There are many profitable overlooked business opportunities in Nigeria. There are more than 200 million people living in our country. Economically, our population serves as a big advantage for us over some other African countries. Diversification is what makes Nigeria stand out from the rest of the African countries. In today’s world, diversification is a superpower. Our people have different tastes and interests – which make it difficult to satisfy the market needs and it leaves millions of naira on the table – the majority of the people don’t get what they want because accessing what they want is frustrating.
The used electronics market is very wide in Nigeria. People know and want to use good stuff but most times their purchasing power denies them the ability to get what they want and when they want it. So, if they cannot afford the new stuff, they opt for a used but good one available in the market. Some people even have the belief that used made-in-USA products are better than newly made in china. Some people will prove to you that they can never put their money on new stuff – because it’s as if they are wasting the money – if they can get a foreign fairly-used product, why not save the money or use it for another thing.
There is a popular saying that Nigeria serves as a dumping ground for other developed countries because of the kinds of used kinds of stuff that we import into our country. As an entrepreneur, if you hear anything or any complaint, you ask yourself: what are the business opportunities available for me?
Some smart Nigerians have been taking advantage of Nigeria being the dumping ground and becoming stinkingly rich by importing and selling used electronics to the populace. You don’t know what you don’t know. There are several types of electronics that enter our country on a daily basis: television sets, refrigerators, washing machines, generators, audio devices, laptops and desktop computers, electric sewing machines, etc.
You will need to pick and decide the kind of used electric product that you will like to be selling. You may choose to be selling let’s say used laptop and desktop computers and accessories. Or selling all used electronics you can lay your hand on.
Picking a niche is very good most especially in the beginning. People want to know who and where they can get a particular kind of product at any time they want it with no disappointment. And if you regularly sell good stuff to your customers, they will always recommend you and they will take you as an authority in the business. In the market, I know some guys who only sell used laptop chargers and they are doing fine with it. If I want to buy a laptop charger, I prefer going to their place rather than a multi electronics shop because I believe the seller will dedicate his time and energy to pick the correct chargers from where he buys them as he only sells charge. Let’s take for instance: When we are sick – let’s say we have a problem with our eyes, we’ll prefer a doctor that is specialized in treating eyes than a generalist that takes care of everything. The same goes for business. The beauty of the business side is you can always go for other things later after you have established yourself as an authority in a particular product.
What do you want to sell?
Thinking of what to sell is among the first and most important things to do in starting any business. No business exists without selling anything – be it a product or service. Business is selling and selling is business.
As the headline reads, you will be selling used electronics. Electronics that you will be selling will be of good quality and they will be clean. You will be selling electronics that are in high demand. It’s tough to sell what nobody wants and if you force people to buy from you, you will appear to them as a nuisance. So, go for products that people demand on a regular basis.
Products like used generators used laptops, used chargers, used refrigerators, used television sets, used kitchen electronics move well in the market. Your products will be of a reasonable price to people. Nigerians don’t like to be cheated and for this reason, they are always suspicious and once they notice any sign of cheating, they won’t buy from you. So, put reasonable prices on your products.
If you are confused about the price that should sell your product, you can do a retail price check in the market. Also, checking free classifieds websites like jiji.ng can be very helpful.
Where would you be sourcing your products from?
You can source your used electronics from any place of your choice because they are almost everywhere. You can source for them on the Internet. As a hustler who has dipped his hand in this kind of business before, I can tell you for free that it’s better for you to get your products in the markets and warehouses in Lagos here.
You can’t find used electronics in all markets – even if you do – the price will leave nothing for you after making the sale. There are some markets and warehouses where you can get your used electronics at a wholesale and a good price. Popular Ladipo Market is a good place to source your electronics from. Odo Olowu Warehouse is good to go. Alaba International Market is fine but the sellers there are tricky though you can get your electronics there at a very good price.
Knowing how to navigate through Alaba Market requires tons of skills. Arena Market in Oshodi is good too. Before you buy there, make sure you go to people that sell wholesale or make it known to the seller that you’re reselling else you won’t make any gain. Also, in Computer Village, Ikeja, you can get fairly used laptops and desktop computers at wholesale price. It’s like Arena’s case in terms of pricing.
You have to open your eyes widely and know where to put your legs to save yourself from buying products that you will end up using or dashing out. You can also get your products from people who are relocating to another country – this offers you an opportunity to get guaranteed working fairly-used electronics at a giveaway price.
For a fee, I can take you to the market and show you where you will be buying your used electronics from. I can teach you some tips and tricks of the market – to avoid stories that touch. I can follow you to the market, assist you in negotiating and buying any electronic of your choice.
How will your business help people?
