HOW TO START MINI IMPORTATION BUSINESS IN NIGERIA 2020 (ULTIMATE GUIDE)

Cargo containers at the sea port for starting mini importation business in nigeria

Have you been longing to start a Mini Importation business in Nigeria?

Then welcome to the biggest and most comprehensive guide on ”How to start a Mini Importation business in Nigeria” you have and will ever come across. Seriously speaking. If there is anything better than this, then it will most likely be a paid course.

Ready to gain knowledge?

If yes, then brace up my friend because at the end of this post, you are going to know JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING there is to starting YOUR VERY OWN mini importation business in Nigeria.

Let me start from the scratch just to ensure I don’t miss out anything. For the newbies in the house, this must be the question on your mind right now.

WHAT IS MINI IMPORTATION BUSINESS?

Simply put, it is a business model where someone buys a product from another country and sells it in his/her own country at a higher price. So lets say I buy 1000 pieces of  body deodorants from China at 200 naira each. Then I import them to Nigeria and sell at 500 naira each. I bag 300k gross profit from a single product. That is Mini Importation for you.

Lets move on.

UGLY MYTHS ON HOW TO START A MINI IMPORTATION BUSINESS IN NIGERIA DEBUNKED!!!

glass shattering representing myths about starting a mini importation business in nigeria debunked

So many myths surrounding this topic “how to start a mini importation business in Nigeria” exist and these are actually what scare  hungry entrepreneurs like you from diving all in into this business. The sources of these myths………..

I don’t know

But I hope that when you are done reading this, you will thoroughly understand how to start a mini importation business in Nigeria even with as low as 25k.

You heard me right. As low as 25k and I will show you how. (But don’t expect your profit to be in millions though).

Myth 1 –  You can only import from China

It is agreed that China is the most popular country to import products from and this is because:

1- China is the world’s biggest manufacturer hence there are numerous varieties of products you can source from them. Infact, almost anything can be got from China.

2- Their products are extremely cheap. That’s right. Some products are  over 10x cheaper than those in our dear motherland. 

3- They are experts in designing stuff and manufacturing on a large scale. Why do you think we call them to help us build our stuff here in 9ja?

 These are just a few reasons why it is the number 1 go-to country to get your product.

Myth 2 – Mini Importation is a ‘’small scale’’ business.

I laugh out loud my friend. If a small scale business has the potential to bring in millions every month for so many Nigerians, shey dat one na small business? 

The truth is ……..when starting a mini importation business in Nigeria, you start small. Then as you get more experience, you begin to scale according to your capacity. Some people import trailer loads and others, just a bag full. It all depends on your capacity and the type of product you deal with (more on this later).

Just because it is called ‘’mini’’ importation doesn’t mean the profit potential is also mini.

Myth 3 – You need a lot of money to get started.

This myth is probably due to the fact that the importation business, a few years ago, was meant solely for the cash-money people. But the internet and technology has levelled the playing field. So as Daddy Dangote is importing his own hefty materials, you also can be importing yours and making a living out of it. That is the beauty of this business.

Myth 4- Aliexpress is the best place to source your products

aliexpress logo. to start a mini importation business in nigeria, you must not use aliexpress.

My dear, let me not even begin to tell you the numerous places you can get quality and cheap products from. Read further and I will open your eyes to the abundant sourcing sites to get cheap and quality products from China to resell in Nigeria.

Myth 5- You need to have a relative in China to be checking the goods for you

I understand the fear of getting scammed and purchasing products that have inferior quality or are of lesser value than what you saw on the internet. I mean this is not like jumia or konga where you can just go to their office and tell their agents what the problem is.

BUT NO.

You do not need to have someone that you know personally in China. Infact, you do not even need an agent to successfully deliver your goods (although it is better to start with an agent as a beginner to ensure quality). 

Myth 6- You can start making millions overnight

Nothing good in life comes easy is a popular adage. The same goes for this mini importation business. So much has to go into it in terms of time and effort (and as you scale, money), but SO MUCH MORE can come out of it. And with consistency and persistence, you can make a living out of it. That is the plain truth.

So the next question you might ask me is ‘’Just how profitable is this business?’’

Don’t worry. Instead of telling you, LET ME SHOW YOU.

HOW PROFITABLE IS MINI IMPORTATION BUSINESS IN NIGERIA?

