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How to (Realistically) Start an Online Business in Nigeria

Last updated on September 11th, 2023 at 06:53 am

You have heard the phrase “Work smarter not harder,” and you’re thinking about starting an online business in Nigeria. But how do you know what to do? Here are 10 steps on how to start an online business in Nigeria, based on insights from the pros.

What is an online business?

Online business is the term for businesses that are run through the internet. Online business is generally defined as any type of business that does not have a physical location and is run through a website, mobile app, or social media platform.

In fact, online businesses are present in almost every industry. They can be small and local, or large and global. Online businesses have replaced traditional brick-and-mortar stores as they provide convenience and accessibility to customers while making it easier for them to buy products online.

There are three main types of online businesses:

  • Businesses that sell products
  • Businesses that provide services
  • Businesses that offer information about products or services

But we are not going to go deep into discussing the types, but rather how you can realistically start an online business in Nigeria.

Why start an online business?

The Internet has seen a lot of changes in the past few years. With the advent of new technologies and innovations, people are now more inclined to start an online business in Nigeria.

There are many reasons why people consider starting an online business. Some might want to make money while others might want to have their own business that they can work on from home. There are also those who want to earn from their hobby or passion such as writing, photography, or any other skill-based job.

The most important thing to consider before launching your online business is whether or not you have what it takes. If you don’t, then it’s best to try something else. There are a lot of people who start an online business without thinking about what kind of experience they have and end up failing because they didn’t prepare themselves for the success that they were hoping for.

Here are some things to consider before starting an online business or any type of business:

  • What are your skills and passions?
  • Are you willing to put in the time and effort to manage a business?
  • Will you be able to find an income that is significant enough to support yourself while still having time for other things?
  • Do you have any experience managing or owning a business before now?
  • Do you have any experience with marketing?

This is just a few things to consider before starting your own business. I hope this blog helps you figure out how to make money online in Nigeria!

With that said, here are the exact steps you can take now to start an online business in Nigeria:

1). Determine Your Niche and Business Idea

Choosing your niche is a crucial first step in starting an online business. If you have a niche idea, it will be easier for you to find customers and build an audience.

What is a business niche?

A business niche is a specific type of business that focuses on a particular type of product or service.

A niche is a small market segment, typically with a specific focus on a particular type of product or service.

For example, the clothing industry has many different niches, such as bridal fashion, casual wear, and designer labels.

A business niche is a specific market, industry, or product that has been identified by the company as having the most potential for growth and profit in the future.

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There are many ways to identify a business niche. Some of them include:

  • Identifying what your competitors are doing well
  • Analyzing your customer base
  • Identifying how you can be different from other companies in your industry Identify your competitors
  • See what your competitors are doing well and take note of the key areas where they are strong.
  • It is also important to see what areas you can improve on to create a niche for yourself.

When choosing a niche, consider what kind of content your target audience wants and needs. This will help you choose the right niche for your business idea.

2). Conduct Product Research

Once you have identified a business niche, the next step to start an online business is conducting product research.

Conducting product research is one of the most important steps to start an online business. It involves identifying a niche and finding a product in that niche.

It is also important to understand your customer’s needs before starting your business in Nigeria. This helps you focus on the right products for your audience and avoid wasting time on products that will not be profitable for you.

Conducting product research helps businesses identify their target market and find a suitable product to sell. As businesses are always looking for new ideas, conducting these researches can help them come up with new ideas that can help them grow their business.

At all levels, there are three types of products you can sell online in Nigeria:

a). Physical Products

It is now easier than ever to sell physical products online in Nigeria. You can easily create a listing on Jumia and use the platform’s tools to manage your inventory, shipping, and customer service.

You can also use some of these platforms to promote your products through social media or email marketing campaigns.

The rise of e-commerce has led to an increase in demand for physical products. This trend is expected to continue as more consumers turn towards online shopping over traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

b). Digital Products

Digital products are the newest trend in eCommerce. It’s not just about selling physical products online, but also about selling digital products such as software, websites, apps, and more. Digital products bring huge profit margins considering there is no inventory requirements.

c). Services

Selling services is another great way to make money online in Nigeria. You can sell services online by creating your own website or using an existing one.

The best way to make money on the web is to offer a service that people need. Services include things like writing, graphic design, and consulting work.

