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30 Profitable Small Business Ideas For Nigerians

Small Businesses For Beginners

Nigerians are very enterprising people, no matter where in this world they find themselves. Although, not much of its prowess in entrepreneurship is known outside the shores of the country, but Nigerians are daily churning out profitable small business ideas that had withstood the test of time within the country.

Even though much of it came from Ideas already developed in other countries, the Nigerian entrepreneurial spirit is adjudged as one of the best in the world, behind the Asian tigers.

But how are Nigerians coming up with these great small business ideas? And how do they even know which one is profitable? Let’s start by defining small business, and what makes small business ideas profitable in Nigeria.

What’s A Small Business

Wikilpedia described Small businesses as privately owned corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships that have fewer employees and/or less annual revenue than a regular-sized business or corporation.

In the Nigerian concept, it simple means a business started with or without startup capital, that is struggling to grow with or without help from government or even from family and friends. If you live in Nigeria, you must have witnessed this struggle by small business owners to grow without any help or functional public infrastructures.

But here’s my own definition of a small business. It’s a business started by one or more partners, rooted in a culture to provide a solution to the needs of its immediate environment, with a view to make profit from its products or services, with or without financial backing form venture capitalists or financiers.

So, what makes small businesses profitable in Nigeria?

Why Start A Business?

Imagine if you are in front of a willing sponsor, and you are asked, what’s your reason for wanting to start a business? Interestingly, the perfect answers are not always the best. Startup pitch mentors have always tried to sway startups to come up a reasonable reasons but, what if you don’t even have a reason?

Some small businesses were started as a mistake. The owner may not be thinking of starting a business. But that kind of story is not so popular around small businesses in Nigeria.

To start a business here, there must be a reason. It’s okay if one tries to add some little white lies to those reasons. But the primary reasons most Nigerians start businesses are categorized into two: unemployment and poverty.

These two reasons alone have powdered more than 80% of small business ideas in Nigeria. In case you disagree with my assertion, here’s a test to prove me wrong or right. Do you currently have a job when you started your business? How rich are you before you decided to start a business?

Okay, let me now look at the remaining 20% reasons as well. Some of the most popular reasons 20% give for starting a business includes:

  • They claim to have a unique business idea
  • They developed a career that has the flexibility to grow with them
  • The goal to be financially independenc
  • And to invest in themselves

If you examine all these reasons you won’t wonder any more why small businesses are everywhere in Nigeria. It’s more of a fight against poverty and unemployment than a war against the problems that threatens us as a nation.

Nigerian Small Business Ideas

If you are having a hard time deciding on a startup idea this year, I have put together 30 profitable small business ideas you can pick from. Some of these ideas are not new, but they are tested and proven to be profitable business Ideas.

Even where it’s potentials may not be much, they can help turn your financial fortune around. Here are those you may be able to start with little or no startup capital.

{1} Food Truck Business

The food truck business idea in Nigeria, popularly known as mama-put is one lucrative small business idea you can start with very little or no capital at all. For startup, you should cook for very small number of clients, and increase as more people fall in love with your food or enjoy eating it regularly.

One thing about starting a food truck business is that you don’t need much capital. You can also collect food stuffs on credit, while you payback after each day sales until you can afford to make bulk purchases to increase your profit margin.

Here are a few benefits of food truck business over regular restaurant:

  • Low initial investment
  • Low operation cost
  • It attracts more walk-in customers
  • Ability to experiment with Locations
  • Opportunity to build and expand your food brand

{2} Online Tutoring Classes

In Nigeria, most of what is done in tutoring happens offline. But with the growing distancing laws, and the cost of transporting to lecture venues, some students are opting for online trainings. You can start online tutoring classes, offering your courses and trainings online using platforms like Zoom, Go-To-Meetings, etcetera.

Online tutoring service involves one-on-one with the tutor in an interactive, digital classroom. It uses real-time or recorded video lectures for easy and direct communication and sometimes an interactive whiteboard for uploading documents, plotting functions, or working out equations.

