In a world where entrepreneurship is a pathway to economic growth and self-empowerment, Nigeria stands as a fertile ground for aspiring business owners seeking to sow the seeds of success.
With its vibrant markets, diverse population, and growing digital landscape, the country offers a myriad of opportunities for individuals with limited capital to start their own ventures.
This article explores the realm of possibility by delving into some of the cheapest businesses to start in Nigeria, shedding light on the untapped potential that can pave the way for aspiring entrepreneurs. Whether you’re a budding business magnate or someone simply looking to make their mark, read on to discover the avenues that can lead you to financial independence and prosperity in the vibrant Nigerian business ecosystem.
7 major challenges of doing business in Nigeria
Embarking on the journey of starting a business in Nigeria can be a rewarding endeavor, but it’s essential to be aware of the challenges that lie ahead. The Nigerian business landscape, while brimming with potential, presents several obstacles that aspiring entrepreneurs must navigate. These challenges can significantly impact the feasibility and success of a new venture.
Here are some of the prominent hurdles that individuals often face when starting a business in Nigeria:
- High Startup Costs: One of the most significant challenges for budding entrepreneurs is the high startup costs associated with establishing a business. The costs of rent, infrastructure, equipment, and initial stock can be substantial, particularly in urban centers like Lagos and Abuja. For those with limited capital, finding ways to minimize these expenses without compromising on quality can be a daunting task.
- Limited Access to Capital: Access to funding remains a significant barrier for many aspiring entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Traditional lending institutions often have stringent requirements, making it challenging for small businesses to secure loans. Even though there’s a growing interest in entrepreneurship from investors and venture capitalists, competition for funding is fierce. This lack of capital can hinder the growth and expansion of businesses, forcing many to rely on personal savings or informal sources of finance.
- Difficult Regulatory Environment: Navigating the regulatory environment in Nigeria can be a complex and time-consuming process. Bureaucratic red tape, unclear guidelines, and inconsistent enforcement of regulations can pose significant challenges for new businesses. Entrepreneurs often find themselves spending valuable time and resources dealing with permits, licenses, taxes, and compliance issues, detracting from their core business activities.
- Infrastructure Deficit: Inadequate infrastructure, such as unreliable power supply, poor road networks, and limited access to the internet, can pose operational challenges for businesses. Power outages, for instance, can disrupt production and increase operational costs due to the need for alternative energy sources. These infrastructure deficits can hinder business efficiency and growth prospects.
- Competition and Market Saturation: Many sectors in Nigeria are already saturated with businesses, making it challenging for newcomers to find their niche and stand out. Intense competition can drive down prices and margins, making it difficult for startups to generate substantial profits.
- Insecurity and Instability: Socio-political instability and security concerns in certain regions of Nigeria can impact business operations. The threat of insecurity, including theft, vandalism, and even attacks on businesses, can deter potential entrepreneurs from entering certain markets or regions.
- Inadequate Business Support Services: Access to business support services such as mentorship, training, and professional advisory services can be limited, especially for those in more remote areas. This lack of guidance can hinder the development of essential business skills and knowledge needed to navigate challenges effectively.
Despite these challenges, Nigeria also offers numerous opportunities and a resilient entrepreneurial spirit. Those who are willing to persevere, adapt, and innovate can overcome these obstacles and build successful businesses that contribute to the country’s economic growth and development.
It’s crucial for aspiring entrepreneurs to conduct thorough research, seek guidance from experienced mentors, and develop a solid business plan that addresses these challenges head-on.
Why start small?
Starting a cheap business in Nigeria holds immense significance, serving as a strategic approach for entrepreneurs to overcome the challenges inherent in the local business landscape and enhance their prospects of success.
Here’s why opting for a low-cost venture can be a game-changer for aspiring business owners:
- Reduced Financial Risk: Launching a business with limited capital helps mitigate the financial risk associated with entrepreneurship. By focusing on low-cost business models, entrepreneurs can test their ideas, refine their strategies, and learn from potential failures without risking substantial investments. This approach encourages experimentation and innovation while safeguarding against crippling financial losses.
- Access to Market Entry: The barriers to entry are lower for inexpensive businesses, allowing entrepreneurs to enter the market more swiftly. This agility is crucial in a competitive landscape where timing can make or break a business. Quick market entry enables entrepreneurs to capitalize on emerging trends, meet consumer demands, and establish their foothold before larger competitors can react.