Services are becoming more popular as they provide you with much flexibility and control over your business.

So, after identifying the right niche, you need to identify the right product to sell online in Nigeria.

3). Learn About Online Business Laws

Small business owners may assume that because they are running an online business, traditional business laws don’t apply to them.

That’s not true.

It is important to know what your actual legal standing is and plan accordingly.

Every state has its own laws governing the conduct of small businesses in that state, as well as legal responsibilities for both the business owner and customers.

Here are some guidelines to consider as far as online business registration in Nigeria:

  • What kind of business license (if any) do you need to start operations?
  • What legal structure makes the most sense (a sole proprietorship, limited liability company or a corporation)?
  • Are there any permits that you need to obtain?
  • Are there any inspections that you need to pass?
  • Do you need a sales tax license?
  • Are there any specific regulations applicable to online businesses only?
  • What are the laws regarding hiring contractors and hiring employees?

4). Conduct Market Research

Conducting market research is the most important step in the process of launching a new product and starting an online business in Nigeria. It helps you to understand what people want and need, and it also helps you to find out whether your product will be a success or not.

Market research is the process of understanding what people want and need, as well as finding out if your product will be successful or not.

The first step in conducting market research is identifying what it is that you want to sell. After that, you can do an extensive search on different markets to identify potential customers for your product.

Once they are identified, they can be segmented into different groups based on their needs, wants, and demographics.

The second step is conducting a market analysis to understand how the product will be received by customers. This can help you determine how to best price your product, what target audience to focus on, and where you can get the best return from your investment.

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Third step is doing a competitive analysis to see how your product will be perceived among other existing and new products. in the market.

The fourth step is conducting qualitative research to gain a better understanding of what consumers think about your product, and what they like and dislike. This can help you determine how to make improvements in your business model or marketing strategy.

Now that yours is an online business, you need to look into the following areas:

a). Check the SERPs.

Look up variations of your product/service keywords and analyze the search engine result pages (SERPs) for them.

On what websites are your product or service being searched? Then look to see which businesses are paying to advertise on top of organic search results.

b). Research competitors.

Take into account the main competitors in your niche. Try to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

c). Track high-performing keywords.

Analyzing demand for products in your niche and what content ranks best by monitoring niche-relevant keywords can help you to improve your marketing strategy. Consider how the demand for different products changes over time, or how the product or service has changed to meet needs. This can help you optimize your content strategy.

5). Define Your Target Audience

To make money online with your business, you need to perfectly understand who your target customer is. You need to know what they want, what they need, and what motivates them. This will help you figure out how to sell them products or services that will suit their needs and wants.

You also need to understand your own business. Why are you doing what you do? What makes your business different? How can you better communicate with customers through engaging content, interactive tools, and personalized service?

Without understanding who your target customer is and why they buy from you, it’s difficult to make money online.

6). Source Products to Sell Online

Before you launch your online business, it’s important to source the products you sell. You need to identify the right product sourcing strategy that’s right for your business.

Here are three strategies that can help you do just that:

a). Outsource product sourcing

Outsourcing product sourcing usually means asking a company to find the products you need and then manufacturing them for you.

When outsourcing, it might be easier to work with a company in your own country or region because the costs are still lower, and you have more control over quality.

b). Direct sourcing

When direct sourcing, you might need to pay for the manufacturing process up-front and then sell the products yourself. This is often a more difficult business model to maintain because it requires a lot of upfront investment.

But this could potentially lead to better margins on your products since you’re not paying for marketing, distribution, etc.

c). Find a dropshipper

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time or money on product sourcing and distribution, consider finding a dropshipper to sell your products. This is a company that finds other companies in the same niche and sells their products through them.

For example, if you wanted to start an online business selling makeup, you could find a manufacturer willing to dropship the products.

7). Evaluate Product Viability

Before placing an order for product, it is important to determine whether or not the product can be sold in the market and how much profit it can generate.

The following questions should help you in this step of how to start an online business in Nigeria:

  • Is there a successful online business already selling products like that?
  • Is the demand for this product sustainable? Or is it temporary?
  • Does the math behind this product make sense? Can you sell it at a profit?

8). Define Your Brand and Image

The brand is the image a company or product has that it wants to convey. In the world of marketing, it is important for the brand to have a consistent and recognizable identity. This can be achieved by using various methods like logos, colors, fonts, etc.

