When it comes to exporting from Nigeria, there are many fundamental concepts that are misunderstood. Some myths about exporting from Nigeria can really cloud your vision and make you a victim of your ignorance. Due to this, you can encounter very many problems that cause enormous consequences.
Before you make any decision of exporting from Nigeria, it is important that you have a clear picture of ALL the possibilities and risks involved in such activities so as not to go into blind ignorance.
There are many myths or misconceptions about exporting from Nigeria. The truth is, exporting from Nigeria is easier than you think. You should consider what these myths and truths are before you start your exporting career from Nigeria.
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Brief Highlight: Exporting from Nigeria
Nigeria is regarded as the giant of Africa and Africa, in general, is seen as the giant of developing nations. On the other hand, people, who are not familiar with Nigeria, usually tend to misunderstand or even misinterpret it.
The country has been known for its huge crude oil reserves, which many importers of goods from around the world know long enough. In addition to this, Nigerian exports have significantly increased during the last 5 – 7 years and some countries are considering that it may be time to start importing from Nigeria. However, there are a few common misconceptions about exporting from Nigeria that you need to know about.
One of the most common questions that are often asked by businesses seeking to export goods and services from Nigeria is how to conduct exports, who to export to, what export means, how to get an export license and so much more. As a result, many people who want to begin exporting become overloaded with myths or misconceptions that are spread around.
Despite the fact that Nigeria has been exporting a lot of goods to other countries for years, there are still many myths about the processes involved and about the realities of the business. This article will look at some common myths about exporting from Nigeria and then explain precisely how the situation is different.
Commonly Believed Myths About Exporting
The advantages of exporting your product as a Nigerian are numerous, and the disadvantages are few. With the right planning and enough hard work, you can take your business to the next level. These myths about exporting from Nigeria should not discourage you from trying to reach a global market for your goods.
Myth 1. Only big companies are into Export
All exporters are not big.
In fact, most are small and medium scale businesses. If you have a product or service that can be used in other countries, then you have a potential export.
While big companies may have more resources to scale up their operations, you don’t need to be a big company to get involved in the export business.
You can start small and grow your revenue over time until you achieve the revenue level of a big company.
The truth about exporting from Nigeria is that you can grow gradually by starting small and scaling up your operation when you have enough revenue.
You don’t need millions of naira to start your export business.
Exports are not only for big companies or companies that want to export in large quantities, it is for everyone. You can start exporting since there are low capital businesses you can do and there are no limits to what you can export.
All you need to do is find a business idea and find a market for it.
Myth 2. Exports require Big capital
No, exports do not require big capital but depend on your choice of products and the markets you want to target.
There are many low-capital businesses you can do as an exporter if you don’t have money to invest in a large number of goods and if you are not looking at exporting large quantities at once.
Although there are some export businesses that require huge capital investment, there are also many other businesses that require little or no capital investment at all.
The truth is that any amount of capital can be used to start an export business. This is because you do not have to pay for the product upfront.
You only need to pay for it when you have been paid by your foreign buyer. This means you can use as little as N100,000 to start exporting and make a profit from it.
Myth 3. Shipping is Expensive
Yes, shipping may appear actually expensive but not as it used to be in the past.
In fact, you don’t need to ship every time you want to export goods abroad, all we need to do is find markets close enough where we can take our goods without having to ship them and still make good profits from the sales. There are many countries near Nigeria with good markets such as Ghana, Benin Republic, Cameroon, etc.
Before now, shipping was really expensive and many people were scared of exporting because of this fear. However, with the advent of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the cost of shipping has reduced drastically. NEPC has a special arrangement with shipping companies that enables them to ship products at a cheaper rate than other people who are not exporters.
Myth 4. Exportation is a risky venture
While it is true that exporting is riskier than selling locally, this risk is greatly reduced if you do your due diligence before beginning to export.
You need to research the market thoroughly, make sure you understand your potential buyers and most importantly, get all your documents in order before commencing shipping.
There should be no reason why doing business with a foreign buyer should be riskier than doing business with someone in your home country.
Read Also: SONCAP requirement for Exporters in Nigeria
Myth 5. Nigeria has no competitive advantage in exporting.
Nigeria has a competitive advantage in many areas of the export market. From agricultural and solid minerals products to services such as ICT, we have something going for us. We only need to develop these areas more, so we can compete with the rest of the world.
For instance, the agriculture sector is a key area that can be developed to improve Nigeria’s export market. The agriculture sector accounts for more than half of Nigeria’s GDP. Yet, most of our products are sold on the local market and not in the international market.
If we improved this sector by producing more products that are in demand globally, we could potentially become a leading exporter in Africa and across the world.
Myth 6. Getting export products quality certification is difficult
This myth has been believed for a long because most people think it takes months or even years before getting certified to export goods. That’s not true at all. You can get certified within weeks to begin your exporting business. With the right support, getting your product(s) certified could take as little as a month or two, depending on the product and its complexity. The key is to know the right certification you need.
You have to invest money in getting your product certified. Certification doesn’t necessarily cost you a fortune. But yes, it will cost you something. You don’t have to get your product certified from the best lab or company out there.
The important thing is that you choose a reliable and accredited laboratory for your certification needs.
Myth 7. It is difficult to find foreign buyers to buy Nigerian goods
Some people believe it is difficult to find foreign buyers for Nigerian goods because they think no one wants our goods abroad anymore. This is very untrue because there are millions of foreigners who are ready to buy Nigerian goods. The issue is that we do not market our goods properly.
From very reliable sources who travel to different countries, we have gathered that most people buy Nigerian goods because they are cheaper than their local products.
Some of these countries are Russia, China, Japan, India, Brazil and many others.
When you start marketing your goods properly abroad, you will see how many foreigners will be ready to buy your products.
Myth 8: To Export You Must Have an Office Abroad
This is untrue because some of the biggest exporters do not have an office abroad. Honestly, I haven’t met a Nigerian exporter who has an office abroad. So how do they export their goods? The answer is through an agent/buyers rep in their country of destination or by attending trade shows in those countries or getting buyers online or even by word of mouth.
You see, it is possible to export without an office abroad and even without a sales team in your country. In fact, some of the biggest companies have just one person who deals with international business while the rest of them concentrate on domestic business
However, it is not wrong to open an office abroad but before you do that, I suggest you work out what are the reasons for doing so. Are you doing it because everybody else is doing it?
There are more myths of exportation from Nigeria not listed in this post, however, these are the most common ones we have seen so far. Some of these myths are the result of an overly simplistic view of the realities of Nigerian business, while others are the result of poor research and outright lies.
We would encourage anyone who is thinking about doing an exportation business in Nigeria to do their own research and get in touch with someone who has done business here before.
Like a favourite line from a movie: “People’s lives don’t come with a warranty.” It’s true in Nigeria too. There are no guarantees when it comes to doing exportation business in Nigeria, just like anywhere else. What we can guarantee is that if you have the experience and determination to do the exportation business in Nigeria, we can help carry out the export. We’ve been doing it for more than a decade.
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