MINI-IMPORTATION BUSINESS IN NIGERIA
Importation of goods have always been one of the most contributing factors to the economy of any country. It is a means for foreign exchange and trade, thus generating a whole lot of revenues through transactions. While importation itself is usually seen as a large scale transportation of goods from any other country into Nigeria, the advancement of technology has helped enable the commercial industry to provide Mini-importation services where goods of medium and low scale are shipped into Nigeria from other countries like China, USA, United Kingdom, and many other countries around the world.
As such, mini importation is one of the viable ways which entrepreneurs can look into to generate earnings, and grow their business with time. In recent time, mini importation in Nigeria has been on the rise due to the increasing exposure which a lot of entrepreneurs are getting concerning the lucrative potential of mini importation. This increased recognition, of course, led to many people focusing their attention, capital, and resources to the business.
As identical to many other businesses in Nigeria, finding means to learn the trade is one of the first steps that will get entrepreneurs to start business in this sector. A whole host of entrepreneurs are prepared to go into this business by making investments, most have little to no knowledge of how the business works. While mini importation can look very similar to local businesses which technology have allowed to go online, like Jumia, placing orders on international stores work quite differently despite a few similarities between them. In this article, entrepreneurs will be enlightened on Mini-importation, all you need to know about the business, tips, and so on. Come, let’s explore this article and make you an confident and established mini-importer.
What Is Mini-importation?
Importation is a word almost everyone is already familiar with. It is a business which involves the transportation of goods from countries overseas to the country after all necessary transactions, documents, and requirements have all been satisfied. While Importation may involve the transport of large scale goods from other countries to Nigeria, Mini-importation is simply the import small or medium scale goods. The end point of any business as we all know is profit, mini importation is a business centered on shipping goods at a lower price before it is then resold at a selling price that exceed the cost price, thereby earning profits.
While most entrepreneurs who dive into this business approach it as a small or Medium scale business, it has proven to be a business feasible for large scale enterprise. This is why many entrepreneurs invest small in the business, whereas they have much more to invest in it. Most entrepreneurs in the business today start small, with a capital as low as N20,000, but grow with the business as they earn more profits. This is why we have some entrepreneurs whose Mini-importation business is now worth millions after investing a great deal in it.
The possibility of starting the business with a low capital has given everyone the opportunity to also invest in the business. This is made easy, all thanks to the advancement of technology around the world today.
Requirements for Mini Importation
In any business, you need tools to give access, or help you execute some transactions. The same is applicable to the Mini-importation business, as you will need to have some tools, equipment which will help you execute transactions. These includes:
- A personal computer (PC) or mobile phone: which comes in handy when you want to research on products you want to import, where you want to import from, and also find information about different goods and services that will help you procure your products successfully. Through your laptop or mobile phones, you can visit international stores like Alibaba, 1688, and so many others available. It is on these sites where you will see the different products you can procure, prices, reviews, and other important details that will help you in your evaluation.
- Speedy internet connection: Without this you won’t be able to gain access to any of these international sites in the first place. Your internet connection has to be fast because most of these sites are large, and will need fast internet for fast loading and speedy interaction and transactions.
- Address: A lot of entrepreneurs have no idea about the location of their business. This is important in order to easily locate your business or place when your order arrives from these countries.
- E-mail address: Entrepreneurs looking to joining this business need to have a valid and accessible email address which will enable them to either register on different international stores, track their goods after orders are placed, as well as a means of communicating between entrepreneurs and store owners/freight & forwarding company.
- Start-up capital: Well, none among any of the things listed earlier, or the business itself will be possible without the startup capital (Money). The start up capital you intend to invest in the business may vary. Most entrepreneurs usually start with a low capital just to have a good knowledge of how it all works, before finally investing huge capital in the business. This is one of the best approach to any business for those who are new to it.
Guidelines to start Mini Importation
Each of the steps to follow for a successful Mini-importation business listed here are meticulously prepared to help ensure your investment in this business result in as much gains as possible. Following these steps will give you a great chance of succeeding and better establishment in the business. The following steps will help you start a successful Mini-importation business.
- Register Your Business
While most entrepreneurs in Nigeria see registering businesses with government as a waste of time due to the poor structure and mistrust, registering your business will go a long way in confirming your credibility in the business to your potential customers. It gives customers the rest of mind that they are doing business with someone trustworthy and identified by the government, since In any case of irregularities, customers can report your business to the appropriate authorities.
As long as you don’t have any business scamming people, registering your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is a step in the right direction. It also comes with its many benefits, which may include government intervention for your business in the event you need a loan to further boost and back up your business.
- Identify Cheap And Reliable Import Portal
Since your end goal as an entrepreneur going into this business, you are advised to look for the international stores and websites that provide cheap products without the quality of the products compromised. This is important so that you can reap huge gains without the risk of selling bad products which might ruin the credibility of your business. Selecting websites that provides goods and services at costly rates will obviously impact your profit negatively, and might even make you go as far as running into losses. You have to consider the rates products are sold on these site, as well as the shipping costs.
