However, starting an export business can be a complex and challenging process, with many legal and logistical considerations to take into account.
Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting, this guide will provide you with the essential information you need to get started on the path to exporting success in Nigeria.
What is an Export Business?
An export business involves selling goods or services produced in one country to customers located in other countries.
The goal of an export business is to generate revenue by tapping into new markets and taking advantage of the opportunities presented by global trade.
In an export business, the goods or services are typically manufactured or produced in the home country and then shipped overseas to be sold to customers or businesses located in foreign markets.
Export businesses can range from small-scale operations to large multinational corporations, and can involve a wide range of products and services, including agricultural products, manufactured goods, technology, and professional services.
Why Should I Start an Export Business In Nigeria?
1. Access to a Large Market.
Nigeria has a population of over 200 million people, making it one of the largest markets in Africa.
This presents a significant opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to tap into new markets and expand their customer base.
2. Abundant Natural Resources.
Nigeria is home to a wide range of natural resources, including oil, gas, minerals, and agricultural products.
Whether you’re interested in exporting crude oil, solid minerals, or agricultural products like cocoa or cashew nuts, there are plenty of options available to you.
3. Favorable Government Policies.
The Nigerian government has implemented several policies to encourage and support export businesses. These include tax incentives, funding opportunities, and streamlined customs procedures.
By taking advantage of these policies, entrepreneurs can reduce their operating costs and increase their competitiveness in the global market.
4. Strategic Location.
Nigeria is strategically located in West Africa, making it an ideal location for exporting goods and services to other countries in the region.
With well-developed seaports, airports, and road networks, entrepreneurs can easily transport their products to neighbouring countries like Ghana, Togo, and Cameroon.
5. Growing Economy.
By exporting goods and services to other countries, entrepreneurs can help to drive economic growth and create new jobs in Nigeria.
6. Diversification of Revenue Streams.
By selling products and services to customers in other countries, entrepreneurs can spread their risk and protect their businesses from local economic downturns or other challenges.
7. Access to New Technologies and Business Practices.
Exporting goods and services to other countries can also provide entrepreneurs with access to new technologies and business practices.
By interacting with customers and businesses in other countries, entrepreneurs can learn about new ways of doing business and adopt new technologies that can help them improve their products or services and increase their competitiveness.
8. Global Brand Building.
Exporting products and services to other countries can help entrepreneurs build their brands on a global scale.
By establishing a presence in new markets, entrepreneurs can increase awareness of their brand and build a reputation for quality and reliability. This can help to attract new customers and increase sales both locally and internationally.
9. Increased Profitability.
Exporting goods and services can be a highly profitable business, especially for entrepreneurs who can take advantage of favourable exchange rates and low production costs.
By exporting products and services to other countries, entrepreneurs can increase their revenue and profit margins, which can help them to grow and expand their businesses over time.
10. You earn US Dollars.
All currencies all over the world are backed by the US dollar because the US Dollar is a reserve currency.
With the present economic condition in Nigeria today, the exchange rate is at its peak. Earning Foreign currency can make you rich.
It is one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria today because you’ll earn in foreign currencies.
11. You promote Your country.
Nigeria has a huge diaspora of more than 15 Million persons, all needing to eat Nigerian cuisine. To be able to achieve this, they rely on cheap raw materials from Nigeria to make things happen over there.
Nigerians need to eat Melon Soup, Banga, Onions and many others but these are expensive abroad, so they prefer to ship down from Nigeria to the USA.
How do I start an Export Business In Nigeria?
And the top export destinations include India, Spain, Netherlands, Ghana, France, South Africa, United States, Italy, China, Indonesia Turkey, Canada, United Kingdom, Ivory Coast, and Germany.
1. Understand how to export trade works.
Exports are explained as the goods and services manufactured in one country and acquired by citizens of another country.
The export of goods or services can be anything. This trade can be done through shipping, e-mail, and transmitted in private luggage on a plane.
If the product is manufactured domestically and traded in a foreign country, it is known as an export.
Make sure to stick with this article to get a basic overview of how to go about becoming a professional exporter in Nigeria.
2. Conduct Market Research.
The first step in starting an export business is to conduct market research to identify potential markets and products.
This involves analyzing market trends, customer demand, and competition in different regions to identify viable export opportunities.
