How to start a viable mini importation business in Nigeria

Mini importation business in Nigeria
Mini importation business in Nigeria

Before now, importation business was considered a business for the rich businessmen. One needed millions of naira and connection to go into importation of any kind. But with the advent of the internet, just about anyone can become a millionaire through mini importation business in Nigeria by simply venturing into this highly profitable business right from the comfort of his or her house without travelling.

Nowadays, importation business is online. You make your orders through the internet, whether you want it shipped through the sea, air or land, the clearing systems are already structured. It does not need your presence in case you don’t want to leave your job before starting, and the market is available

How does a mini importation business work?

Basically, mini-importation business is a simple type of business where someone buys a product from overseas at a cheap price and re-sells it at a higher price for profit. That is, you are buying products mostly in bulk and reselling at a price to make a profit. The mini importation business is thus based on “buying and selling” and is mostly done online.

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The mini-importation business is one of the cheapest though very lucrative businesses you can start. It is one of the many businesses that can be done at the comfort of your home without expert skills required.

However, if you want to succeed fast in this business, you must focus on products that are in high demand. If you can have access to these products, you are half way to making your mini-importation business a success.

The interesting part is that, with your mobile phone or laptop, you can place an order from the website of your choice, make a payment, input address and get it delivered to you. It’s that simple.

More so, It’s no longer news that Nigerians trust imported goods than locally produced goods. So, this means that there is a ready market for your products.

What you need to know about mini importation business

Before you start this business, there are six (6) powerful keys to having a successful importation

1.) Have a target market for each of your product; never import a product without knowing your target market.

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2.) Before you think of importing any product, always have a marketing plan on how to reach your target audience.

3.) Do a thorough research on the product before you even think of buying it.

4.) Make sure the product you wish to buy meet the needs of a target set of people (your target market).

5.) From my experience, buy products that solve the pressing needs of majority of people not those that add to luxury.

6.) Start small, grow big. Never buy more than what your marketing plan can take, it is very risky.

Once you have all these in mind, then you can now start to think of building your
own mini Importation business empire.

Basic tools needed to start a mini importation business

As a mini importer you don’t need to have anyone abroad or know any Customs officer, agent/forwarder. The essential things you need to start this business from home are:

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• Mobile Phone or Laptop/Desktop Computer
• Internet connection
• An ATM card (Mastercard or Visa)
• Startup capital (N10,000 – N50,000 or even more)
Email address
• Facebook account
• Secured source to get product online
• Reliable courier service
• Your marketing strategy.

A – Z of how to start a Mini Importation Business in Nigeria

1.) Register your business name with CAC

Registering your business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of Nigeria is a vital step to take before starting up a mini importation business in Nigeria.

Although it’s not compulsory to register your business name before you can start a mini importation business but based on research, a registered business is more trustworthy compared to unregistered businesses.

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The RC number that comes with your certificate of incorporation means a lot. The customers also tend to trust you more if have a registered business name and a genuine traceable physical contact address.

This is usually so because the customers want to know where and how they can find you in case there is a problem with the transaction.

That makes it necessary for you to indicate your RC number on all your marketing platforms, be it a website or social media.

So, when your customers realize you’re a registered business, the authenticity of your business becomes more convincing and their fear vanishes. These amongst others are some of the benefits of registering a business name in Nigeria.

2.) Select a Niche for Products

There are several product niches to dive into in the mini importation business, such as electronics, clothes, furniture, etc. but for someone with low capital, you must find something that your capital can purchase and start from there.

However, if you have the capital, you can actually start big by taking on multiple products to go into since there are several ranges of products out there.

3.) Product Sourcing

There are so many online sites today where Nigerians can buy items cheaply from china and have them delivered to their houses.

Being the largest producer in the world and their products being extremely cheap, China is thus the main market where everyone purchases products at a very cheap rate. You can buy virtually anything from china ranging from clothes to personal products to health care products etc

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One can actually avoid being scammed by buying from trusted sites and following the rules of the site. You are highly advised to buy from sites having Escrow service. What is an Escrow? you might want to ask.

One good way most Chinese sites now secure your money is called Escrow. It is based on the principle of a third party company, in this case the owners of the site, holding on to the buyer’s money until the buyer receives the item in his own country and confirms that it is exactly what he ordered for, only then and then will money be released to the seller. So you see, with Escrow you are covered.

There are many international shopping websites you can use to import your products, some of which are:


You can buy almost anything on these sites: laptops, phone/accessories, clothes, shoes and many more. Just search for the product you want and click on buy now. Their products are very cheap, good and reliable (although not as cheap as 1688) which is known for offering the cheapest products.

4.) Buy from a reliable supplier

Choosing a reliable supplier is a very essential step that you wouldn’t want to miss.
You would want to make sure that the goods demanded are quality products.

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One right way to ensure this is through reviews and feedbacks from other buyers. You can make vital decisions on whether to go ahead about a purchase through the ratings and recommendations of other buyers.

How to get the best prices and identify credible sellers

To get the best price for a product, ensure you compare prices with other suppliers selling the same product and also note the following in other to identify a credible seller.
• Seller’s rating (do not buy products from suppliers whose ratings fall below 95%)
• Buyers’ reviews/feedback (Check what other buyers are saying about the product)

Hot (high demand) vs low demand products

When it comes to mini-importation business, the type of product you import will go a long way to determine the number of orders you get daily and your profit. Am sure you don’t just want to import products and stock it in your house/office without getting a reasonable number of orders daily. A lot of people have opted-out of this business because they were getting it wrong in this area.

