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Monday, November 28, 2011

How to find business ideas

Are you looking for business opportunities but don’t know how to go about it or where to start from? I can understand your plight just as it is the case with many unemployed folks who have gotten tired of their job search or working folks that are tired of their jobs or seeing their bosses. It is not funny at all when you yearn for an opportunity to do business but can’t find it especially when you have idle capital. But no problem, we are here to look at some ways to find business ideas that can serve our purpose and shouldn’t be a problem to execute. But one thing I must state is that finding a business idea alone isn’t sufficient, you still need to analyse the idea to know if it is viable, that is if it can actually work and make the kind of profit that is needed to sustain any business. This process is called a feasibility study and thereafter you will need a business plan that will determine how best to set up and manage the business so that it can turn out to be the successful project it was designed to be.

There are many ways to find business ideas especially home based business ideas. For instance some people find business ideas from their hobbies or things they spend a lot of time doing. Take the example of one of my mentors who runs a chess academy, his first love is chess and he happens to be a teacher as well, today he runs a successful chess academy in Lagos with 8 schools covered by him and of course the income he makes from it is passive as he only needs to employ people to do most of the work for him while he can do other valuable things with himself. Talk of making money from doing what you love.

Another way to find business ideas is from your inherent skills and talents. Many of us are really good at doing one particular thing which could be of benefit to others. The story of the woman of sweet sensation is really inspiring especially when you consider that to her she isn’t really working but merely doing what she loves but the key ingredient is that she is very good at what she does. She cooks really nice meals and people appreciate the quality of meals she prepares and hence the reason her business is well patronized. So is there a particular thing you can do really well that people often compliment you for? That particular could become a business idea for you. It may be research, writing, teaching even making people agree with your opinions (being persuasive) all these qualities can find useful ways to become money makers. Look deep within you for such skills and talents and find how these things can be put to use for the benefit of others.

Research and Analysis of existing products and services can also be another way of generating business ideas. Femi Otedola started Zenon when he noticed that Diesel suppliers where grossly incompetent and unreliable with their services. He saw an opportunity in providing excellent service delivery and customer service plus how to beat the shipping costs that he decided to go into diesel business. Today he is one of Nigeria’s leading suppliers of diesel to businesses and industries. Is there a particular product that is failing to meet up with customer’s requirement? In what way does this product fail? How best can the service be met or customer satisfaction ensured? When you analyse the failure of an available product or service it could open a window of opportunities to make lots of money. So do your research and follow the idea through.

Modeling a successful business can also work out in providing one with a source of business ideas. If for instance you have worked in a fast food company for say 5 years and have thoroughly understood the business and also realize that there is a huge untapped market, what stops you from going out to start your own business? As long as you know what the successful businesses in that industry has done to get to where they are and you can replicate that strategy and model you are good to go. Many successful entrepreneurs such as like Dangote have started businesses using this method. For instance his Dansa, Spaghetti and flour mill businesses are simply modeling existing businesses they were not the first of their kind.

Another method of finding business ideas is through intuition. Some people just have a sudden feeling that something is needed and will work out if pursued vigorously. For instance DMT and the famous “shit business is serious business” is an example of a business that was founded on intuition. Otunba Gadaffi was inspired by a thought of what a mobile toilet could do in a very busy event in an open place.

These are some of the ways to find business ideas but there are several others but these are the most common ones.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lucrative Small Business Ideas to start in Nigeria with N10000 or less

Many times I have seen this question being asked - what kind of business can I start with N10,000 or less and they keep coming again and again especially on nairaland so this is my own contribution, I hope people who have little capital and are wondering what to do with it especially students here are a few ideas that may help out.

1.       Selling slippers and other fashionable footware

If you are wondering what am talking about here then wonder no more. Females especially love to buy slippers and other fashionable footware, if you are a female student why not sell these items to your fellow girls in the hostel. Where to source them? Go to the big markets places like Idumota, Balogun, Apongbo and so on to buy really cheap slippers that can last then resell them for a profit. Other footwares like sandals can also be bought and resold this way.

2.       Selling Snacks and light drinks

Snacks are everyone’s in between meals they come in handy at the office, in school, on special occasions such as parties, meetings, conferences, seminars and so on. Soft drinks usually accompany them as well just think of selling gala, egg rolls, sausage rolls, donuts and other tasty light snacks especially cakes. These can be sold in schools and in busy places such as bus stops and commercial areas along with lac casera, viju milk, mineral drinks, yoghurt and so on.

3.       Ties, belts and second hand shoes

Most men working in corporate organizations have the need to put on ties from time to time and not all of them can afford to buy new and expensive shoes so why not look for clean, quality ties and second hand shoes to sell to them? 

4.       Novels and Newspapers

With a small table you can start selling novels and newspapers in places with many people trooping up and down. Newspapers may not sell fast but novels do especially with female folks the unmarried, unemployed spinsters and female students. They form the bulk of customers.

5.       GSM Accessories

Chargers, batteries, lcds, casings and so on are always in demand. People need to replace their gsm accessories from time to time.

