I am recalling an article I wrote in Spanish almost a year ago when I started discovering and experimenting with LinkedIn. And I have to say that, may be the basics are still intact, the content has actually change, in my own opinion, and on the long run, for good.
Firstly, let’s talk about the mind set needed to export your product to Nigeria successfully, this means, for the venture not to end in an sporadic transaction.
You are to be aware about the market tendencies: This is very important because I have seen examples like, somebody is sharing thoughts with some colleagues in an informal business meeting where he or she has been told for Nigeria to be a huge and so good market (which is true), and with that information wants to just go on adventure.
The truth is that Nigeria is a large and so much competitive market, strongly developed in Marketing, Media and Publicity Tools that, at a point in time you will have to use to boost your product or your business, and that’s money.
Nigeria is an Emerging market that has been importing countless types of goods for decades and now is finally changing, may be by force, its economic model. Therefore it is not a waste of time or money to conduct a detailed Market Research before you start looking for local agents or representatives to do the work for you, that may end up reporting cero results, for so many reasons.
Is not a telephone call or emailing business type: Good business in Nigeria are to be set and close locally, and not over the phone. I am not saying that is not possible. But I believe that’s the root of many of those stories about failed or fake dealings with Nigeria.
Empathise with the country: What I mean is that, if you are thinking about selling your product without getting to know and interact with the people and the country you are doing business with, it is going to be quite difficult for you to build a stable and fruitful deal with Nigeria. This is something that many foreign companies of certain level are used to, but we shouldn’t think it has to be different for us, no matter how big or small our company is.
Get a local partner: To get a local partner can be easy, to get the right local partner maybe not that easy. Not because of anything bad compulsorily, but because, the affinity in terms of objectives, business ideals, ways and principles we can apply to reach a same goal, cultural differences, etc are to put in consideration when dealing internationally, and Nigeria is not at all an exception.
Be willing to involve yourself: Meaning that, even though in other countries, to send some samples and catalogues may work. This business pattern may not work in Nigeria, be willing to involve yourself at least until you have create the ground.
Get an experienced Consultant!: What will I say… but honestly yes!. It is very important to go by the hand of an expert in the country and the market. It will not only help you approach the market in a win –win chance, but it will also save you a lot of money, in an expensive country (mostly for foreigners and expatriates) like Nigeria.
Next Chapter I will be talking about the basics in terms of documentation, certifications, registrations and similar subjects that you must master to do business with Nigeria.
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Nancy Martínez Fasoro
Consultant Specialist for Nigeria Market