{3} Tea/Coffee Shop

This small business idea has been somehow ignored by budding entrepreneurs, because of how it’s been classified in Nigeria. The tribe known for tea business in Nigeria are the Hausas. They setup anywhere near motor parks, busy bus stops and crowded neighborhoods.

This simple idea of a coffee shop can be extremely profitable if you do it right. A clean and good location is key, and more breakfast meal verities may help boost your customer base.

{4} Cooking Classes

It may surprise you that there are over a thousand Nigerian food recipes. Most of them you have never heard of, nor know-how to cook them. And as Nigerians taste bud increases, the appetite for unknown or cross tribe delicacies are growing. Here are the top 400 plus of them pinned together for you.

People want to know how to cook dishes from other tribes that they love or have eaten in a restaurant or party they attended. More Nigerians are exploring cooking classes. You too should, if you have flair for cooking.

{5} App Developer

Nigerian online space is still very much underdeveloped. Although, there’s so much now happening at Yaba, Lagos – the Nigerian version of Silicon Valley. That gives you the idea that app development could be your best small business idea to start now.

An app developer primary responsibilities include creating, testing and programming apps for computers, mobile phones, and other types of electronic devices.

To become a mobile app developer you will need to learn coding as your first option. It’s not a standard requirement for everyone, but it will be the best route. Learning to code will give you an edge over developers who don’t know coding.

{6} Ice Cream Stand

Coldstone, one of the major ice cream brand in the country is ladies delight. Not to mention children’s love for ice cream more. You too can start a small business that sells the most ice cream brands along with beverages and other treats.

You will need to connect with suppliers and distributors, and order large batches. You can either rent an ice cream truck or rent space to sell your products.

{7} Product Reviewing

In Nigeria, product review ideas maybe differently approached. However, you shouldn’t limit your ideas to Nigeria alone, since most reviews are done online to a global audience. Build your client base to target markets where product reviews pay better.

You can also use affiliate platforms like Amazon to increase your earning power from product reviews.

{8} Web Designing

There’s huge demand for web design services in Nigeria. About 80% of small businesses don’t have a functional website. That’s leaves the rest 20% who may have a website but doesn’t know much about web designing. You can tap into this huge potential to launch your web design small business idea.

A web designer understands what is needed to make a website functional and easy to use. And also to make it aesthetically appealing to the user.

{9} Home Food Delivery Business

The idea of delivering restaurant meals to the home is a good business idea. It can either you have your own restaurants and you are offering home food delivery. Or you are only offering home food delivery services to delivery foods customers orders from popular restaurants across the city.

One have to consider how your customers would be ordering the meals before deciding on the food delivery business model.

{10} Digital Marketing

Nigeria has a population of over 200 million, but how many of it is reachable through available marketing channels? But in the last few years, the internet has connected and created the largest marketplace in the country, more than all the TV stations, radio and print media put together.

Digital marketing is promoting potential products and service online, directing them either to an online service or to patronize an offline business.

Here is a look at some of the skills to help you become a digital marketer:

  • Data Analysis
  • Writing and Editing Skills
  • SEO and SEM Skills
  • Listening Skills
  • Email Marketing Skills
  • CRM Skills
  • Social Media Skills
  • Paid Social Media Advertising Skills

{11} Interior Design

If you have the flair for home inner houses should be made to display elegance and style, then you can consider Start a small business idea on interior designs.

Interior design is the art of making interior spaces functional, and safe, and more beautiful. You determine the space requirement and select decorative items, like colors, lighting, and materials.

{12} Makeup Artist

Most ladies in Nigeria have taken to makeup as a business and its booming. Now, you need to upgrade it into makeup studios. It’s same concept but with social media influence attached.

You create makeup studios where clients come in to makeup and take pictures for their social media posts.

