Adesoji Adegbulu

How to Spot Viable Business Opportunities in Nigeria

spot viable business opportunities

With a large and boisterous population estimated at between 150-170 million, a large reserve of natural resources (oil, gas, solid minerals, etc) and an expansive untapped potential in agriculture, Nigeria is clearly a huge market, offering immense opportunities for business. There are infrastructural problems alright, but the spirit of entrepreneurship does not surrender to challenges. It is also true that many of the problems present opportunities for profitable business.

If you are wondering where these business opportunities are hidden, when there is so much lamentation about unemployment, maybe this guide will help direct your searchlight. One truth: not every unemployed person has thought seriously of starting a business. If you seriously need to find good business opportunities, here’s a guide.


What You Need to Spot Viable Business Opportunities in Nigeria:

Desire and commitment: To be able to see opportunities that exist or are emerging, you must have a burning desire to start a business. It is the intensity of your desire that will open your eyes to the opportunities around you. Without a consuming passion, nothing serious can really be achieved.

Conscious attention to the environment: To find opportunities, you must be conscious of the environment and developments occurring around you. Your antennae must be raised high up, picking signals, as it were, of important occurrences and trends. Your burning desire should ignite this consciousness.

Focused interest: You need to define and narrow down your interest, for more effectiveness. A narrower berth sharpens your instinct on your defined areas of interest. It helps plant this interest deeply in your subconscious. That way, your goal remains on the top burner and emerging opportunities can hardly escape your attention.

Readiness to act: Opportunities arise all the time. The problem is that we’re often not ready for them and so fail to take action. When you mean business, you must put yourself in the right position to take action. Seen an advertised invitation to a business opportunity briefing in your area of interest, why not check it out by attending? If you’re not impressed, you burst it and wait for something else!


The Face of Business Opportunities

A business must have good patronage to be successful. The target market will only patronize your product or service if it meets a yearning need. In looking for a business opportunity, you need to identify a need-gap and fill it. Your potential for success is dependent on this relationship between a need and the solution you offer. The more intense the need and more appropriate your solution is, the more successful your business will be. So, look for business opportunities in the daily needs, pains, difficulties and desires of the people. Find a good solution at the right price for any of these and be sure you’ll soon be smiling to the bank.

The people’s requirements also change over time, propelled by various factors. Your ability to see emerging trends may also be the key to a successful business. What works today may not be adequate or ‘in’ tomorrow. You may find your opportunity by seeing where the shifts are leading.


Drivers of Opportunity

Paying attention to the following drivers of opportunities will help you when seeking out emerging business opportunities:

Government Policy: Government remains the dominant player in our economy. Changes in government policy represent one major creator of business opportunities or the reverse. The ban of the importation of processed fruit drinks has unleashed a new wave of local fruit juice manufacturers; port concession set some investors up for good money. The key is to analyze policies for inherent opportunities. Better still get to know about these policies while they’re still on the fire. If you do a serious exercise today, you will identify a handful of impending policies that will generate life-changing opportunities!

Technological Changes: Watch out too for opportunities thrown up by changes in technology. Didn’t many small and medium operators (mast-builders, sellers of phones and accessories, hawkers, etc) harvest a fortune from the introduction of GSM technology in Nigeria? If you missed out, the good news is that new opportunities arise all the time. Just keep scanning and remain prepared.

Natural resources: The country is rich in natural resources, some of which are yet to be exploited. The resources range from the extractive to agricultural and other endowments. While huge exploitation costs may be involved in some cases, there are areas where small businesses can play effectively.

Demographics: Analysing the population profile and emerging trends provides a good guide to business opportunities. Who wouldn’t know that property development in Lagos and Abuja, for instance, will remain a profitable business for some time to come, given the rate of population growth of these cities? Think of the different segments of the population and their needs, changing tastes, emerging influences. These are pointers to where business opportunities lie.

Public utilities: The weakness of our public utilities creates a huge demand-supply gap, leaving a yawning market to be serviced. ‘Pure water’ production has done well as a business option because of the unmet demand for potable water. Sale of power-generating sets, inverters, UPS/stabilizers, and various power devices has left many bank accounts in deep black. The failure of the public education system has created successful entrepreneurs operating private educational institutions. More opportunities are still there if only you look more closely.

Failures Of Existing Companies and Businesses: Each time you are dissatisfied with the product, service or any feature of existing businesses, it may be a pointer to a business idea. Sometimes, you don’t need to re-invent the wheel. You may not have to create a new product or service idea. Simply improving on what is currently provided may be all you require to succeed. Look out of for what is available today that you can improve on product enhancement, better delivery experience for customers or whatever.


What to Consider When You Weigh the Options

In evaluating the options you identify, your goal is to choose a business that inherently has good potentials of success. While the ultimate performance will depend on how well you run your business, starting on a strong footing will be important. Give careful consideration to the nature of the product or service. The following factors are important:

Consumables are products that are consumed and replaced. They offer a better guarantee of sustained demand; durable products, on the other hand, will be demanded less frequently. On low working capital, you probably will prefer a product that moves fast and consumables will be your best bet.

Essentials are basic requirements which individuals and households purchase all the time. Food items, toiletries, clothing, etc, fall into this category. A business rooted in these goods will, on balance, stand on a stronger demand base than one that deals on luxury items. For a small beginner, these items are a safer bet.

Seasonality refers to consumption cycle which peaks at certain periods but may be flat or depressed at others. Umbrellas sell well during the rains but may not be in much demand in the dry season. Unless bundled with other product lines, such goods can create a cash flow nightmare in the ‘off’ season. Consider a product that keeps you in business all year round.


Where to Look

To ensure you pick up information on developments that can point you to evolving or existing opportunities, you need to make a habit of combing these sources:

– The media, publications that is print, electronic, etc. Catching the news headlines in newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, internet etc should be an abiding habit. The internet, which has become a huge library, is a rich source of information. Its currency, extensive coverage and extraordinary accessibility make it a choice source to use.

– Government’s policy documents, official statements, budgets, publications of the Central Bank, government agencies, business groups, and researchers will keep you informed of important economic and public policy thrusts.

– Opinions of experts, friends, family, and public discussants can also direct attention to where things are happening.

In summary, starting a business is a serious business and requires some serious work. Take some time to do some analysis based on the indicators outlined above. Chances are good that you will find an opportunity that suits you and forms a basis for your dream business.



3 responses to “How to Spot Viable Business Opportunities in Nigeria”

  1. Ini Ubuoh Avatar

    This is a great article.I realy enjoy it.

  2. Emmanuel Emoezofu Avatar
    Emmanuel Emoezofu

    A very long and informative post.

  3. Kelvin Avatar

    I am a Nigerian aspiring entrepreneur. The biggest problem I was facing was where to invest as I didn’t have much budget? I wanted to invest my money and efforts there from where I can get maximum returns, due to this confusion I was not able to take the initiative. Then one day I came across this article, which really helped me understand about various successful home run businesses that have much scope in Africa.