It is important to identify products or services that are in high demand and have a competitive advantage in the global market.
3. Register Your Business.
This involves obtaining a business name, registering your company as a limited liability company, and obtaining a tax identification number (TIN) from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
4. Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits.
Export businesses in Nigeria require several licenses and permits, including an export license from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), registration with the Nigerian Customs Service, and compliance with various regulatory requirements.
There are two government agencies vested with the power to grant export licenses in Nigeria, and they are The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) which is saddled with the responsibility of issuing an export license for agricultural commodities & manufactured goods and the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development which is responsible for granting licenses for extraction & exportation in Nigeria.
It is important to obtain all necessary licenses and permits before starting your export business to avoid any legal issues.
5. Source Products and Suppliers.
The next step is to source products and suppliers for your export business. This involves identifying reliable suppliers and negotiating favourable terms and prices for the products or services you plan to export.
It is important to work with reputable suppliers who can provide high-quality products or services that meet international standards.
6. Secure Financing.
Starting an export business requires significant investment in infrastructure, equipment, and working capital.
It is important to secure financing from banks or other financial institutions to cover these costs and ensure that your business has the resources it needs to succeed.
7. Establish Shipping and Logistics Processes.
The final step in starting an export business is to establish shipping and logistics processes to transport your products to your target markets.
This involves working with freight forwarders, shipping companies, and other logistics providers to ensure that your products are transported safely and efficiently.
When it comes to exporting in Nigeria, a major factor that should be put in place is a reliable shipping company.
A shipping partner is essentially a third-party logistics company with its fleet of vehicles and delivery personnel that is in charge of picking up products from your warehouse/manufacturing hub, packaging the products, and finally transporting them to the customer’s doorsteps across the world.
There are various shipping companies in Nigeria that you can choose from, some are local others are international.
You not only need shipping partners to deliver locally and save your time. For the products to reach top condition, you need proper processing and sturdy packaging.
Also, fragile items require extra packaging to not break in transit. This is where a shipping partner comes to save the day. You should make sure you come to terms with the shipping fees and services.
8. Build Relationships with Key Stakeholders.
Building relationships with key stakeholders, including suppliers, customers, and government officials, is essential for the success of your export business.
This involves developing trust and communication channels with your partners, which can help you to negotiate favourable terms and resolve any issues that may arise.
9. Ensure Compliance with International Standards.
Export businesses must comply with a range of international standards, including quality, safety, and environmental standards.
It is important to ensure that your products or services meet these standards to avoid any legal issues or reputational damage.
10. Invest in Technology and Infrastructure.
Investing in technology and infrastructure can help you to streamline your export processes, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.
This may involve investing in transportation and logistics equipment, communication systems, and software to manage your export operations.
11. Manage Risk.
Export businesses are exposed to a range of risks, including currency fluctuations, political instability, and supply chain disruptions.
It is important to manage these risks through careful planning, risk mitigation strategies, and insurance coverage.
12. Seek Professional Advice.
Starting an export business can be a complex and challenging process, especially for entrepreneurs who are new to the industry.
It is important to seek professional advice from experienced consultants, lawyers, and accountants to ensure that your business complies with all legal and regulatory requirements and operates efficiently.
13. Attend Trade Fairs and Exhibitions.
Attending trade fairs and exhibitions is an effective way to promote your export business and showcase your products or services to potential customers and partners. This can help you to build new relationships and explore new markets for your business.
14. Embrace Technology and E-commerce.
Technology and e-commerce have revolutionized the global trade landscape, making it easier for businesses to connect with customers and partners around the world.
Embracing technology and e-commerce can help you to expand your reach, streamline your export processes, and increase your competitiveness in the global market.
15. Monitor Market Trends and Adapt to Change.
The global trade landscape is constantly evolving, with new trends and challenges emerging all the time.
It is important to monitor market trends and adapt to changes in the industry to stay competitive and seize new opportunities as they arise.
16. Build a Strong Team.
Building a strong team is essential for the success of your export business. This involves hiring skilled and experienced professionals who can help you to manage your operations, build relationships with customers and partners, and drive growth and profitability for your business.
17. Promote Your Export Business.
Now that you have followed the right procedures as mentioned above, Its now time to start promoting your business.
Exporting can be very rewarding in numerous ways. By selling your products and services in other markets you spread your risks and reduce dependence on the Nigerian market alone. You are also able to increase your sales, and productivity and become more efficient.