Dear Reader, take a look at the picture below. This is a hair product from jumia and I want you to note 2 things from this product image.

hair product at jumia.com

1 –  The cost is 3,420 naira 

2 – The number of ratings is 253. This means that 253 people have purchased the product right? But you and I know that the actual number of people that have purchased it will be more because not everyone leaves a rating when they buy. For peace and unity sake, let us leave it at 253 people.

Now take a look at this same product from a company in china. THE EXACT SAME PRODUCT.

hair product at 1688.com

Look at the cost of this same product. 

The cost is 21.50 chinese yen.

Now just hold on let me check google for the conversion rate of yen to naira.

chinese yen to naira

Ok I am back. So the conversion rate (from the image above) is 55.38 naira  = 1 yen

A LITTLE MATHEMATICS

This means that the cost of this same product that is sold for 3,420 naira in Nigeria is actually sold for 1,190 naira (21.50 * 55.38) in China

So if 253 people have bought this product, it means that the seller has made a gross profit of 865,260 naira. (3,420naira * 253 buyers)

(I hope you are following?) 

This is how you will be calculating your profit by the time you start o….So better follow me

So how much exactly is the NET profit of the seller?

Gross profit = 865,260 naira

Cost price = 301,070 naira  (1,190naira * 253)

Net profit = Gross profit – Cost price

                = 865,260 – 301,070 = 564,190 Naira PROFIT

Does that answer the question?

Of course you might argue about shipping costs and other miscellaneous costs but trust me, this seller has made over half a million naira from just that single product. He/she will definitely have sold more than the 253 persons we used as an estimate.

Now imagine you order 5 products similar to this…..or even 10. Imagine making half a million naira on each product. 

This is why Mini Importation is our most recommended Ecommerce business for ANY Nigerian to start in 2020.

So how do you start?

OVERVIEW OF WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO 

  • First, you need to pick a niche. This simply means the type of products you want to be selling.
  • Next you carry out an intensive product research to pick HOT SELLING PRODUCTS. This aspect is very important guys.
  • Thirdly, you find the cheapest place you can get this product. I will show you places to source from.
  • Order the products. Note (Do not order in bulk yet. Order in small quantities, say 25 pieces.)
  • Advertise the products. This helps you to know if the small quantity you have ordered will sell or not.

If it sells quickly, you can then order in large amounts and scale up.

Okay. So that is just a quick overview of the steps involved. How fast will it all take?

Typically 2-3 weeks or a month. But it all depends on how fast you are in finding a HOT SELLING PRODUCT and testing it. The shipping time is also a factor to consider..

Now to the nitty gritty

Toolbox for mini importation business

What do you need to start a mini importation business in Nigeria?

Mini Importation is an online business which means that you can be in the corner of your room or in your closet with your laptop, ordering, shipping, advertising and selling your products without knowing if it is 2am or 2pm. 

And I know people who didn’t even know how to create an email for themselves, that are now killing it in this business.

They had little to no knowledge of how to navigate the internet like you are doing now, but today, have quit their boring 9-5 jobs and are now importing and selling for almost 10x the profit.

The basic requirements

  • A Personal Computer. You can actually do it via phone but in the long run, you will need a laptop. This is a business you intend to start and scale.
  • Modem or WIfi. Basically, you just need data. 
  • A valid email address. If you don’t have an email address that you open regularly and take seriously, I guess now is the time to create one.
  • A traceable home address where you can receive your goods.
  • Capital. I know you will ask me how much so let me just clear the air now.

THERE IS NO DEFINITE AMOUNT…………. BUT the minimum I will recommend is 25k.

Of course this money cannot be used to order thousands of products, but it can be used to test the small quantity that you order for you to know if it will sell. 

If it sells, you can then reinvest the profits and purchase more or you make people pre-order (this may require setting up an e-commerce store).

STEP BY STEP GUIDE ON HOW TO START A MINI IMPORTATION BUSINESS IN NIGERIA

1 – REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS

Register your mini importation business with Corporate Affairs Commission

Now in as much as this is not compulsory, it is recommended. Registering your business does 3 things:

  • It helps you to put a structure to it.
  • You will be mentally prepared to take it seriously and treat it like the real business that it is.
  • Your clients trust you because they know that if something happens to their money, they can get it back.

You can get your business registered through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

2 – PICK A NICHE

arrow on board for niche selection

Now this also is not important but it is recommended. The reason this step is important is because this is not a hit-and-run business. You are going to be in it for a long time (hopefully) so, you need to plan for the marathon. 