- Flexibility and Adaptability: A lean startup with minimal overhead provides entrepreneurs with the flexibility to adapt to changing market dynamics and customer preferences. This adaptability is essential in an environment where consumer behaviors and market conditions can shift rapidly. Cheap businesses can pivot and evolve without the burden of significant sunk costs, ensuring survival and growth in challenging times.
- Demonstrating Viability: Starting with a low-cost business showcases an entrepreneur’s ability to do more with less, which can attract the attention of potential investors, lenders, or partners. Demonstrating viability through efficient resource allocation and revenue generation can open doors to additional funding and growth opportunities down the line.
- Learning Experience: The process of building a cheap business equips entrepreneurs with valuable lessons in resourcefulness, problem-solving, and resilience. These skills are indispensable in navigating the various challenges Nigeria’s business environment presents. Overcoming scarcity and constraints fosters creative thinking and a pragmatic approach to decision-making.
- Targeting Underserved Markets: A low-cost business model can cater to underserved or niche markets that might be overlooked by larger players. By addressing specific needs within these segments, entrepreneurs can carve out a unique space for their businesses, establish strong customer loyalty, and build a sustainable customer base.
- Building Incremental Growth: Starting small allows entrepreneurs to gradually build their businesses, incrementally expanding their operations as they gain traction and generate revenue. This approach aligns with the reality of limited access to capital and provides a pathway to self-sustaining growth, ultimately increasing the chances of long-term success.
- Fostering Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: A thriving ecosystem of low-cost businesses contributes to a diverse and resilient entrepreneurial landscape. Such businesses generate employment opportunities, stimulate local economies, and contribute to the overall socio-economic development of Nigeria.
50 low-cost business ideas with high profit
Here’s a list of 50 cheap business ideas you can consider starting in Nigeria with little money. Keep in mind that the feasibility and success of these ideas will depend on various factors, including market demand, location, and skills:
- Freelance Writing: Turn your writing skills into a thriving business by offering your services to individuals and businesses in need of high-quality content. Write articles, blog posts, website copy, and more on a variety of topics. With the flexibility to choose your clients and projects, you can earn income while honing your craft and expanding your portfolio.
- Graphic Design Services: Provide creative design solutions for clients, crafting visuals such as logos, banners, and promotional materials.
- Social Media Management: Manage social media accounts for businesses, curating content, engaging with followers, and growing their online presence.
- Content Creation (Blogging, Vlogging): Capitalize on the digital era by creating engaging blog posts or videos about topics you’re passionate about or knowledgeable in. Share valuable information, insights, or entertainment to build a dedicated online audience. You can monetize through ads, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing, all while expressing your creativity and expertise.
- Tutoring or Online Classes: With the advancement of technology and the increasing demand for education, offering tutoring or online classes is a lucrative business option. Whether you’re an expert in academic subjects, languages, test preparation, music, arts, or any specialized skill, you can share your knowledge and expertise with students seeking to enhance their learning.
Through personalized lessons and interactive online platforms, you can connect with students globally, providing them with tailored guidance and helping them achieve their academic or personal goals. This business not only offers flexibility and convenience but also contributes to the growth and development of individuals through accessible and effective education.
- Personal Shopping Services: Provide a convenient and tailored shopping experience for busy individuals by assisting them in finding the perfect products and items they need. Whether it’s clothes, accessories, gifts, or everyday necessities, offer personalized recommendations and options that match their preferences and requirements. This service saves clients time and effort, offering them a hassle-free way to shop for their desired items while you earn a fee for your expertise and assistance.
- Event Planning: Turn your organizational skills into a profitable venture by offering event planning services. From weddings and parties to corporate gatherings and conferences, help clients bring their visions to life. Coordinate logistics, manage vendors, handle decorations, and ensure smooth execution, relieving clients of stress while creating memorable experiences.
- Handmade Crafts and Jewelry: Craft unique and artistic handmade items like crafts, jewelry, and accessories for sale.
- Mobile Car Wash: Bring the convenience of a car wash directly to customers by offering mobile car washing services. With all the necessary equipment and supplies, you can clean and detail vehicles at clients’ preferred locations, whether it’s their homes, offices, or parking lots.