Before making the decision to do business with a particular site, ensure they meet your specifications by checking what you need, reading reviews, observing ratings, and so on. There are lots of websites which entrepreneurs already in the business verify as best to deal with, most of which have ratings and reviews not lower than 4 stars, and 90% rating. These international stores and sites include Alibaba, 1688, Aliexpress, and so on. You should also be on alert for fake sites with a mirror representation of the real ones. This will aid you against falling into the hands of scammed.
- Source For Products
After confirmation of the store or site that best suit your needs in terms of price, quality, and credibility, you can proceed to register with the site. After successful registration, you can get to business by checking out products of interest on the site. You have to be aware that different shops may provide the same products but at different prices. Browsing these sites can feel overwhelming sometimes due to the diverse number of products available, which may seem endless. This is why it is advisable for entrepreneurs to search proctor solely based on the needs of their target customers or market.
The needs of your target market and customers are usually the trending products which a lot of people are buying. You can make a research of the products that sells faster, after which you will place orders for such products on your chose platform. You can also do your research based on a particular geographical area, doing a demographic analysis for products mostly consumed in the region your business is based.
Some of the trending products in Nigeria today includes fashion items like Shoes, Bags, Wrist Watches And Clothing; Gadgets such as Bluetooth Speakers, Smart Bracelet Wireless Headset, Toilet Led Light, Wireless Earpod, Super Bright Led Torch Light, Warm and Cooling Cup Holder, Wireless Phone Charger, Mobile Phone HD Projector Bracket, Waterproof case for iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, Flash Drive, Selfie Stick and so on.
Other trending products rushed by the Nigerian population are fitness products like Waist Trainers, Slim Tea, Body Shapers, etc.
- Make Payment
After making selections of products you intend to buy, the obvious next move is to make payment for the products you have ordered. Technology and e-commerce have made business transactions online easy, this makes payment for goods instant. From the comfort of your homes, shops, or stores, you can easily place order for goods and make payments to stores around the world like China, USA, UK using your credit card. The payment gateway you will be required to use totally depends on your suppliers and what they want. The available gateways for making payments includes: Visa Card or Mastercard, PayPal, Alipay, and so on.
Entrepreneurs who may have doubts about making payments on these international stores for fear of losing their money to scammers who might not send the products after payment; you should know that there are measure put in place on these online stores which them credible. These measures help buyers eliminate any risk of losing your money through the Buyer Protection act or Escrow. This measure ensures payment by buyers goes to the website first. This money will only be paid to the supplier if you confirm receipt of the products you ordered. If you confirm, the supplier will be paid, but if not, the website will deem it that you never received any product yet. If you don’t receive products you ordered due to different reasons, you will easily be refunded after filling out the ‘Dispute Form’.
Another means to make payment for your goods or products is through the logistics company. In this method, entrepreneurs have to place orders through the logistics company who have agents on ground in the country you want to import from. These agents will place the orders and ship the products to Nigeria through the logistics company. These companies charge a fee for their shipping services with rates clearly provided before the shipping process even starts. These fees are usually charged based on the weight of products you intend to import into the country. Once these products are in Nigeria, you can either proceed to their offices to claim your products. Through this method, your goods will arrive within 2-3days, a week or 2 before it gets to you. The faster you want the products, the higher you will be charged.
- Delivery Methods
When entrepreneurs place orders from the online store directly, it is the store which will arrange the delivery process. This delivery service might be free, or paid for, depending on how fast you intend to get these products. There are three types of delivery methods available in most international online stores. They include:
This is the best option for entrepreneurs who are patient and in no rush to acquire their products. This method is also chose by entrepreneurs to maximize profits by eliminating shipping costs. Since products are delivered between 29-30 days of placing a successful order, entrepreneurs place their orders before time, So that it will arrive at the time of need. After the products arrive, you will then be required to pick them up from offices like China Post Air Mail/Parcel or Hong Kong Mail services for goods shipped from China.
The premium delivery is a faster delivery method but requires entrepreneurs to pay a token before the goods can be delivered. It takes between 2-7 days for goods ordered to reach the buyer. Premium delivery services are offered by logistic companies like the DHL, FedEx, or EMS. Another advantage of this order is that it can be easily tracked to confirm the status of the order.
- Advertise Your Product
After the goods ordered from any of these online international stores are picked up or arrive at your stores, the next step is to advertise the products to provide more exposure of your product to the public and your potential customers. One of the most effective mediums to advertise your business or products is through social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on. It is important to maximize the potential which advertising your business gives you. You can also employ the services of social media marketing where ads about your goods and products are advertised to a much wider audience.
You could also create a referral program where you pay people who refer customers to buy your products. This payment is usually a token to encourage more referrals, thereby boosting sales in the long run.
Mini-importation has never been easier in any time in history. The improvement of technology over the years have helped increased the speed of doing international commercial transactions, which was really, really hard. Entrepreneurs can tap into this lucrative business and make immense earnings through it.
Despite the presence of many people in this business, it is important for entrepreneurs to understand that the sky is just big enough for every bird to fly. As long as you buy products in high demand in Nigeria, and Follow all the necessary steps provided on this article, you are surely on the right path to success.