A cyber café business is a sort of a rental business that involves the letting out of airtime (slots of minutes or hours to customers) for use in accessing the internet.
In Lagos Nigeria, there is a countless number of cafes with many of them rendering very unsatisfactory services. They often times are crowded places with many slow and not so functional computers and servers that render anything but satisfactory service delivery. This has led some people to prefer dedicated internet home services from reputable ISPs and Telecommunication companies with the result that many cyber cafes have lost many of their customers over time.
Why cyber café
We have cyber cafes for many reasons chief of which include;
1. The high demand for people to interact with friends over long distances. In that regard we find many internet users seeking to access the services of social networking media such as facebook, hi5, myspace and so on.
2. Also cyber cafes, provide ample opportunities for people to carry out research services as a result many internet users use search engines such as google to access information contained in various web pages on the World Wide Web.
3. People patronize cyber cafes to access opportunities faster than what conventional media (radio, television and newspapers can offer). In this regard, job seekers use the internet to access job vacancies, employment opportunities and so on. In this group of internet users are people who also want to be informed about other opportunities in real estate, travel and tour and so on.
Setting up a cyber café is no mean feat. You have to overcome certain circumstances such as;
1. Registration with the corporate affairs commission.
2. Registration with Association of cyber café operators of Nigeria
3. Also registration with law enforcement agencies such as EFCC, NDLEA and ICPC
4. An account with a reputable internet service provider
5. A small or large (depending on the scale of operation) room
7. Servers and other internet devices
All this cost money, but with as little as N 350,000 one could set up a mini cyber café. Of course this cost does not include contingency just a rough estimate of acquiring computers and may be one year subscription.
Many small scale entrepreneurs have identified the need for people to surf the web and realize that location is a very critical factor that must not be overlooked. In areas with predominantly large student population, cyber cafes tend to have a large and steady stream of customers. Also in commercially active areas close to corporate bodies, there is also that tendency however with the growing popularity of internet users patronizing ISPs directly especially now that connection fees are relatively competitive, many cyber cafes may not be around for long.
Like most businesses in Lagos Nigeria, there is a problem with electricity supply. Cyber cafes cannot operate without power and yet with epileptic power supply from PHCN, they must as a rule supply their own power using generating sets and also have to cater to other expenses that are incumbent to the business.
In this business, there is a limit in terms of profitability and growth as many factors work against those possibilities. Cyber cafes are good as businesses that provide side income as a result it favours small scale entrepreneurs. However, opportunities abound for exceptional cases.