See, the identity of your brand should be shaped with your target audience in mind. It is also important to make sure that you are not violating any laws or regulations when you are planning on developing your brand identity.

To help you work on your brand image and identify, pay attention to the following:

  • Logo.
  • Color scheme.
  • Page layouts.
  • Typography.
  • Graphics and photos.
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9). Launch Your Online Store

The next step to start an online business is to launch your own e-commerce store. This is where you can sell your products and services online, but it can be a daunting task for those who are new to the world of e-commerce.

Here are some tips that will help you get started:

a). Choose your eCommerce platform

Ecommerce platforms can be used to sell products online. You will find e-commerce platforms in the form of online shopping malls, marketplaces, and websites.

If you are looking for a platform to sell your products online, there are a few factors you should consider before choosing one.

  • The kind of product you want to sell
  • Your marketing expertise
  • The size of your company
  • The ability of the platform’s infrastructure to scale with your needs
  • Cost of the platform

After understanding the intricacies of eCommerce platforms, it is time to figure out which one is right for your business. WooCommerce & BigCommerce are two of the top eCommerce platforms that offer customizable and highly functional solutions for online stores.

b). Upload your products

Once you have picked your eCommerce platform, go ahead and upload your products.

Uploading products to an eCommerce platform is one of the most common tasks for a business. It can be daunting at first, but with the help of some helpful online tools and tips, it’s easy to do.

c). Choose how you will do your shipping

How will your customers receive their products?

You can choose how you will do your shipping by considering the following factors:

  • Distance of the destination
  • Time of arrival
  • Cost of shipping
  • Type of items shipped

10). Grow Your Business

Once you’ve found your niche and started building your online store, the next step is to drive traffic to it.

There are many ways to attract new customers and grow your online business. One way is through social media marketing.

a). Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a form of marketing in which individuals or organizations create and distribute content on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc., for the purpose of promoting their products or services.

b). Influencer Marketing

In Influencer Marketing, companies partner with influential people, who are known as influencers, to market their products and services. These influencers come from many different fields including but not limited to celebrities, athletes, and bloggers. Their many followers become the target audience of these products and services.

c). Email Marketing

Email marketing is a form of direct marketing in which marketers send emails to past, current, and potential customers.

It is one of the most cost-effective methods of promoting a product and reaching new customers. However, if done incorrectly, it may lead to customer complaints or boycotts against a company’s products.

Email marketing tactics can be used to capture email addresses, encourage customers to buy a product, or build loyalty. A variety of tools are available for creating and sending email marketing campaigns.

d). Paid Ads

Paid ads are a popular way for businesses to drive targeted traffic back to their website. They are also an effective tool for driving qualified leads, sales, and customer engagement.

How To Start an Online Business: Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to start an online business?

The answer is no, it is not hard to start an online business. There are many ways to start an online business. Whether you have ideas for a business, or you are looking for ways to make money online, there is no shortage of options.

Which online business is best to start?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on what the individual wants to do and how much time they want to invest.

If you are just starting out, you may want to consider starting a blog. There are many success stories of people who started blogs and became very successful in the process. However, if you want a more stable income then it is better to start an eCommerce store or an online business that focuses on lead generation.

Can I run an online business from home?

Some people think that you can’t run an online business from home. That’s simply not true. There are many online businesses that are run from a home office and they’re doing quite well.

There are many opportunities for you to start your own online business, but before you start, make sure that it’s something you’re passionate about and you enjoy doing.

Do you need a business license to sell online?

In Nigeria, you can sell online without a business license. But it is recommended that you get one to avoid any legal complications.

Why online business is popular nowadays?

The popularity of online businesses has skyrocketed in recent years. There are many reasons why online businesses are becoming more popular than traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Some of the main reasons include the convenience, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness of online businesses.

How can I make money online in Nigeria?

There are many ways to make money online in Nigeria, but the most popular way is affiliate marketing. It is a great way to earn passive income from your blog or website. Affiliate marketing is a business model that involves an advertiser promoting the sale of a product by paying a commission to an affiliate when a purchase is made through their link.

The Nigerian government has imposed strict regulations on the internet and many businesses are looking for alternatives.

Writing websites and blogs is one such alternative that can help you earn money online in Nigeria.

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