Do you want to start a business in Nigeria and you are concerned that you have no capital to start? Well, I have identified 20 business ideas you can start immediately with little or no capital.
As a business coach, the number one concern wannabe entrepreneurs have is lack of or inadequate start-up capital. Even though I have told those who have cared to listen that capital is not the number 1 business success factor, I have decided to share a few businesses I think you can start with little or no capital. Even if you do not live in Nigeria, you might still find this useful.
Are you a skilled writer? This is a business you can start with little or no capital. All you need to do is to identify the avenues through which you can monetize your writing and start advertising yourself. The avenues through which you can advertise you can monetize writing include ghost-writing, authoring self-help books and selling them, helping people write academic projects, blogging and monetizing your blog, transcribing tapes for pastors and consultants for a fee and so on. For a complete list and how you can go about this, click 12 Ways You Too Can Make Money from Writing.
In the early days of corporate Nigeria, organizations had people who were employed for the role of Messenger. These days, that role has morphed into what we now know as Office Assistant. Despite the role of office assistant, organizations still have certain things they want to achieve but would not employ a full time staff to handle. This is where you come in. What if you submit proposals to various organizations and tell them you can handle any tasks for them at a fee. A specialized example of this is a Nigerian start-up, Iwemoto. All they do is help people to renew their driver license, vehicle license and insurance.
What if you approached various firms and start handling courier service for them at a reduced rate. All you need is to get a dispatch bike. But let’s assume you do not have the resources to buy a bike. That still shouldn’t stop you. If you can find someone or a firm that has lots of low-risk deliveries to make everyday and convince them to handle it, you are in business. One of my coaching clients told me how that they started with one dispatch bike and that the demand is so crazy that they now have the resources they need to buy a second bike. In a city like Lagos, the demand for courier services will keep increasing.
Are you an expert or experienced person in any field? What do you know? Have you been married for up to 20 or 30 years? Have you been getting rapid promotion since you started working? Have you lost weight recently? Create a business through which you can charge people for advice and guidance. Counselling is a business that is gradually growing in Lagos right now and you can jump on the bandwagon and start making money. You can be a career counsellor for kids, a marriage counsellor, a pregnancy counsellor, a financial counsellor and so on, depending on your training and experience.
You can set up a decoration business and at the same time, embark on a training for it. If you get a contract before you complete the training, fine. Your tutor and the other students will be happy to use it to practicalize whatever it is you have been learning in class. Do NOT go into this business if you do not have a passion for it. It is not something you can venture into, make a lot of money and back out. Your professional fees can only improve with time and with every happy customer you serve. So, if you are going to consider doing this, ensure it is for the long haul. And even if you have no capital, you can start. After all, everything you need to do a contract here can be rented.
Parents are looking for people who can help their children excel in their academics. And like many of us did, every child has an area of challenge in their book work. What if you are very good in the area the child has a challenge in? All you need to do is to make it known to as many parents as possible and you will be in high demand. You can build a business around this. And instead of being the one to go do the tutoring, have a team that goes to people’s homes to tutor their children for a fee. The parents pay you. You pay members of the team. You will however need some form of verification process in place before engaging anyone to be a member of your team.
The past Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola once said that Lagosians spend N36billion naira on events annually. This claim was the result of an extensive research done by his administration. Imagine that! And that is for Lagos alone. Annually! So how do you tap into the industry? One way is to learn as much as you can learn through the internet and you will eventually figure something out. Alternatively, find an events coaching programme, learn all you can and start. Even if you have no capital, your passion can help you succeed in the event management industry. If you can afford it, get a website, business cards with address and you are in business.
Have people ever praised you for the way you care for your clothes? Are you good with washing and ironing clothes? If the answer is yes, you can start a laundry business. If you have no capital, this is a viable business to start. Simply learn a few basic things about the various kinds of fabrics. Then start speaking with your neighbours, friends and relatives about the business. If you push the marketing well, you will soon need to employ someone to assist you. With proper accounting, book keeping and money management, you will soon be employing more people. You can start without a shop. You can start at the back of the compound you live in.
Graphics & Printing
If you have a laptop, you can start a business in graphics and printing. You do not need to own a printing press. Just install CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop or both in your laptop and start practising. Very good graphics artists are scarce today and they are in high demand. I have personally changed graphic artists so many times that I now do almost all my designs myself. Many people are not as talented as I am and so will need to continue depending on a graphics person. You can start your business as soon as you can design a business card. No capital is required if you can develop a promising relationship with a few printing presses.
Many companies do not want to be encumbered by the task of going to source for certain supplies. So, they are always glad to have someone do it for them. They do this after carrying out what we call make or buy analysis in management. Approaching a couple of companies to sign you up to save them this stress can start you up on a wonderful business journey. Some companies will require that you register with them as a contractor first. So what do you need to start? Design proposals, get a means of transportation and move around! What about business registration? You do not need to spend on expensive company registration. You can start with business name registration which is a lot less expensive. If you can, create a website for the business.