Using the right marketing strategy can help take your export business to the next level, without taking the word out there to the right buyers, your export business will likely suffer without any patronage.
In this section, I will outline possible ways that can help your export business generate huge sales.
1. Start a blog.
There are millions of searches on Google every day while you’re thinking about how to get buyers, a simple positioning yourself for your prospects to find your business on Google search can even do the trick for you.
If you’re familiar with SEO, It is all about ranking well at the top of any search i.e. when prospective customers input certain keywords related to your business anywhere in the world, they can find your website among the search results.
This can start engagements around your business and eventually leads to sales.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on this blog on how you can start a blog to the advantage of your business. Check out the link to the article to learn more.
2. Start a YouTube channel around it.
More than 500 hours of video content is reported to be uploaded every minute to the site (as of this article’s publication).
Globally, as many as two billion users log in every month. Owning a YouTube channel can help you reach millions of potential customers without a hassle.
All you need to do is create videos around your product and let your audience know that you can export these things to their preferred location.
YouTube is available in more than 92 countries and 80 languages, with further expansion planned.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can start a YouTube channel and become successful with it. Check out the link to the article to learn more.
3. Promote on Facebook.
With such a large basic population, Facebook is home to one of the widest ranges of people in the world and remains one of the best ways to reach a multitude of people from all different walks of life.
- (Facebook Marketing) How To Grow Your Business On Facebook
- How To Monetize Your Content on Facebook as a Creator
4. List your Business on NEPC.
The NEPC is committed to driving zero-oil export in Nigeria. Registering with the NEPC allows the agency to confirm your status as an exporter which also enables you to get information regarding the respective nations needing your export.
Most times, This is mostly done by conducting events like trade shows in which sellers connect with prospects for their products.
As a registered member of the NEPC, you benefit from things like Market entry research to foreign countries, trade information, dissemination of both domestic and international commodities prices etc.
All you have to do is register on their portal and that solves it.
5. Contact the Countries Chamber of Commerce.
Nigeria has trade relationships with countries like India, China, Holland, the United States, etc. These days it is easier to reach these centres from the comfort of your home by visiting their web portals.
A simple Google search can help you locate their web address. When contacting these people you have to have all the necessary information they need to convince them you are a genuine exporter and you can supply their respective needs.
6. Reach out to buying agents.
As I said earlier, It’s not easy navigating the stormy waters of exportation, you need someone who understands how to navigate its waters.
Buying agents are procurement agents. They represent businesses from other countries looking to procure the necessary resources.
You can contact their buying agents in Nigeria and let them know of your products. Some of the private consultants can be buying agents for other countries in Nigeria since they know more about the markets than the companies abroad do.
7. Promote on Twitter.
One of the top benefits of Twitter for business is that it lets you share information quickly and start conversations with your target audience. In turn, your audience would find your Tweets and contains valuable and ideally, even share them with their followers.
Taking this trend to your advantage you can get your export business in the eyes of your target audience.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can utilize Twitter as a Medium to grow your audience. Check out the link below to the article to learn more.
8. Promote on Instagram.
Instagram is a photo-powered platform, and this gives exporters the power to showcase their products to potential buyers across the globe.
9. Get Listed on export trade websites.
Export trade websites are a platform designed solely for connecting buyers and sellers. They operate more like eCommerce websites with an escrow functionality.
Today, it is easier than ever to connect with overseas suppliers and buyers. Whether you’re an importer of goods or an exporter of goods, the internet has made it possible to find new trading partners in just a few minutes.
starting an export business in Nigeria can provide entrepreneurs with a range of benefits, including access to a large market, abundant natural resources, favourable government policies, strategic location, a growing economy, diversification of revenue streams, access to new technologies and business practices, global brand building, and increased profitability.
While starting an export business can be challenging, with the right strategy and approach, entrepreneurs can build successful and profitable businesses that contribute to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
By following these steps and tips, entrepreneurs can build successful and profitable export businesses that contribute to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
Exporting is a business that involves lots of rules, guidelines, and requirements across two or more borders.
For instance, if you export Cassava to China from Nigeria, you must satisfy the Nigerian export and Chinese Import requirements.
I wrote an article on other lucrative businesses you can explore as a Nigerian. Check out the link to the article to learn more.