- House Cleaning Services: Create a clean and organized environment for busy homeowners by offering professional house cleaning services. From routine maintenance to deep cleaning, provide thorough and meticulous cleaning of living spaces, kitchens, bathrooms, and more.
- Home Baking: Turn your love for baking into a business by offering delicious homemade baked goods. From cakes and cookies to bread and pastries, create delectable treats that bring joy to people’s palates. Whether it’s for special occasions, celebrations, or everyday indulgence, your home-baked goods can be sold online, through local markets, or by taking orders directly from customers. This business allows you to showcase your culinary creativity, connect with customers through their taste buds, and generate income doing what you love.
- Catering Services: Catering services are a great business for people who love to cook and have a knack for hospitality. You can cater weddings, birthday parties, corporate events, and more. Startup costs are relatively low, as you can start by catering small events out of your own home. As your business grows, you can rent a commercial kitchen and hire staff.
- Online Reselling (e.g., Fashion, Accessories): You can capitalize on e-commerce by starting an online reselling business. To do this, you can source products from wholesalers, manufacturers, or other sources, and then sell them online. You can use popular online e-commerce websites like Jiji, Jumia, Konga, or even create your own website.
You don’t need to maintain physical inventory; instead, you can fulfill orders as they come in. This means that you only need to purchase products when you have a customer who wants to buy them. This can save you money on storage and other costs.
To be successful in an online reselling business, you need to focus on identifying popular and niche products, setting competitive prices, and providing excellent customer service. With strategic marketing and effective product selection, you can generate income through commissions on each sale while reaching a wide online audience.
- Print-on-Demand Merchandise: You can create and sell custom-designed merchandise without the need for upfront inventory by partnering with print-on-demand platforms. These platforms allow you to offer products like T-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and more, featuring your original graphics or artwork. When a customer places an order, the product is printed and shipped directly to them, allowing you to focus on design and marketing. This business model allows you to showcase your creativity, cater to specific niches, and earn income through a percentage of each sale, all while minimizing the risks associated with traditional inventory management.
- Fitness Coaching: Guide clients toward their fitness goals with customized workout plans, nutritional advice, and motivational support. Whether in person or online, help individuals achieve healthier lifestyles while growing your coaching business.
- Photography Services: Capture special moments and memories through professional photography. Offer services for events, portraits, weddings, and more, showcasing your creative eye and technical skills. Deliver high-quality images that clients will cherish for a lifetime while earning income from your passion for photography.
- E-book Publishing: Turn your knowledge or creativity into published works by writing and self-publishing e-books. Share expertise, stories, or insights on platforms like Amazon Kindle, reaching a global audience and earning royalties from each sale. This business allows you to showcase your expertise while generating passive income from your digital publications.
- Virtual Assistant Services: Provide remote administrative support to businesses and individuals by offering tasks such as scheduling, email management, data entry, and more. Assist clients in managing their workload and streamlining their operations while earning income as a virtual assistant.
- Interior Decorating: Bring spaces to life with personalized interior decorating services. Cater to your clients’ tastes and styles by selecting furniture, color schemes, and decor that enhance their living or working environments. Create functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces that reflect your clients’ personalities, all while earning income from your creative vision and design expertise.
- Laptop Repair: Starting a laptop repair business in Nigeria is a great business idea. Laptops are becoming increasingly popular in Nigeria, and there is a growing demand for laptop repair services.
- Mobile Phone Repair: You can repair and troubleshoot issues with smartphones and devices, providing solutions for problems like broken screens, battery replacements, and software glitches. You can help clients regain the functionality of their devices while earning income through your expertise in mobile phone repair. This business caters to the growing demand for tech repairs in our digital age
- Plant Nursery: Start your own plant nursery business and cultivate a variety of plants, flowers, and gardening supplies. Cater to gardening enthusiasts and individuals looking to enhance their living spaces with a wide selection of indoor and outdoor plants, from ornamental flowers to edible herbs. Nurture and share your passion for plants while generating income from sales and building a community of fellow gardeners.
- Dropshipping Business: Dropshipping is a business model where you sell products without having to carry any inventory. When a customer places an order on your website, you simply contact the supplier and they will ship the product directly to the customer. As a result, you don’t have to worry about storing products, packing orders, or shipping them.
Dropshipping can be a great way to start a business with little investment. You can start with a small budget and grow your business as you gain more customers. Dropshipping is also a great way to test out new products and markets without having to commit to a large inventory.
