production.

  • Food manufacturing
  • Plastic manufacturing
  • Shoe manufacturing
  • Textile manufacturing

However, these category deals with everything Production. So, it’s not limited to just the few options listed above. You can enlarge the options by including what’s doable in your town.

Small Town Business Strategies

A good strategy should help you improve your small town business. Because you may practically know most of the people in your town. It’s important you develop a system that encourages more people to keep patronizing your business.

Here are a few ideas to incorporate:

  • Build Trust with Customers
  • Show Your Experience In The Niche
  • Find The Right Location for Your Kind of Niche
  • Explore Local Business Marketing Strategies
  • Small Town SEO Marketing
  • Rebranding Your Small Town Business
  • Hire People Who Love What They Do

Build Trust with Customers

The highest equity you can have in a small town business is trust with customers. Most especially in this current Nigerian market, people are easily attracted to businesses they can trust. If you achieve it, you must have made future investment in marketing that will keep paying you back for life.

Show Your Experience

In a competitive market, customers are given lots of choices. That means their will be more customers who will be interested in who can offer them the best service or product. In trying to be an expert, don’t

Find The Right Location

If your business is location based, find the right location to setup your business. A good location gives your business 80% more exposure to the more customers. It’s not something you should take lightly.

Location is more important if your business deals a lot with walk in customers.

Explore Local Business Marketing

Local business marketing is nothing new. However, I will advise that you explore Google My Business listing. This listing will give your business a special position in your city for those Search about your niche online.

Also, you can explore Google marketplace to post your products and get free exposure in your city. The big advantage is that it only showcase your business to those searching from your city.

Small Town SEO Marketing

SEO marketing is an integral part of marketing a small town business. Create social media profiles and use them regularly. If you have a website, which you should, create a blog section to share more information.

However, I recommend you explore local blogs in your town to publish information about your business.

Rebranding Your Small Town Business

Constantly give your business a facelift and improve some of your ailing facilities. It’s not okay to continue using dilapidated equipments. It gives sign of a crumbling business. Remember, it’s not only your customers that sees them, your competitors do too.

Hire People Who Love What You Do

Employment plan is a very important aspect of small town business in Nigeria. You must know that the brightest ones may have relocated to big cities to work there. And if there are still some remaining, they would be working for the best businesses in the town.

So, how do you find the right employees for your small town business? It’s not enough to look at their CV and say this one is most qualified. Consider their educational qualification less.

I would rather advise that you pay more attention to the stories about their lives, how they have solved challenges situations in their lives. Most importantly, if they have experienced any very difficult situation and how they solved it.

You should be looking at their personality, their goals in life and what they can do in difficult times with what they have.


If you are going to create successful small businesses in Nigeria, target small cities. What many don’t realize is that they have the same market size as sections of the big cities.

Moreover, it’s much easier to capture a small town market than the big city market. A small town market with population of about 100,000 or more people is an easy target when growing your business.

Follow the ideas shared in this post to plan and start your small town business.

Chinedu David
About The Author: Chinedu David An inspiring writer with several years of experience in journalism, consulting and training. Worked with Success Digest magazine for over a decade. Founded MyStore - an online store in 2013. Trained several startup entrepreneurs in telecom sector, LPG (oil & gas), and on Cryptocurrency investment. A born again christian, who's committed to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ with passion. Drop a comment below and he will respond to your query. He can also be reached via email: or Call/Text/WhatsApp: 07087770518
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