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Friday, July 29, 2011

How to find profitable business ideas for the Nigerian market

There are quite a number of ways by which entrepreneurs come up with their business ideas. The method they adopt to become who they are largely depends on their unique experiences. Luckily business ideas are free and anyone can find them, you don’t have to live in a ‘land with so many opportunities’ rather you need to live in a business idea mode that is always thinking and asking yourself ‘what do people need but are seriously lacking?’ check out different products that catch your attention, examine them and rate them in terms of ‘How good is this product? Can it be made better? In what way does this product impress or disappoint its consumers? The main thrust of a profitable business idea should be to identify demand and willingness of customers to pay a fee for your product or service that is higher than the cost of producing that product or service.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of how to find business ideas that work not only in Nigeria but all over the world although we are focused mainly on Nigeria.

Many entrepreneurs claim they found their ideas not by design but by circumstance, in other words they stumbled upon it by chance while doing something else, that is not to say that they are not motivated to pursue profitable ventures but rather that as they are constantly looking for or evaluating opportunities, the one thing that always stood before their eyes but was ignored for so long might turn out to be that breakthrough business idea that eventually made them what they are – successful business men and women.

For instance, a Canadian entrepreneur who had dropped out of high school and had worked all young life on low paying jobs finally discovered an idea from a simple purchase she made while on holiday. A bed fitted piece of clothing may not be your idea of a profitable business idea but ask Melanie Stephens, a successful entrepreneur with little formal Education who in 1979 started a small business that grew into a 7 million dollar a year business by 1985. Interest and a love for her past time – which was replicating hand made furniture, clothing and a host of other things for herself - led her to find a business idea in a remote, not so well developed rural community.

Another way to find a profitable business idea is from reading books, magazines and other written information both offline and online on the internet. Ruth Shaw, founder and owner of Covent Garden got an idea to start one of the first greenhouse flower gardens in the world when in 1981 she read an article in Forbes magazine about a growing trend in Europe of lovers purchasing flowers for partners. She was able to catch on the idea after realizing that demand for flowers in her native Canada would also be on the increase. Yours sincerely, considered the idea of blogging about business ideas for the Nigerian market after doing a little survey on the internet of certain key words on another blog.

Sometimes we get business ideas from our respective places of work. Otunba Gadaffi as he is fondly called by admirers is the CEO of DMT ltd famous among other things for their comical slogan “shit business is serious business”. Gadaffi (not real name), a former aide of Late Chief Moshood Abiola got his inspiration from an outing he had while on duty. He wondered why there were no mobile toilets to attend to guests at a major event his former employer was putting together at the time at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos Nigeria. Today he runs a multi million naira business and is a proud employer of scores of Nigerians. Business ideas can come from our work experience.

Some other times, we get business ideas from intuition or introspection. When we carefully analyse our strengths and weaknesses, our interests and the seeming needs of others around us we can find a lot of ideas but finding the idea is not what it’s about though but good ideas that are workable. With no real way of knowing whether those ideas in our heads will work or not, we just head out and test the waters.