How to start a profitable small business in Nigeria with low capital

Setting up a profitable small scale business in Nigeria can be a rewarding endeavour, given the fact that the country has a rapidly growing economy. Or you are just an entrepreneur hustling to survive and pay bills. 

Nigeria is one of the largest economies in Africa, with a vast oil and gas industry, agriculture, and telecommunications. Starting a small business in such an environment , you need to first of all understand the country’s  economic structure that favours any aspiring entrepreneur.

Identifying a Profitable Business Idea Market Research

Before going into any business especially in Nigeria it is a must that you conduct a thorough market research to identify gaps in the market, customer needs, and potential competition. The business scene is very competitive. Having an existing market data will richly inform your business idea and decision.

Profitable small business opportunities in Nigeria

Here are some small business ideas you can start in Nigeria with relatively low startup costs:

1.  Food and Beverage Business

  • Fast Food Restaurant
  • Catering Services
  • Mobile Food Truck

2.  Agr0-business

  • Poultry Farming
  • Fish Farming
  • Vegetable Farming

3.  Retail Business

  • Boutique
  • Cosmetics Store
  • Online Store

4. Tech and Digital Services

  • Freelance Writing and Blogging (fiverr, upwork selar) etc.
  • Web Development
  • Digital Marketing Agency

5. Healthcare and Wellness

  • Pharmacy
  • Fitness Center
  • Herbal Medicine


Creating your Business Plan For Your Start up

Now, after getting to choose the business you intend to start, the next step is to write down a business plan. Many small business owners tend to overlook writing down their business plan. A business plan is more or less the blueprint that will guide the structure of your business and keep you in profits. That includes budget and expenses. Every business needs a plan no matter how small. Draft a snapshot of your business idea, including its objectives, mission, and vision. It should be compelling enough to even attract investors.

1.  Market Analysis

The next step is to do proper market research in the desired area of business. Include information about your target audience, market size, and growth potential. Determine if the business can accommodate growth, is it seasonal, if any, what are the challenges people doing the said business are likely to face and ask these questions without shame.


2.  Business Sales Strategy

Carefully outline how you plan to attract and retain your own customers. Determine the marketing channels you will use, sales strategy using a customer service approach.

3. Budgeting and Funding Your Business

Now when it comes to budgeting, it is important you have a detailed financial plan that includes startup costs, revenue projections and funding requirements.

4. Estimating Startup Costs

Break down your startup costs into categories such as equipment, inventory, marketing, and legal fees. Here’s a rough estimate for starting a small business in Nigeria:

Registration and Licensing: ₦20,000 – ₦50,000

Rent and Utilities: ₦100,000 – ₦300,000 (depending on location and size)

Equipment and Inventory: ₦200,000 – ₦500,000

Marketing: ₦50,000 – ₦150,000

Miscellaneous: ₦50,000 – ₦100,000


How to Raise Funds for Small Business in Nigeria?

You can consider different funding sources such as personal savings, family and friends, bank loans, microfinance institutions, and government grants. Platforms like the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) offer financial support to small businesses (sme’s).

understanding local laws, registration processes, tax obligations, and compliance requirements. The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is the primary body responsible for business registration in Nigeria.

Legal Requirements and Business Registration

After choosing a suitable business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company) based on your business needs and goals.  the next step is to properly register your business.this here will build trust among your customers and let them know your a legal entity they cant conduct business with.

  • Conduct a name search and reserve your business name.
  • Complete necessary forms, including the CAC 1.1 form for company registration.
  • Submit the completed forms along with required documents and fees.
  • Obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and register for Value Added Tax (VAT) if applicable. Once approved, you’ll receive a Certificate of Incorporation.

SEE MORE, For more detailed info on how to Register your business. ; How to Register Your Business with the CAC in Nigeria


Location and Business Infrastructure

After a detailed lookout select a strategic location that is accessible to your target market. Ensure you have the necessary infrastructure, such as electricity, water supply, and internet connectivity.

Hiring Employees (optional if you have limited capital)

Recruit skilled and reliable employees. Clearly define roles and responsibilities, and provide adequate training to ensure smooth operations.Invest in essential and equipment that will enhance efficiency and productivity specific to your industry.

Marketing Your Business

Utilize traditional marketing methods such as word of mouth, flyers, posters, radio adverts, and networking events to promote your business locally.

Also consider leveraging social media for marketing on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to help you reach a wider and loyal audience. You can also list your business on online directories and e-commerce platforms.

Collect feedback and use it to improve your products and services.


Managing Finances

It is important to maintain accurate financial records to track income and expenses. Monitor your cash flow to ensure you have enough funds to cover operational costs.  offering discounts for early payments and managing inventory effectively to build a firm bond with your customers.


Financial Planning and Budgeting

It is important that after creating a budget you stick to it to avoid unnecessary expenses. Regularly review your financial performance and adjust your budget as required.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Many small businesses tend to struggle to secure the needed funding. To overcome this, explore various financing options and build a strong business case to attract investors as listed above.

  • Issues like power outages can disrupt operations. Invest in backup power solutions like generators and inverters.

Starting a profitable small business in Nigeria requires careful planning, thorough market research, and a solid understanding of the local business environment. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can properly overcome the challenges and set your business up for success.


For retail businesses, having an online store can significantly boost your sales. Platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce,Jumia and even Whatsap offer users solutions for setting up and managing an e-commerce business. With the right approach and resources, you can build a successful and profitable small business in 2024 and beyond.


Tandu Emmanuel

Tandu is a Blogger, PR, Writer, Web Designer & Digital creator. Focus on promoting Educative content in AFRICA and the world at large. He is also a passionate expert in the world of profitable career pursuit.

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