6.       Recharge cards

Sell recharge cards, the lower denominations to friends, colleagues and family and make some small cash for yourself, it doesn’t cost anything to start at least with N10,000 or even much less you can start selling N100, N200 and maybe N400 naira denominations depending on which one is in greater demand. Recharge cards also have an alternative in VTU

These are some ideas to help out there may still be others if you have any please share it with us.

Monday, November 21, 2011

House Alarm and Security Systems as money spinners

We live in a crime infested world whether we like it or not. Criminals abound everywhere to steal our valuables be they jewellery, cash, documents or other valuables that are too precious to us. Criminals on their own part don’t care who suffers or how important those valuables are just as long as they can sell them off and make easy money for themselves. Well where does that live wealthy people or people with valuables they would want to keep safely?

The obvious solution is to sell them security systems and safes that will keep burglars away or at least protect their property in the event that burglars break in and that is where the money is. In places where there are high incidence of burglary and armed robbery guess what can turn out a lot of cash for business men with a sharp acumen for opportunities? Safes and security systems of course since they would be in demand.

Everybody needs to protect their properties against intruders and burglars, offices, homes even churches, banks, hotels and schools. Think of it where else are these things needed apart from the ones I have mentioned? Government offices and NGOs also need them.

The advantage these systems have over dogs and ordinary security guards is that they can be placed in unnoticeable spots and are no respecters of persons. They don’t get tired and can’t be bribed or put to sleep with tranquilizers and once they go off they alert the police and other security agents.

Security systems could include; Alarms within a fenced area such as a compound that trip-off when someone enters a compound illegally through the fence, over the gate and so on or they could be door and keys or other locks systems, that give off a siren-like sound waking the neighbourhood to the presence of intruders, motion sensors and so on.

Anti-burglary systems also fall under security systems but could also be in their own class for instance motion sensors, laser beaming alarm sensors, wall safes, floor safes, safe boxes even bullet proof steel coated doors and so on.

Not forgetting CCTV systems and other digital recording systems that give round the clock data of movements in and around a house.

In Nigeria of all places the rich are in need of these devices to offer them some measure of security but even at that the challenge remains how to supply these products at reasonable prices and still turn out a profit. But overall it still remains a viable business with endless opportunities. Every serious businessman should give it a thought.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Business ideas for pensioners

For people who have just retired and are looking for what kind of businesses to pursue what I can say to them is - be positive and cautious, you can’t afford to fail in business when you are retired because time isn’t on your side any more. Unlike the younger ones who still have many active years of work ahead of them, the pensioners are in a totally different situation, either succeed or come crashing to the ground with no time to recover.

Having said this, what kinds of businesses are suitable for pensioners? Obviously they would have to be low risk businesses, the kind of businesses that offer little chance of failure and for which there is an easy exit strategy in case of failure. Some businesses that readily come to mind are everyday retail stores in places where there will be sufficient patronage to keep the business afloat. In that case we are talking grocery stores, drug stores, baby and kids stores, boutiques and crèche to mention a few.

Alternatively, if the pensioner in question has specific skills he/she has acquired during his/her working life, then such a person could start a business related to his/her area of interest. For instance, a retired school teacher specializing in say French Language could start a French language school, teaching people how to learn French. This business can be taken online as well selling and promoting products related to the business.
If the pensioner receives sufficient income in the form of gratuity upon retirement, they could go into real estate business like renting out apartments to students or visitors or new entrants in town. Some pensioners simply build apartment buildings which they rent out and collect rents from them, that will become their own pension.

Finally, as a pensioner you may also want to try out internet based business opportunities with low entry requirements such as blogging, affiliate marketing and selling from an e-commerce store such as on ebay. With blogging, you have the advantage of making passive income with minimal work over time just as it is the case with affiliate marketing and the potentials are huge where as with an ecommerce store, there is the problem of marketing your store, its products and services as well as competing against heavy weights in the business.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Business ideas for Nigerian job seekers and Students

This post is going to be like no other why? Simply because it is direct and to the point with a list of business ideas that can make a world of difference for job seekers who are complaining of lacking capital or need ideas on what to do to make money. So here goes my list and classification of business ideas.
What are the criteria by which Nigerian job seekers can find and select business ideas?

1.       A business that can be started at home

a)      Sewing
b)      Repairing computers
c)       Web design
d)      Freelance writing
e)      Job search Expert
f)       Making drinks
g)      Hair and beauty saloon
h)      Make up artistry
i)        Tutoring
j)        Selling groceries
k)      Selling honey
l)        Redistributing DVDs
m)    Blogging
n)      Repairing handsets
o)      Printing
p)      Arts and designs
q)      Reselling processed drinks
r)       Movie rentals
s)       Preparing lecture notes for colleges and institutions
t)       Outdoor catering

2.       With minimal capital
a)      Running an academy in schools
b)      A blogging service
c)       An online web
d)      Cooking for others
e)      Catering
f)       Organizing essay competitions
g)      Organizing events
h)      Planning weddings
i)        Drinks