Your job is to enhance a person’s appearance, to bring out their color and beautiful features, while hiding or smoothing out their flaws. It’s a domestic technique to create beauty on the human body. Also make them remember it for a lifetime by taking great photos of them.

Required Skills As A Makeup Artist:

  • Communication skills.
  • Working under pressure.
  • Time management.
  • Hairstyling skills.
  • Detail orientation.

{13} Photography

I grew up in a community where the villages usually have a notable photographer. He’s the only one being invited to take pictures at any occasion in the community. So, photography has been a hubby and a good small business idea right before Boys became men.

The idea of photography is for you to create images that are naturally more pleasing to the eye. It’s a practice of creating durable images by recording light or electromagnetic radiation, using the camera technology.

Key photography skills:

  • Creativity
  • Technical photography skills
  • Patience and concentration
  • Attention to detail.
  • Strong networking skills
  • Team working skills

{14} Home Decor

An Interior design creates functional spaces within a building. While home Decoration furnishes or adorns the space with fashionable or beautiful things. But interior designers may also decorate, but decorators do not design.

These accessories include such items as curtains, sofa sets, cushions, tablecloths and decorative craft products, decorative wrought iron, and so on. These items are commonly used in indoor furnishings and layout and can include cloth items, paintings, and plants.

{15} Currency Trading

Nigerian version of Forex trading is the Aboki from the northern part of the country, who buys up dollars or sells you dollar in exchange for naiara or dollars, as the case may be. Most Nigerian cant understand Forex trading any other way. But, there’s a huge potential in trading forex online. READ – How To Start Forex Trading As A Beginner. A must read for non Forex traders.

Currency trading or forex trading is buying and selling currencies for the purpose of making profit. It’s always involves two currencies at any given time. The price of one currency is linked to the price of another currency in a trade.

The currency market works like any other market, like the stock, bonds or commodities markets.

{16} Event Planning

If there anything Nigerians love to do more than anything else, it’s having colorful events. We like parties, whether it’s for weddings, birthdays, graduations, inaugurations, and even burials, we party big time.

That makes event planning an amazing small business idea you can explore today. According to International Institute of Event Management: event planning is defined as the management of projects such as a meeting, convention, tradeshow, ceremony, team building activity, party or convention.

Skills needed to become an event planner:

  • Organizational skills
  • Networking savvy
  • Resilience and Adaptability
  • A Basic Understanding of Events
  • Unbridled Creativity
  • Dedication to Client Service

{17} Fast Food Joint

The idea of fast food restaurants has taken over Nigeria. This American style of restaurants has simplified eating out. Nigerians are hungry for such treat. Almost every fast food joint is full to capacity during weekends and festive seasons. If you are considering food business, here could be your best Idea this year.

The business model of fast food joint is the ‘speed of service’ at which customers get the food served upon request. Ideally, the food are already mass prepared before customers are allowed to come in and order.

Steps to Open a Fast Food Joint:

  • Choose a concept and brand
  • Make your menu items
  • Prepare a business plan.
  • Raise capital
  • Choose a good location and a Lease
  • Get permits and Licenses of applicable
  • Buy cooking equipments
  • Find local food item suppliers
  • Make a food sign

{18} Pet Business

Five years ago, I wouldn’t have advised pet business as a business idea for Nigerians. But today, that perception has changed, with more Nigerians housing pets in their homes. Children love pets, and so do their parents who allowed them to have one. A business idea on pets would be a great one.

One of the ways to start a pet business is joining the upscale pet-products Retail stores. The model is simple, you buy products from a wholesaler, markup the price and sell them in your own store. And if you are the Wholesale outlet, you supply products to boutiques and retail stores. And that includes online stores.

The Best Pet Businesses:

  • Pooper-scooper service
  • Pet photography
  • Dog clothing and accessories
  • Pet sitting
  • Dog day care
  • Dog obedience training
  • Dog walking service
  • Tropical fish and aquarium rental
  • Pet toys
  • Gourmet pet treats

{19} Chatbot Creator

Chatbot has changed the way customer service and interaction happens online. With chatbots, hitting potential customers is easy by offering required information irrespective of the day or time.