Proven criteria to discover hot (high demand) products

For you to know what products to import, such products have to satisfy these criteria :

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• The product must be able to solve a particular problem or address a pressing need people are willingly to pay for.
• It must not be the one you can easily walk into any nearby store to get.
• It should target a vast majority of people not just a few.
• Rarely seen product or uncommon products
• Light weight products i.e. products that are not heavy. Because you will not want to spend too much money on shipping, knowing fully well that shipping fee is determined by the weight of the goods being shipped.

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So these are the criteria for knowing what product to buy and what not to buy, ensure the product you want to import solves human, immediate and personal life problems.

5.) Pay for the products

The next important step is to make payment for the products you ordered. These days, with the help of the internet and a debit card, the process has become seamless. Secured measures have also been put in place to help ease payment challenges. Gone are the days when paying to import products involved rigorous long processes.

The payment channel to use will depend on your supplier. Some suppliers accept Visa Card or Mastercard, some Paypal or Alipay.

However, ensure that you fund your account for the goods you’re about to purchase so that payment can go through. This is the only way to ensure that your products will be shipped to you.

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Most importantly, ensure you pay on websites where you can be covered by the escrow payment system. By now you should know what that means. Do not pay directly to the seller’s account else you are on your own.

Alternatively, there are companies here in Nigeria you can place your order through. With this approach however, you will need to open an account with both your import portal and the logistics website. Most mini-importers take the logistics route and it is actually considered the easiest route.

Once you select the product you need from the import portal, you will copy the link to the logistics website and place your order through them. The logistics company will in turn track and get your order shipped to their office on your behalf and once it arrives Nigeria, you can go pick your goods from their office. This appears to be an easy approach that has worked for many.

The logistics companies get a commission of the goods ordered. Usually, the charges are reasonable. Your order will arrive within 2-3days, 7days or 14days depending on how fast you want it delivered. The faster the delivery time, the more expensive.

The challenge with logistics companies is that not all logistics companies can help you return your goods if it is different from the order you placed. So, ensure you ask the right questions of what their services entail before using them.

6.) Delivery of products

After you’ve made payment on any of these websites, the next thing is to ship your product down to Nigeria. One of the common mistakes people make when it comes to mini importation business is that they tell the supplier to ship directly to Nigeria, what happens when you do this is that you pay more for shipment of the goods than the actual cost of the product itself and you will have to wait for a long period of time before getting your product.

A smart entrepreneur and importer like me will not use this method because only little profit will be left e.g A product of $15.45 cost $85 to ship within 9-18 days. That’s over 5 times the cost of the product

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However, there is a way forward – the secret to shipping at a very low price is by using a logistic company to ship your product from China to Nigeria. If you involve a logistics company, they can either deliver to you using delivery companies or you go to their office to pick up your order.

More so, If you placed the order directly, your product will be delivered to you in either of two ways:

  • Free Shipping
    If you are not in a hurry, you can opt for the free shipping option. Although it is slow, it’ll help you save cost and maximize profit. Most times, it is delivered between 20 to 30 days. You can pick up your order from China Post Air Mail/Parcel or Hong Kong Mail services.
  • Premium Delivery
    This is faster and more traceable. The deliveries can be done through DHL, FedEx, or EMS and it arrives within 3 – 5 days. One way to reduce cost is to request that some irrelevant packages in your order be removed so as to reduce weight and cost of shipment.

7.) Marketing your imported products

This is the most important part of the mini importation business because if you get goods at cheaper rates and you can’t sell it you will also end up becoming broke.

Your goods need to be advertised before they can be sold, and with the same help of the internet, you can display your products.

8.) Selling your products

Now how do you sell your products very fast? The simple answer is; sell your products where people are already spending money to buy similar or the same products. Some of these places are Facebook, Instagram, Jumia, Konga, and Dealdey.

In other to do this, if your plan is to import 500 pieces of a particular product, just import 20pcs at first and see how fast you can sell it on these platforms. If you are able to sell very fast then you can go ahead and import in large quantities.

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This is all about testing! Make sure you test, so that you won’t end up importing goods in large quantities and you later realize that people are not interested in it or it is not selling very fast.

Selling on Facebook & Instagram

Social media is the best place to sell your imported products and make amazing profits. Facebook/Instagram is a great resource; you can reach millions of people with just a click and drive tons of buyers to your sales page which in turns leads to whopping cash.

Other common and effective ways you advertise your products is whataspp status, send the ads to your friends to help you post on their WhatsApp status, and also list your product on Jiji. Check out how to grow your business on social media in Nigeria for more insights.

If you want to use Facebook/Instagram to market your product, you will need a courier company to deliver your goods to your customers nationwide; most of them have branches in all states; they will help you to deliver your product to the buyer, collect the money and pay into your account.

Some of them even go as far as coming down to your address to pick up the package and deliver to your customers.

Wrapping it up

Though the competition in mini-importation business is a little bit fierce, but there are ways around it. It’s advisable to think along the line of what an average man would use on daily basis, something not too expensive, very unique, meets people’s needs and solves some peculiar problems.

So, while you utilize the information provided in this article, we as well advice that you carry out your due diligence while you plan to venture into the mini importation business in Nigeria.

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We await your success story.

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