3.       Could be based on some of their skills, talents
Some of us are naturally gifted and may have skills which have developed after many years of practicing some of our so called natural talents. Here I am talking about
a)      Book keeping
b)      Painting
c)       Marketing
d)      Writing
e)      Research and Analysis
f)       Furniture making
g)      Skills training and acquisitions
h)      Filming and video making
i)        Hat making
j)        Bead Making
k)      Sewing Sweaters

4.       Hobbies and interests may become sources of business ideas

Here the emphasis could be on teaching something you enjoy doing during your leisure time. Usually such things must have a productive and useful end to it. For instance exercise can help people relax, reduce weight, help build healthier muscles, improve blood circulation and is a way to reduce stress. One could therefore set up an exercise instruction class. Likewise dance is another hobby that can be converted to money.
a)      Teaching Chess or dance is schools
b)      Exercise Instructor
c)       Dance Instructor
d)      Voice Trainer

5.       Research and personal studies into special businesses especially case studies
a)      Recruitment services
b)      Travel and tour company
c)       Sports marketing
d)      Printing and Designs
e)      Making fruit drinks
f)       Bag making
g)      Children’s Story book publishing
h)      Car dealership

Friday, November 11, 2011

Best 5 Business Opportunities in Washing and Cleaning Services in Nigeria

There are several ways to make money in Nigeria one of which is in the aspect of washing and cleaning. Many Nigerians need to have washing and cleaning services for various purposes such as laundry, cars, stained apparel, rugs, walls and so on.

The premise of this business

This business works on the condition that there are people who desire to have clean homes, surroundings, cars, clothes and so on but do not have the time or are not able to do them for various reasons. For instance business executives, busy career women and so on all have so much work on their hand that there is very little time for them to attend to such domestic needs. As a result one can start a business in this area specializing in doing a particular service for instance washing cars or removing stubborn stains or dry cleaning.

1.       Dry Cleaning Services in Nigeria

Dry cleaning business thrives in high brow and middle class residential areas. Places with a large concentration of residents who include; expatriate professionals, high net worth individuals, ambassadors, business executives and so on are the main people who patronize dry cleaners. Also tourists and people lodging in hotels are among those who patronize dry cleaning services. The key thing to succeed in this business is to provide excellent customer service in addition to being professional and efficient in service delivery.

2.       Home and Office Cleaning Services

Many homes in high brow areas need special/professional cleaning services for them to stay sparkling clean and retain some of their opulence. If you check around many rich neighbourhoods, there are places that really need a facelift and trust the rich to always want to stand out, they wouldn’t mind paying anyone who can provide that extra touch that will give them some excellent recognition from their friends and associates.

3.       Stain removal business

Ever wondered what people do with some of their fancy clothes that have been stained? What about neat walls with ugly stains on them or rugs and even furniture? Specializing in stain removal is a good business to pursue especially if you have the expertise, equipment and tools. 

4.       Laundromats

A do it yourself ‘dry cleaning’ service in which you visit a dry cleaning shop, you are allowed to use the various washing machines yourself, wash your clothes and dry them only thing is you pay a fee for the service.

5.       Car and vehicle washing service

There are many vehicles plying many dusty roads in Nigeria especially in the northern part of the country. That means there will always be people with dirty and dusty cars to wash and not all of them have families, many of them are unmarried and live alone, they are also very busy people so what do they do? They get others to wash their cars for them and pay for those services. Opening a car wash service in places like Abuja, Lagos and Kano isn’t a bad idea because these places have large populations, dusty roads and ideal markets for it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Business Ideas in Online Courses and e-Classes

There is a growing market of people who desire to receive online classes for various purposes. For instance one may want to study for a Masters Degree course abroad but may not be willing to quit his present job and so has to settle for an online degree Masters Degree course in a foreign university or an online university with an affiliation to a major university abroad.

A venture into online courses could include the following classes of business

1.       University and Degree courses
2.       Classes for hobbies
3.       Martial Arts
4.       Language courses
5.       Teaching School subjects
6.       Crash courses


Since there are people who due to want of time or inadequate resources wish to learn a skill or acquire a degree by online classes the market for this kind of business therefore is for people who want to study courses online on a part time basis. Therefore most of your clients are people who are usually very busy or too far from you to be able to learn what they wish to learn.

University degrees are the most common kind of online courses and classes in these field can be done in various ways such as by video, email or by a web portal wherein registered users can access study materials.


The main one is stiff competition from other online e-courses providers. Finance is another challenge that could pose real problems for newbies in this line of business but with time as the business starts taking shape this will become less of a problem. Technology is constantly evolving and the use of better user experience through improved interactive user interface can be a big plus but it does not necessarily pose a challenge because some courses are email based courses.

Startup Summary

Depending on what kind of business you are into there are a number of requirements for setting up shop. For instance let’s say I want to run an online course in French language, I may have to create an interactive user interface with option of video streaming for my online classes or may be prepare a video of all my classes for the course and market them online. On the other hand I could make my course an email based course and charge my customers a fee for the service. Sometimes an e-course can be in the form of ebooks in which case users simply buy an ebook to learn whatever they wish to learn.