Clearning firms are in high demand. Home cleaning, office cleaning, post construction cleaning, industrial cleaning, just name it! My former driver was my classmate in high school. At a point, I got tired of him driving me around because I needed to see him making progress and running his own business. So, I started a coaching session with him. When we finished considering some ideas I have presented in this article, he chose to give cleaning a trial. He started his business with the 40K salary he earned on the last month of working with me. Today, he has moved from squatting to living in his own apartment in Ajah. He’s planning his wedding now. This is a good business.
Can you learn a software today and almost become an expert in it by tomorrow? I have a friend who is like this. He can learn Primavera P6 today and teach it to a group of experts tomorrow. If you are like this, why not learn how to use accounting packages like Quickbook and Peachtree? This will enable you to be able to render accounting support to accountants, entrepreneurs and petty traders. Imagine you have up to 10 individuals who are looking up to you for the perfecting of their accounting books every week. Imagine you are charging them say a token of like 10 to 35K per month, depending on the size of their business. Do the maths! You don’t need to be an accountant.
Social media consulting
Many companies have now created (and employing people to fill) the position of Social Media Personnel/Manager. You know it is not very easy to pay an extra staff after writing budget of the year. So are you proficient in the use of the social media? Find individuals and companies you can help with their social media management. All you need to do for them is to find a way of representing them on social media in such a way that they don’t ever have to worry about it. They can then pay you half or one third of what they would have paid a regular salaried staff. Imagine having 10 clients like this. All you need to do is to create a proposal and send it out to potential clients.
Yes, you can start a business in photography if you are one of those looking to start a business with little or no capital. If you have a passion for the profession, you can start learning with your phone. You can also start doing some studies on the internet. If you can raise some money to get a basic camera that can use various kinds of lenses, do it. Then depending on the magnitude of events you are invited to cover, you can rent lenses. In photography, your most important start-up requirement is knowledge. I have watched a former staff of mine become almost a photography superstar. This is because he studies stuff about the vocation as though his life depends on it. No capital? Knowledge is your capital.
Can you cook? You can start a catering business with little or no capital. If you choose the business of catering for events, all you need to do is spend a little money on marketing yourself and your business. You can promote the business using call cards, fliers, websites/blogs, Facebook, etc. If you are able to land a catering contract, the advance payment they make to you can be used as your start up capital. However, if you choose to NOT serve events, there are other avenues you can make money from food business. A lady I know started a food business this way. She approached some banks and told them she’d like to supply their lunch. From supplying lunch, one of the banks gave her a space in their compound to heat food and supply for breakfast and lunch. That’s how her food business started.
Do you have a car? You can start helping people learn how to drive. The only start-up cost you need is money for applying for and obtaining a license to teach people to drive. Just visit the local FRSC (Federal Road Safety Corps) office and they will tell you what to do. You can even be lucky to pay for the license with what your first students pay for driving lessons if your marketing is on point. In these days that there is a school in almost every 5 streets, finding a school that has ample space to teach driving won’t be a tall order. If you do not have a car, you can approach someone who has a car you notice they have not be using and propose something to them. Hopefully, the car will still be in a perfect working condition.
This business is now becoming popular. It runs in such a way that people who are too busy contract their shopping needs to someone who is a “professional personal shopper”. Personal shoppers now help people to shop for such things as food stuff and household items, clothes, shoes, art and so on. This is almost like messengering above. But here, the client has to really trust you to part with their cash. One of the disadvantages of doing this business is that some shoppers buy things for certain clients on credit and never get paid. You really have to protect yourself from people and scenarios like this.
If you love caring for children, this is a very good business for you. You need little or no capital to start this. Just rearrange a little part of your home and redecorate it with coloured papers, posters and so on. You are in business! The rest lies in your ability to approach parents and convince them to trust you with their children. If you are dilligent, a daycare can easily become a nursery school which can become a primary school and so on. But you are going to need assistance from a relative or friend.
In my post about how to spot business opportunity, I wrote about how I once got an accounting gig and gave it to an accountant to handle, paid him and kept the balance as my profit. If you have many experts around you, you need no capital to start a business. All you need to do is find a way to market what the experts around you do, negotiate with clients and turn the work over to them for a fee. Pay them when they finish the work and keep the balance. Cool, right? Before doing this however, you must have discussed certain terms and conditions with experts. Watch out for experts in these areas – accounting, translators from English Language to French (or any other language), electricians, graphics designer, event decorators and so on.
This is different from counselling in that you go beyond merely giving advice to people. In coaching, you give people one-on-one guidance and take them (practically) from where they are to where they desire to be. The coach is almost like a mentor to the coachee. So are you an expert in a particular field? Have you learnt a way to pass ALL kinds of job interviews? Have you discovered a way to raise capital for any kind of business? You can coach people for a fee in any of your areas of expertise. You do not need much money to start a business here. All you need is a lot of passion, avenues to make yourself known to your potential customer and a brand.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to write it in the comment section below. Cheers!