Benefits of using chatbots includes saving time. It provide fast, automated answers to most questions. And customers are prevented from waiting a day or longer to receive responses for their enquiries.

{20} Day Care Business

In the past, when parent ps go to work they would leave the kids with their neighbors. That’s not the way of life any more. People no longer leave their kids with neighbors, even if those neighbors are family.

Day care Centre’s are springing up now. Consider a holiday centre as well, where parent can bring their kids for play and fun during the holidays. Parents want where they can drop off their kids so they can have more time for themselves.

A day care business care provides care for infants and toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children, either in their own homes or in a center-based facility.

Steps To Start a daycare business:

  1. Plan your business
  2. Form a legal entity
  3. Open a business bank account
  4. Obtain necessary permits and licenses
  5. Define your brand
  6. Establish your web presence

{21} Content Creation Service

As a blogger, I value the importance of content. I sometimes pay someone to create contents for me, even though I could do them myself. That’s to show that it’s now a huge opportunity for those who have the flair for creating powerful content in any niche.

The content on your site tells your visitors who you are. It also encourages them to browse your site and works to know more about what your company is offering. A content creator is hired to help design and write good website copy.

Steps to Become a Content Creator:

  1. Read news about your industry every day.
  2. Write on the regular.
  3. Establish a unique voice.
  4. Understand your KPIs.
  5. Network with other creators
  6. Study your audience.
  7. Offer solutions

{22} Landscaping

You may think who want to do landscaping in Nigeria? I thought so too, until I researched on it. This opportunity is a money making idea in Nigeria now.

A landscaping business involves residential work on lawns or private work for commercial enterprises. Others like public landscape works to keep golf courses groomed or work in parks.

Mowing of side road and upkeep of flowerbeds are also part of landscaping business.

Types of landscaping businesses:

  • Lawn mowing/maintenance.
  • Landscape care/maintenance services.
  • Landscape design/contracting services.
  • Weeding or fertilizer and/or pest control application.
  • Landscape architecture services.
  • Sod installation/hydroseeding.

{23} Dance Studio

Keffy, one of Nigerians best dancer, ruled the industry with her dance studio. She featured in most of the music videos and changed in millions. Dance studio is a huge small business idea to explore.

There are two ways to generate income from a dance studio. One is to rent out the studio space to dance instructors. The other one is to employ an instructor and collect class fees from dance students.

Steps to promote a dance studio:

  1. Market your brand
  2. Online registration
  3. Send out Flyers
  4. Collaboration with platforms with target market
  5. Set up a referral program
  6. Offer free classes.

{24} Gift Wrapping

Gift Wrapping business is a huge industry on its own. You can either join gift selling or just provide the Wrapping materials and do the wrapping of each gift for a handsome fee.

If you so good at wrapping, you could also offer personalized services for corporate clients and weddings to help them wrap their gifts in unique ways.

{25} Music Studio

Nigeria is the hub of music business in Africa. The influence of Nigerian music has grown larger in the last 10 years. This has inspired more budding talents to explore their gifts in the music industry.

A recording studio specializes in sound recording, mixing, and audio production of instrumental or vocal music, it’s performances, spoken words, and other sound works.

Services Provided By Recording Studios:

  • Digital audio post Production
  • Remote recording
  • Voice over
  • Multi-track recording / mixing / editing
  • Music production
  • DVD production
  • Mastering
  • Archiving and restoration
  • Live drum tracks
  • Sound systems

{26} Clothing Boutique

Nigerian fashion industry is incomparable. It stands out globally in the fashion world. The local print material is now in international fashion design style. A business in fashion is a goal.

A clothing boutique is a small store that sells stylish clothing, jewelry, magnets or other usually luxury goods. The mainstay for starting a clothing boutique is your store location, target market, style selection and marketing.

