What you often hear about is the ‘Cost of doing business in Nigeria’ and you rarely hear about the ‘Cost of starting a business in Nigeria’. Maybe I should replace Nigeria with Lagos, since my experience is only in Lagos. We plan to go National and then International though 🙂 . Beyond monetary cost there is this cost called NAIJA FACTOR. The NAIJA FACTOR can run you out of business, even before you start. Let me share my own definition of this deadly and diabolical term, I exaggerate not. The NAIJA FACTOR is a term familiar to most Nigerians who have to deal with other Nigerians on a regular basis, you don’t have to be in business, you just have to be in Nigeria. Deeply religious folks will call the NAIJA FACTOR a blessing blocker and less religious folks will call it enemy of progress. These are accurate descriptions.
Ok so what is this NAIJA FACTOR, basically it a factor quite peculiar to Nigeria that actively and aggressively stands in your way of progress. For example, you hire contractors to drill a bore hole, they tell you 3 -10 days, then it takes a month. Instead of apologizing they justify it. This has serious implications for a business, because it tends to have a snowball effect. Another example, you hire a contractor to fence your farm and a week after completion it starts to fall, they tell you the wind was too strong, heaven forbid they admit it is poor workmanship. You meet a fellow that it’s his job to support you and decides well maybe I can bill these folks, there are a few good folks but you realize majority of people are looking out for number 1 and not for the greater good. I could go on and on but you get the gist.
Bottom line is this, my fellow agripreneurs and entrepreneurs, when you put together your business model and carry out your risk analysis, make sure that you factor in the NAIJA FACTOR. You have been warned oooooo! Yall know they don’t teach you that in business school or those other fancy business books you read. I found out the hard and expensive way, I hope I can save you some money, time and frustration.
Matter of fact when I start investing in or advising any start-up, I will specifically ask for step by step details on how they intend to mitigate against the ever-present risk of the phenomenon called the NAIJA FACTOR.
By the way we still haven’t found water, after 1 whole month…NAIJA FACTOR…
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