- Fruit Juice Stand: Starting a fruit juice stand is a great business idea for people who love to make and sell fresh fruit juices. It is a relatively low-cost business to start, and it can be very profitable if you are located in a busy area.
- Carpet Cleaning Services: Starting a carpet cleaning business in Nigeria is a great business idea. Carpets are a common feature in homes and businesses in Nigeria, and they can get dirty quickly. Carpet cleaning services are in high demand, and there is not a lot of competition in the market.
- Gardening Services: Share your love for plants and outdoor spaces by offering gardening services. Provide a range of services, from lawn mowing and weeding to landscaping and garden design, catering to homeowners and businesses looking to maintain or enhance their outdoor areas.
- Lawn Care Services: Starting a lawn care service in Nigeria is a great business idea for people who love working outdoors and who are passionate about lawn care. It is a relatively low-cost business to start, and it can be very profitable if you are located in an area with a lot of homeowners with lawns.
- Bicycle Repair: Starting a bicycle repair business in Nigeria is a great business idea for people who are passionate about bicycles and who have the skills to fix them. It is a relatively low-cost business to start, and it can be very profitable if you are located in an area with a lot of cyclists.
- Hair Styling Services: Starting a hair styling business in Nigeria can be a great way to make money and be creative. There are many different types of hair styling services that you can offer, such as cutting, styling, coloring, and braiding.
- House Painting Services: Transform homes with your painting skills by offering professional house painting services. Provide interior and exterior painting, as well as color consultation, to help clients refresh and revitalize their living spaces.
- Babysitting Services: Offer trusted and reliable childcare services to parents in need of a break or assistance. Create a safe and nurturing environment for children, engage in age-appropriate activities, and ensure their well-being while their parents are away. This business allows you to earn income while offering peace of mind to busy parents, knowing that their children are in capable hands. It requires responsibility, patience, and genuine care for children’s development and safety.
- Resume Writing Services: Starting a resume writing service business in Nigeria is a great business idea for people who are passionate about helping people find jobs. It is a relatively low-cost business to start, and it can be very profitable if you are able to attract clients.
- Mobile App Development (Basic Apps): Utilize your coding skills to create simple mobile applications that address specific needs. Develop apps that offer solutions, convenience, or entertainment for users. Whether it’s a task manager, calculator, or a basic game, you can offer these apps on platforms like the App Store or Google Play. This business allows you to monetize through app sales, in-app purchases, or ads while showcasing your programming prowess and creativity.
- Photocopy and Printing Services: Provide convenient photocopying and printing solutions to individuals and businesses. Offer services such as copying documents, printing flyers, business cards, posters, and more.
- Food Delivery Services: Starting a food delivery service business in Nigeria is a great business idea. The demand for food delivery services is growing rapidly in Nigeria, as people are becoming more and more busy and do not have time to cook.
- Computer Training: Starting a computer training business in Nigeria is a great idea. The demand for computer skills is growing rapidly in Nigeria, as more and more businesses and schools are adopting technology.
- Dry Cleaning Pickup and Delivery: Starting a dry cleaning pickup and delivery business is a great business idea in Nigeria. The demand for dry cleaning services is high, and people are increasingly looking for convenience when it comes to getting their clothes cleaned.
- Party Supply Rentals: Add excitement to events by providing a range of party supplies and decorations for rent. With a wide selection of tables, chairs, linens, decorations, and even entertainment equipment like photo booths, you can cater to various occasions, from birthdays and weddings to corporate events and celebrations.
This business allows you to help clients create memorable events while earning income through rental fees. It requires a knack for event planning and creativity to provide the perfect ambiance for each gathering.
- Car Rental Services: Starting a car rental business is a great business idea in Nigeria. The demand for car rental services is high, and there is a lot of potential for growth.
You can start by partnering and promoting already running car rental businesses while earning commissions on successful rentals.
- Home Renovation Services: Transform homes by offering comprehensive home renovation and remodeling services. Collaborate with clients to upgrade their living spaces, whether it’s kitchen and bathroom makeovers, adding extensions, or enhancing overall aesthetics.
- Used Electronics Reselling: Start a business by reselling pre-owned electronics and gadgets. Source items like smartphones, laptops, cameras, and gaming consoles from individuals or refurbished electronics wholesalers. Refurbish, repair, or clean them as needed before offering them for sale through online platforms or in-person marketplaces.