How to start Clothing boutique:

  1. Planning your clothing boutique
  2. Decide on the location for your boutique
  3. Pick a name you love—and can live with
  4. Create a cohesive aesthetic style
  5. Develop your boutique’s unique brand
  6. Make your products stand out
  7. Decide where you plan to source your products
  8. Use brand ambassadors to your advantage

{27} Travel Planner

Travel planner means travel agent in Nigeria. Don’t let this Oyigbo people fool you. Even though most Nigerians don’t really plan their travel with external buddy, they still need to get visas, buy tickets and book hotels. That’s where you come in and it’s a multimillion industry.

If you love travel and enjoy the planning process, you might consider becoming a travel planner or agent. There are resources to help you work through the process of starting your own travel business.

Steps to Become a Travel Planner:

  1. Create a plan for your travel business
  2. Conduct market research
  3. Develop a brand
  4. Deal with the legal side.
  5. Determine your funding strategy
  6. Choose a location and hire employees
  7. Market and launch your business.

{28} Homestay Business

Imagine if you could travel to another city, and not lodge in a hotel but another home that’s not anyone you know. It’s AnB kind of lodging. But this concert has changed recently. You don’t need to host lodgers in your private home.

It’s now a business idea, where you build such homes just to rent it out on paper need basis. In a country where rent payment is becoming difficult, and Hotel daily lodging fees are growing, people would love a monthly home rental in cities they travel to.

Steps To Start Homestay Business:

  1. Get necessary permissions and approvals
  2. Prepare basic amenities
  3. Take good photos
  4. Accept online bookings
  5. Create engaging promotion

{29} Yoga Studio

Don’t ask me why I even considered this as a small business idea for Nigerians. I struggle with it until my research proved otherwise. Yoga is a booming industry even in Nigeria. The same way people have embraced gym, they are thronging yoga studios as well.

Once the plan is to open a yoga studio, it would require you to undertake a tremendous amount of work. You will need to build a reliable team. Hire a team who understands and share your passion for yoga.

The yoga market is a massive opportunity. It has great demand and growing in popularity.

There are 14 Opportunities In Yoga Business you can start:

  1. Single-Teacher (Owner Operator)
  2. Enterprise (Several employed teachers)
  3. Shared Yoga Studio
  4. Non-Franchised Studios
  5. Franchised Studios
  6. Dance Studios
  7. Multi-Purpose Halls
  8. Gyms/Fitness Centers
  9. Home Studios
  10. Spas
  11. Resorts
  12. Rehabilitation Centers
  13. Parks
  14. Beaches

{30} Bakery Business

Baking is good, whether it’s for your family or for business. Nigerians are not much of home bakers, but when it comes to baking for business, it’s a goal. Starting a bakery is like an establishment that produces and sells flour-based food baked in an oven. The finished products includes, bread, cookies, cakes, pastries, pies, etcetera.

Steps to Start a Bakery:

  1. Write a business plan
  2. Obtain Loans and startup capital
  3. Leasing a commercial space
  4. Permits and licenses
  5. Design the Layout
  6. Order bakery equipment
  7. Hire and train the staff
  8. Plan your marketing and advertising strategies

Conclusion

The engine of Nigerian economy is small businesses. Even though they are largely undocumented, their are over 50 million small businesses in Nigeria with physical addresses. And there are many more without physical addresses, either operating fully online or operating without any known address.

If you want to start a business now, this list of 30 small business ideas might be useful to you. Just go through it again and you will find what fits perfectly with you.

Chinedu David
Chinedu David is a business consultant with experience in oil & gas, hospitality, IT & telecom, consumer products, business strategy, marketing and distribution. He was the telecom editor for SuccessDigest for over a decade. And founded Mystore, one of the indigenous online marketplace in 2013. Drop a comment below and he will respond to your query. He can also be reached via email: nedu@myblog.com.ng or Call/Text/WhatsApp: 07087770518
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