Choosing a niche will let you know everything there is to know about how to sell products in that niche, how to find hot selling products in that niche, how to craft good adverts to increase your sales etc.

Of course, once you have mastered a niche or you are getting bored of it, you can go to another niche and repeat the same process.

When picking a niche, you must consider the profitability. Do not just go pick any niche because you like it or have an interest in it. 

How do you know the profitability of a niche?

I will give you 3 criteria.

  • Lots of products to sell
  • There is a hungry audience to sell it to.
  • There is competition in the niche. Competition signifies that people are making money in it. If no one is making money, nobody will be there. Don’t be a labrat.

Some profitable sub niches that you can venture into right now are – hair products, sex products, baby products, kitchen gadgets, security gadgets, electronics etc.

3 – CARRY OUT AN INTENSIVE PRODUCT RESEARCH

This is necessary to find hot selling products in your niche. For example, I pick skin care niche. This means I will be selling skin care products like moisturizers, acne removers etc. 

Now I need to find a product that is already selling in this niche so that I can also sell it and make money.

How do you do this?

It is very simple. Let me show you how we do it using facebook as an example.

Look at the image below

backpack from facebook.com

You can see the number of reactions this product is getting. It has over 109 comments and 1k+ reactions.

Now if I was in the backpack niche, I would simply check those comments to see what people are saying about the product. If the comments are positive like ‘’I like it, I love it, It really is good ‘’, then I know that this is a good product.

Now if I was in the beauty niche, I would simply do the same. I would head over to facebook and type something like “cheap skincare products or acne removing cream in nigeria”.

This might bring up some adverts that belong to mini importers. Open them and see what people are saying about the product. 

NOTE

Facebook is  not the only site where you can do your product research on. There are several other sites such as nairaland, instagram, google etc. Basically, any online forum where people gather.

The principle is the same.

Hope you are gaining value? 

4 – SOURCE YOUR PRODUCT

manufacturers/suppliers for mini importation

There are 3 factors you need to have at the back of your mind when looking for websites to source your products from.

-How genuine is the website? 

While some Nigerians are making millions from mini importation business, a few others are losing millions too because they purchase from a wrong or fraudulent website.

If you want to check the credibility of a website, simply check the review of customer feedback and rating. It is as simple as that.

– Is this the cheapest price for this product?

There will be obvious discrepancies in price for the same products among different sourcing websites. It is your job to research for the cheapest BUT GENUINE one to buy from. If you just pick the first you see or the only one you know, you might miss out on the huge profit margin you would have gotten if you had bought from another site.

-Does the website have a form of buyer protection mechanism?

This means are you protected incase you eventually receive inferior goods or you get what you never requested for?     

Here is a list of websites where you can source your products from:

Once you sign up for any of these sites, make sure you confirm the signup. Browse around, type the name of the product in the search bar and see details about it.

Look at the customer reviews and ratings of the manufacturer before purchasing.

Check the rating 0-100% or 0-5 star rating and read most or all of the comments to filter the good, bad and the ugly. Check if the seller is verified. 

These are the little things that people miss and end up getting defrauded. Learn them now and make them part of you.

5 – PAY FOR YOUR PRODUCT

pay for your product

So you have finally found where to source your well-researched product from. It is cheap and  you have done your due diligence to check the credibility of the manufacturer. Now you have to purchase a few to test. 

How do you pay?

Many suppliers allow the use of Master Card, Visa Card (i.e your debit card). But some require you use Alipay or paypal. 

How is your money protected?

It is always a very big risk to pay for products that have not arrived especially in our day and age where internet fraud is prevalent. But this risk can be mitigated.

Some websites have what is called ‘’Buyers’ Protection’ or an Escrow.

What this means is that when you pay for the products, the money does not go to the supplier/manufacturer yet. 

You have to receive your products and then confirm that all is well with them. It is after you do this that the websites will now release the money to the manufacturer.

Peradventure you get the products and you don’t like them, you can fill a dispute form and your money will be reimbursed. So fret not.

6 – PRODUCT DELIVERY

shipping your products

Before you start a mini importation business in Nigeria, you must know the various options you have for product shipping. The easiest route usually taken by many mini importers is the use of logistic companies. This means that you will place your order through a logistic company. They will help you track the order. When it arrives, you get a notification to come and pick up your goods.

