By Onwueme Paul
You don’t have to own a store or shop to be able to sell goods and services in Lagos Nigeria. Many smart people in Lagos run part time businesses using other people’s shops to sell their products indirectly.
Amaka, is a 23 year old pharmacy student who sells hand bags and women’s sandals. She makes between N 20,000 to N 35,000 a week selling through her neighbour’s shop. Amaka sources her bags from an importer of fashion accessories while reselling her hand bags and sandals by paying a certain amount as commission to her neighbor. The business partnership with her neighbor is symbiotic as both of them enjoy the arrangement.
Tolu, a very young and highly talented student in a very well known polytechnic also makes money selling indirectly. He partners with a bookstore owner to sell motivational books and career development books. He having identified the best wholesale market for motivational books (Ajegunle), bought a sizable number of copies to resell at Yaba with a bookstore owner. He makes an amount of money sufficient to support both his academic and social needs.
Benefits of this arrangement
- There is low overhead cost as there is no need to employ a sales attendant or pay rent
- The shop owner has increased inventory without additional capital from him. That means he earns free money from selling your products
Like every business involving agreements, there is the possibility of a breach and trouble that could emanate from same. It is not uncommon for the shop owner to inflate the price of your products behind you and pocket the excess while still expecting to receive commission on sales made. What everyone needs to understand is that this kind of business works best when there is a good relationship, an effective understanding and workable symbiosis between parties involved. The likelihood of betrayal or quarrels coming up is best handled if both parties stand to benefit more by working together than not working together. Beware of people who always want to cut corners as experience has shown that such people constitute the greatest hindrance to trade partnerships. So it is advisable to partner with people you already know and who are also entrepreneurial and productive.
Tips to guide you
- Always have a price tag on your products so the buyers pay the exact amount you wish for them to pay
- Draw up the agreement (could be oral or written) with at least one neutral witness.
- Select a suitable location especially one that is strategic for your kind of product. Don’t make the mistake of randomly selecting a shop because patronage and quick turnover are important factors that could lead to success of the business