As a used electronic seller, one of your daily activities is to figure out why people buy the kinds of products that you are selling. And I think, some of the reasons they buy is they want to save money and buy quality stuff at the same time. Make it clear to people how you will be helping them to achieve this. You can lower your price than what your competitors offer in the market. When you are sure of the kind of product(s) you sell, you can give like a two weeks warranty – this will help you to build trust and get referrals without spending a dime.
How much will you put on the price of your product?
You are buying your used electronics from somewhere. Neither you manufacture them by yourself nor do you extract them from the ground. To make a profit, you must price your product higher than the price you get them. And you must make sure that you are getting your electronics at a good price from the market so that you will have enough upside when you are selling to your customers.
How will you get paid?
One of the key secrets of running a profitable business is making it easy for your customers to pay for your products and services. It’s advisable to ask your customers how does s/he want to pay you – whether it’s by cash, transfer, bitcoin, cheque, etc. You can even allow your customers to pay in instalments but on the condition that the product will be released after they have completed the payment. You are just starting out, so losing money now can stunt your business growth.
Later, when you grow big, you can be giving your trusted customers a pay later option but with a signed agreement – they will pay a certain agreed percentage, sign an agreement with you that they spread the remaining balance within a stipulated period of time, take the product home to start using it.
How else will you be generating revenue from your business?
After selling the product, you can provide after-sales services like repair. It’s not required that you know how to fix electronics by yourself but you must already have contact with good technicians and build good relationships with them – so that when your customers need repair service, you will take the electronics to them and get it fixed for you. You charge your customers higher than what the technician charges – you will be making cool money and at the same time, your customers won’t have to worry about where to fix their electronics since you are there for them.
Selling electronics accessories like cables, chargers, parts is a good way to make additional money from your business.
After the purchase of a product from you, some customers will definitely need installation service – flatscreen televisions will need to be hung – providing this kind of service will make you earn extra money on every tv that you sell.
If you sell used laptops and desktop computers, you can also assist your customers to install software on them. For instance: when a customer buys a used laptop from you, you can ask what kind of software he would need and can you help him or her to install it for a fee. He’ll be glad that you provide the service, he doesn’t have to be looking around for somebody that can do that for him.
How will customers learn about your used electronics?
You can start by introducing your business to friends and family members. If you have enough capital, renting a shop in a good residential area that’s easily accessible for customers – enables you to display used electronics for people to see.
Everybody is online these days. The beauty of the Internet is it connects everyone to everyone. Consider having a Facebook page where you will be displaying your products for prospective customers to see. You can also spend a little amount of money on targeted Facebook ads to reach people. Also, posting on some business Facebook groups can help customers to know about what you are selling. WhatsApp can also be used to promote your products. These days, people have turned their status to a showroom for their business, why can’t you?
Nigeria’s number one forum, nairaland.com, has a section called technology market, you can reach thousands of people by posting about your used electronics there. I’m talking from experience.
Online free classified platforms like jiji.ng, Olist attracts millions of buyers every day. Don’t disregard the opportunity of taking your own share of the amount of money that people exchange for goods and services on these platforms. If you can spend some money by promoting what you sell, you will get better results within a short period of time.
There are so many other means of reaching your potential customers. If you think deeply and look around, you will discover so many means of making people learn about your products and services.
How can you encourage referrals?
From my own experience, as a hustler, one of the best ways to encourage referrals is to sell good products to your existing customers. Make every purchase worthy of it. Provide excellent customer service. For free, they will be telling their friends and family members about your business – and if any one of them wants to buy one of the products you are selling – they will not hesitate to recommend you.
Telling your customers how you are rewarding customers that introduce your business to new people is a good thing to try out. Everybody wants to be rewarded. Almost everybody values their time and energy and if they know convincingly that they will be rewarded, they will bring customers to your doorstep.
What return are you looking at per annum to declare your business profitable?
Right from the beginning, it’s good to have some metrics for measuring business progress in mind because you cannot hit a target you cannot visualize. You have to set a target for yourself, else, you will not put enough time and resources to make your used electronics business profitable. You can determine your business metrics by asking yourself some questions like: what number of customers are you looking forward to having? What kind of profit do you want to be getting per product you sell? What do you want to declare as annual profit?
Getting business off the ground and growing takes time and effort and commitment, most especially and importantly, in Nigeria. Almost everything will go against you, even, yourself, too. You just have to make up your mind that you want to make the business successful. When you set your mind to achieve anything, you will.
You can start your business now. It’s not too late.
I would love to hear from you as you have made up your mind to take the first bold step to start your business.
“Make it happen now, not tomorrow. Tomorrow is a loser’s excuse.” – Farrah Gray
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