Doing Business In Nigeria: Some Insights To Keep You Winning (1)

So here you are.

You’ve decided to take the plunge. You’ve checked the numbers. The data looked good. You poured over all again. The size of the market. The lay of the land. The opportunity to disrupt the local offerings and challenge the established players. Yes, there is a lot of promise down here. Or is it up here? Well, that depends on where your home country is.

The pull of the force called Nigeria is real. You can’t resist it. You just want to be a part of the exciting things happening here. Great! But you still have that niggling feeling that you’re missing out something. Yes you are. It’s called insight. Deep local insight.

No matter how extensive the data trawl is, if you fail to connect the dots and understand the stories behind the data, then you’ll miss things out. What are the unspoken and nuanced realities that you can’t glean from just data? That is the importance of deep rooted local insights.

So, here are a few nuggets we feel will serve you well as you consider doing business here.

The relationship with time here is different. It is unfortunate but true. We don’t mark it by seconds, minutes our hours. We mark it by moments. The concept of African time is notoriously vexing for many from other cultures and many Nigerians who are driven by excellence. Mark my word. Not that our people love to make appointments late. But this place has its peculiar vibe. Your known frame of reference may not work. Our rhythm is different. We dance to a different tune.

Have patience the size of George, the Great Dane. All may not click into place at once. Business won’t start booming once you open shop. The Nigerian market at first may seem like an unwieldy beast. To ride it, you must break it. But for the more delicate minded, think of it as a shy maiden. With tender and patient touches, she’ll do your bidding. Try earning the respect and trust of your customers first.

Never back off from opportunities to meet and connect with people. Usually, the temptation will be to stay within the comfort of your expat circle. Doing this will rob you of the chance to enrich your understanding of the rich tapestry that is Nigeria. Every interaction comes with a unique layer of experience and knowledge. Knowledge that will become useful, like when striking a new deal.

Cultivating people is also about nurturing those in our employ and your clients. Your workforce and clients are your harvest. If your client has a good season, your business in turn will have a bumper harvest, so invest in having the right people buy into your dream and you’ll surely reap the fruits of your labour.