Not just a fledgling one in Nigeria.
This is not a blog post.
Unfortunately, if you were expecting me to dish out on the things you thought you were going to hear, I’m so sorry.
It is rather a thank you post.
To everyone who reads this blog and comments,those of you who have patronised skinplus,encouraged us and kept us going even when we wanted to quit because believe me there were those times.
The post you thought I was writing will come. It surely will.
There are a lot of lessons I have learnt and still am.
A lot of disappointments and new knowledge gained thereof.
By the special grace of God we will still be here in many years to come.
A few tips
A.Register your business name with the cac.
Total cost is about 12,000 naira.
Without this you cannot get a corporate account.
B. Get a tax pin from firs or state irs
C. Make a seal/stamp for your business
1.Unless you have money to spend, diy can work just fine for you.
I paid someone called impressions grafix akita ita to make a logo for me.
One year later, no functional logo.
We are still talking about corrections to be made on the first samples he sent which were never made despite clearing up the said areas he didnt understand.
The logo I use now I made online and downloaded a jpg, and other file formats.
Some people charge as much as 50,000naira for logo design.
If you have enough to spare by all means, do so. If you do not please google is your friend.
2. Web hosting
If you have the time, find a host like wordpress.org that offers ecommerce integrated into the sites so all you need are plugins. It costs 2.95 monthly in dollars to host and use wordpress.org but there is a free paypal checkout with it.
For those of you who have paypal nigeria you can’t accept payments but contact me to find out how you can open a paypal us account.
Shopify is a good webhost that carries a large number of shops but costs $12 monthly.
A startup can’t afford that unless you are selling something serious and you have the sales to boot.
I personally was unable to keep up with my payments by the second month because I had not finished setting up the store. The second time my trial got extended on the wrong store but I still kept my domain name.
You can upload products yourself on a site hosted by a bigger company
If you do not have money to fund payment solutions, open a corporate account with gtb and enroll on the sme hub.
Diamond bank has an sme hub and although my business account is domiclled with them, I will be using gtb sme hub.it is the most reliable means of getting your products online cost effectively.
There are other website builders and servers in nigeria but I do not have experience with them.
In terms of customer care and support I do not know how they will fare.
With shopify I can send up to 5 emails daily which are responded to immediately and they give you clear instructions on what to do.
I have been able to do some things I never thought possible because I am not originally an info tech person.
3. Have mentors.
There is a difference between someone you admire and someone who mentors you.
Please take note of this.
In this regard, I will say
I have gotten tips and pointers and help from sizzelle of sizzling mummy
She has been of the most help to me. If she wasnt so far away I am most certain she would have been the agony aunt.
I also have gotten a lot of help from natural nigerian.
After the first nitc she trusted me enough to have my products in my store for which I am grateful.
I appreciate brands (indigenous) who turned me down when I asked to stock their products for whatever reason.
Those incidents made me realise I had to work harder to be where I want skinplus to be.
The bigger foreign brands are more friendly towards starters and they always reply you with information you need.
I find that stocking nigerian products is more stressful than foreign ones.
It is nice to build a business that doesnt depend on importation but despite how much I really want to be indigenous and all, you are less likely to be turned down by a foreign brand.
This is the truth.
I have had talks with a number of people some who have called me up and others I contacted. There are times when you hear the minimum purchase for wholesale prices and you give up.
When you consider that some of those businesses are starting out too you think she needs money too and I don’t have that money to do this. You give up.
Some brands actually lower their minimum for you to start off with and someone like nn was a great help to me.
In recent times a lot of help has come through tony elumelu foundation, you win and she leads africa for both mentoring and capital for business. I havent benefited from any of these programmes but it certainly gives me hope.
4.On that note, every business requires capital without which you are stuck.
Unless people are paying for your services, it will be difficult.
A business that offers services in order to grow, will grow fast.
If you have something related to what you choose to do that xan be offered for sale,by all means make something out of it.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.if you dont have mega startup capital go slowly.
It took bmpro years of hard work to get to where she is.
5. Social media.
Interact, open social media accounts, sell yourself and your brand.
Social media comes here because I met those two people I mentioned on social media.
6. Be willing to sacrifice for your business. Dont live big and spend big when you have not achieved something worthwhile.
I really like banke meshida for this. Despite how successful she is, she never seems overdressed, flaunting property or assesories or living large.
There is a trick to this. The people you serve don’t want to look like they are beneath your class because you need their money.
If you keep yourself way up there, you will not only lose out on the potential clients but you will eat up all your capital.
Nobody like hautiness and pride.
Keep it simple for the sake if your business.
7. Tax and bills
Every business is out to make money.
In the first few years, you really wont be making any.
It may be different but there are bills to pay. You need to be sure you can oay those bills. Keep serious.
Stay abreast of your obligations to the government.
This isnt by any means all of what I have learnt in the time I have been doing skinplusng.
There is a lot more and I am also willing to learn extra.
This month, we will be doing a giveaway.
As the blog and as a business.
Do keep your eyes open for that.