- Used Bookstore: Starting a used bookstore is a great business idea in Nigeria, especially in cities where there are a lot of students and young professionals. This business allows you to share your love for literature while earning income through book sales.
- Social Media Influencer: Becoming a social media influencer is a great career option in Nigeria. There are many opportunities for social media influencers in Nigeria, as the country has a large and growing population of internet users.
- Mobile Nail Salon: Bring nail services directly to clients by starting a mobile nail salon. Offer a range of nail treatments, from manicures and pedicures to nail art and enhancements. Provide convenient and personalized services at clients’ homes or preferred locations, offering them a pampering experience without the need to visit a traditional salon.
- Online Language Classes: Share your linguistic skills and cultural insights by offering online language classes. Teach students from around the world to learn a new language or improve their language proficiency.
- Mobile Phone Charging Stations: Provide a convenient solution for people on the go by setting up mobile phone charging stations in public places. Offer a secure and reliable charging service for smartphones and other electronic devices, helping users stay connected while they’re out and about.
- Personal Shopping Services: Help individuals save time and find the perfect items by offering personal shopping services. Understand clients’ preferences and needs, and then curate a selection of clothing, accessories, or other products that match their style and requirements.
- Travel Planning Services: Turn your passion for travel into a business by offering comprehensive travel planning services. Create customized itineraries, book accommodations, arrange transportation, and provide recommendations for activities and attractions.
Whether it’s family vacations, honeymoons, or solo adventures, help clients experience seamless and memorable trips while earning income through service fees.
- Wedding Planning: Starting a wedding planning business is a great business idea in Nigeria. The demand for wedding planning services is high, and there is a lot of potential for growth.
- Mobile Massage Services: Provide relaxation and wellness on the go by offering mobile massage services. Bring therapeutic massages directly to clients’ homes or offices, offering them convenience and comfort. Tailor your massage techniques to clients’ preferences, helping them unwind and destress while you earn income through your massage expertise.
- Online Survey Taking: Earn income by participating in online surveys and market research studies. Join survey platforms that connect you with companies seeking consumer feedback on products, services, and trends.
This serves more like a side hustle, as you’d need to take a lot of surveys to actually make good money to pay your bills.
- Courier Services: Facilitate the swift and reliable delivery of packages and documents by offering courier services. Pick up and deliver items for individuals and businesses, ensuring timely and secure transportation.
- Proofreading and Editing Services: Leverage your language and grammar skills by offering professional proofreading and editing services. Help individuals and businesses refine their written content, ensuring accuracy, clarity, and coherence. Offer services for documents, articles, websites, and more, earning income through your attention to detail and linguistic expertise.
- Mobile DJ Services: Bring the party to life by offering mobile DJ services for events and celebrations. Provide music, entertainment, and a lively atmosphere for weddings, parties, corporate events, and more. Bring your equipment and music selection to various venues, and ensure guests have a memorable time dancing and enjoying the music.
- Social Media Marketing Consulting: Utilize your knowledge of social media platforms to offer consulting services to businesses looking to enhance their online presence. Provide strategies for content creation, audience engagement, and targeted advertising campaigns. Help clients leverage social media to connect with their target audience and achieve their marketing goals while earning income from your expertise.
- Online Bookstore: Create a digital haven for book enthusiasts by starting an online bookstore. Curate a diverse collection of new and used books across genres, offering readers a wide selection of reading material. Provide a user-friendly website where customers can browse, purchase, and have books delivered to their doorstep.
- Dog Training Services: Channel your love for dogs into a business by offering professional dog training services. Help dog owners improve their pets’ behavior, obedience, and socialization. Provide one-on-one training sessions or group classes, teaching commands, leash manners, and more.
- Mobile Haircut Services: Bring hairstyling to clients’ doorsteps by offering mobile haircut services. Provide haircuts, styling, and grooming services in the comfort of clients’ homes, offices, or preferred locations.
In conclusion, starting a business doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor, especially in Nigeria where challenges such as high startup costs and limited access to capital can be significant barriers. By focusing on low-cost business ideas, entrepreneurs can overcome these challenges and increase their chances of success. From providing services like tutoring, content creation, and personal shopping to venturing into sectors such as mobile car wash, event planning, and online language classes, the options are diverse and cater to a range of skills and interests.