Being a businessman or woman in Nigeria, comes with a whole lot of risks, more than any other means of survival, and deciding to go into business must be with a prepared mindset for many unfavorable things.
In a country where honesty is rarely a virtue, lawlessness is on the high side, security challenges are increasing every day, it is expected that the business world must have a fair share of these menaces.
Today you hear that a new shop is in town and it is selling big, and before you count months, you will discover that many are already out of business for many reasons, that go beyond faulty business or transacting style or methods, in what I could be called strange disasters.
These are 5 Things that hinder the progress of a Local Business in Nigeria.
1. Robbery-Attack: I was with an elderly man at a newspaper joint last Saturday, when another man greeted him and they shared complementaries.
After the man had gone, the elderly man beside me asked if I knew the man that just greeted.
I answered No. He replied back by saying “Eyah” and continued, by saying if only you know.
That man you just saw is the popular Mr. Lagbaja, one of the richest local businessmen in this town. He owned a popular stationeries shop at So-so-so place.
He was robbed consistently for 3 times and never got back since then. Thank God for his few investments. He stopped doing business since then. He is now a farmer. I feel sad and note the lesson. This is like many stories we hear about how some hoodlums blocked traders on their business trips and take away everything they have. I know like two traders who have been victims of these thefts, times without number.
Well, apart from accidents, and risks of taking money around, I think the Nigerian business environment is getting matured daily, where issues like these can be averted.
Now you can send your stock orders to trusted suppliers online and you can pick them up from haulage companies and if you must travel, please don’t take around huge sum, rather put all your money in banks and practice cashless policies.
Get bank apps and learn how to use mobile banking too. They are services best for business people to enjoy.
2. Swindlers & 419: A respected brother once told me during NYSC how fraudsters came to his mother’s Cloth selling shop with Charm/Juju and carted away all goods and before they could realize what’s happening, she’s into real serious trouble and debt. It leads the family into years of suffering as they have to start life all over again.
Similarly, I went to an Igbo man shop months ago, to make order for some stocks that we need on our developing site, and after the transfer money from my phone has been made, and alert message beeped on his phone, the Igbo man still have to put a call through to his account manager at the bank to help him verify the payment.
I was worried for minutes, and have to ask him, “Sir, would I be lying? At least you saw me doing the transfer process now”.
He smiled and said, “my brother, in this business, one has to shine his eye very well, I have seen things, from fake money to fake alerts. Yes, a fake alert that is programmed and looks real.
Wow! I learned something again. The business world doesn’t only requires smartness but being wary of cronies. So shine your eyes always o.
3. Fire Outbreak: A popular Igbo Rug and foam selling Shop were gutted by fire days ago in my town, and the gory look of the burnt materials would make anyone cry. Rugs worth millions of Naira were burnt into ashes in the inferno.
Struggling retailers selling small handsets & phone accessories that make use of this Igbo man shop to keep their wares were not spared, as their items were equally razed into ashes in the incident.
As I was going to site that day, I saw this young girl (Possibly young school leavers just starting small to survive) crying profusely and rolling on the ground. I felt for them and more than anytime saw how fire can empty everything a man has. Do whatever you can please, to avoid fire outbreak in your business place.
4. Communal Clashes/Crisis: In Lagos sometimes last year, I met a man from South-South, who recounts stories of Jos crisis and how he would do anything to ensure peace reigns between him and his hosting communities.
In Jos, he was a big businessman with wife and kids looking good until the Crisis broke out and they have to run for safety, otherwise they will not leave to tell the stories.
We all remember the Xenophobic attacks in South Africa and saw on videos how locals stole and destroyed wares belonging to Nigerian businessmen, in what they referred and termed as – gaining back their business territories & markets from foreigners who have almost sent them out of business.
The ugly pictures of lives and properties between Yoruba-Hausa crisis in Ile-Ife is another event that teaches about the danger of communal clashes on the business environments for local businessmen.
I think the lesson here is that before anything else, always be reminded of what feeds you and how rooting for violence can mar your source of living for life. Always give peace a chance for lives and business sake.
5. Changing Business Climate: The Recessional period in 2017 will forever leave an unforgettable memory and experience for many local businessmen and women in Nigeria. From unfavorable business policies to increasing dollar rise and many other harsh business climates
While it lasted, loads of business persons were forced to stop trading, transacting and doing business till date.
This is common to most businesses when there is a change of government or leadership which evidently mean, a change in the political atmosphere, that usually put on hold many things until after a year or two when things pick up again.
I think all businessmen and women should always prepare for a time like this, as part of their plans for possible obstacles for business strides.
I just feel like putting down these to guide and help someone as they prepare for the business world. I hope it helps.