Overcoming the Nigerian Factor in Your Business

nigerian factor

Nigerian Factor; One of the greatest challenges, and the popular causes of business failure in Nigeria is what has been termed the “Nigerian factor”.  Though this might sound strange to foreigners, its almost impossible to run a successful business in Nigeria without the Nigerian factor setting in. The Nigerian factor doesn’t really have a specific definition. It can simply be put as sets of activities or practices that prevents you from running a successfully business in Nigeria.

It is generally known that most businesses fail within the first one year of

If you are doing business in Nigeria or live in Nigeria , you would have heard the word the “Nigerian factor” , the word in the real sense is synonymous to the bad factors that affects businesses in Nigeria. It’s almost difficult to explain it, as these as sets of activities that hinder the successful running of a business.

Some of these factors might not make sense to a foreigner but an average Nigerian will be able to relate with these problems. Most of these problems are external factors that you can hardly prevent but on the other hand they can be well managed or put in factors to avoid them.

So based on my experience ,

Here are the common Nigerian factor that you might face runing a business in Nigeria.

1. Corruption: You can hardly avoid this as corruption has eaten deep into every sector in Nigeria. From government officials to business practitioner, corruption is virtually everywhere from the man at the port, to the police officers on the road, down to the tax man.


  • Always run a legal business, make sure your business is registered, have the neccessary documents and always obey the rule of law.

2. Lack of power supply : This is another major challenge every businesses face in Nigeria. Lack of steady or constant electricity supply. Whether you are in the manufacturing or serviced based business, you can’t do without electricity. The fact that power is not constant and the high rate of electricity bills imposed by PHCN can send your business packing up.


  • Apply for a prepaid meter
  • Have a backup generator
  • Invest in renewable energy such as inverters and solar panels

3. Lack conducive Business environment : The Nigerian environment sometimes is not too business friendly due to some factors like bad roads, poor economic policies, unhealthy business laws etc


  • Create a working business environment and make sure your staffs / employees sticks with it
  • Understand the Nigerian politics , monetary and economic policies

4. Non Availability of loan or High Interest loans : Getting loans from the Nigerian bank is not an easy task , when you finally get one, the interest rates are killing , apart from the interest rates, there are also several hidden charges that will be incurred during the course of the loan validity.


  • Source for loans from business relations, friends and micro finance

5. Unqualified and unskilled labour : Getting qualified people to work with you is another big task for entrepreneurs in Nigeria. There are lots unskilled or unqualified persons applying for jobs.


  • Take time during the recruitment process to employ the best hands
  • Invest in training the staffs once they have been hired

6. High cost of Running business : The cost of running a business in Nigeria is relatively high.


  • Avoid wastage
  • Look for alternative or cheap sources to running your business

7. Unstable political system: Due to the unstable political system in Nigeria, policies are bound to change which may affect businesses.


  • Don’t get involved in the Nigerian politics as a business, be politically neutral
  • Understand the Nigerian politics and adjust accordingly

8. Fuel scarcity : One of the most important resources needed in every business is fuel, but due to several reasons, there is practically no year that Nigerians are not faced with this business threatening problems.


  • Invest in renewable energy such as solar and wind enerygy
  • Always have backup fuels for emergencies

9. Too many levies and tax : There are so many levies placed on business owners by the Federal, State and the Local Government.


  • have an idea of the tax or levies that applies to your business
  • seek tax rebate and also look for legal avenues to reduce taxes or levies imposed by the Government

10. Professional Advice: Most businesses operate without professional guidance, which often lead them to disobey the law or flaunt laid down rule.


  • Employ services of professionals to help manage your account, taxes, levies, registrations etc

How to overcome the Nigerian factors
Overcoming the Nigerian factor has to do with lots of determination, hard work, persistence and a go getter attitude.

1. Have a mission
2. Never give in to corruption
3. Have a backup plan
4. Always do the right thing
5. Don’t break the rule

6. Ensure transparency in all your dealings
7. Avoid wastage /leakages
8. Look for cheaper ways in doing things
9. Never run an illegal business , make sure you register with the right authorities

10. Pay up levies , taxes and government contributions on time
11. Treat your staff well

The Nigerian factor

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