How to go about it

  • Open an account with a logistic company (they are based in Nigeria)
  • Select the product you want to ship
  • Copy the link to the  logistic website
  • Place the order through them

Of course the logistic company will take a commission. The delivery time may take a couple of days or a few weeks. This depends on a few factors like the period, logistic company and the plan you use. 

You can book for;

FREE SHIPPING

Takes more time (usually between 14 – 60 days) and tracking may not be as accurate as in premium shipping  but the advantage is that it is cheaper so more profit. Use if you are not in a hurry and for time insensitive products. The service company can be China Mail Air Post or Hong Kong Mail services.

PREMIUM SHIPPING

These deliveries are usually done by DHL, EMS, and FedEx. They are usually more expensive, but faster and safer than free shipping. Shipping time is between 3-5 days.

NOTE

When using free shipping, endeavour to include your phone number, so that you can be contacted when your goods arrive.

Sometimes, you may not be able to track your order but be rest assured that it will be delivered to the nearest China Post. That’s why you need to include your phone number.

7 – ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE

advertisement channels
Advertisement is the life blood of business

If you do not advertise WELL, you may end up using all of your products by yourself.

Even with the best product and niche, the only way to tell people out there that you and your products exist…………..IS TO TELL THEM.

I know you know this already but what you may not know is the various channels available to you to advertise. And if you know this, then you may not know how to properly harness EACH AND EVERYONE OF THEM  to get the maximum exposure possible.

But I will just give you a brief overview here.

So listen up

Marketing channel can be divided into 2 broad categories.- Offline and Online.

OFFLINE ADVERTISEMENT CHANNELS

  • Local advertising – Although this is quite old, you could actually put up an ad in a newspaper or magazine. I don’t know how much this will cost but people still read them (I think)
  • Word of Mouth – From families to friends to churches to mosques, social gatherings etc the list is endless. Spread the word and if your product is good, people will naturally help you spread it. It’s a WIN WIN
  • Referrals – So many businesses are built on referrals. The same also applies when you want to start a mini importation business in Nigeria. You can build a referral system where you compensate anyone that brings a customer. This is good if your product is high priced. You might just be amazed at the number of customers you get.
  • Distribution of flyers and handbills – Hire a graphic designer and get a couple of hands to help you do the job. Paste on walls (where it is allowed) or share at gatherings.

I just discovered there are few companies that could actually help you share these flyers. Just tell them the target location and voila, they send their minions to do the job. 

ONLINE ADVERTISEMENT CHANNELS

The ‘’How To use these to promote your products/business” will be covered fully in another post. If you would like this, just tell me whichever one you want me to write about first in the comment section below and I will do justice to it.

  • Google, Bing, Yahoo ads –  These also require their own posts. You can browse around if you are eager to start right away. I’ll probably post something about each of them later in the future.

8 – RINSE AND REPEAT

You have started getting profit and you are happy. Now you simply do steps 1-7 all over again. Order more, do your due diligence and join the league.

Welcome to the club.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW TO START A MINI IMPORTATION BUSINESS IN NIGERIA.

question mark
  1. Do I need to be a computer guru to get started?  

No you don’t. Any computer or web based technical stuff will be learnt when needed (which is definitely not as a beginner). The only obligation you have is TO START.

  1. Is it necessary to have a shop or an office to receive my products? 

 No. This is not necessary. You can receive the products in your house when starting. As you begin to scale, you will start making use of warehousing companies who will also deliver the products to customers when they order online.

  1. Do I need a license to get approved to import goods? No, you don’t.
  1. What can I do not to get scammed?

 Do your due diligence as I have mentioned earlier. Before you get into any contract with anyone or any site, look for customer feedback, reviews or ratings. If there are none, then that is a red flag.

  1. Do I need a website?

For now you do not need one. As you scale you can hire someone to make and manage one for you or you learn how to do it using wordpress. It is not hard.

6. Are people still doing mini importation even in this COVID 19 period?

Yes my dear. Business is still going on. Although, there may be some delays in product shipping and delivery but people are still ordering and some chinese suppliers are fully functional.

But remember that COVID 19 will not last forever.

CONCLUSION

Are you still awake?

Then kudos to you. Hope you now have a good overview of what it takes to start your mini importation business in Nigeria?

If you have any question or comment, please leave it in the comment section below.

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