Business for fresh graduates
Five years ago, I was travelling down to Kogi state from Delta State on a cold windy Monday morning. Something caught my attention when I got to Auchi in Edo state. I saw thousands of students trooping out from the Auchi Polytechnic and the same scenario played out when I got to Ekpoma as I saw thousands of students coming out from the Ambrose Ali University in Ekpoma. It was a time for reflecting on the challenges these students will encounter as soon as they graduate from school within the next few years.
Recent figures released by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics stated that 22.45 Million Nigerians remained in the unemployment bracket and the numbers keep surging as most companies and organizations keep laying off more workers due to the dismal condition of the nation’s economy. Hope of these figures reducing is bleak as the number of graduates keeps piling up yearly. A recent survey by Sahara reporters also confirms the unemployment woes in the country as 45% of Nigerian graduates are presently unemployed.
These facts and figure call for urgent attention by both the government and individuals. Truth be told is that not everyone can secure a white collar job. One way of taking charge of your future as a fresh graduate who is job hunting is to start up a business no matter how small it is. Coming up with a profitable business idea is not bread and butter. You must think, research and brainstorm on what sort of business you can start as a fresh graduate. You must have a flair for a particular business or be passionate about it in order to be successful in it.
-So I went about the idea of racking my brain on some business ideas fresh graduates can profit from with minimal startup capital. The first thing that popped up was online business. This is something that most fresh graduates are already familiar with and can comfortably deal with. More than 80% of fresh graduates own laptops and most have computer desktop at home. This makes it a lot easier to transit from the level of a fresh graduate into the world of online business.
Some online businesses that readily comes to mind is blogging and website design. Blogging is so lucrative as can be evident from the exploits of Seun Osewa who owns nairaland.com an online platform that provides information to millions of Nigeria free of charge. Linda Ikeji is also making exploit via her popular blog and she has made millions of Naira in the recent years using her blog as a medium of disseminating information.
Getting a domain name that has not been taken, a webhost and a web designer is all that is needed to startup your own blog. These items won’t cost more than N30,000 per year and that is all that’s involved during startup. You need passion, endurance and knowledge of a particular niche you intend to delve into, before undertaking the journey into online blogging.
Website design is another online business with huge potential. It is so lucrative and simple to implement that one does not have to undertake a specialize training in website design to commence website design business. Most individuals and companies have an online presence and there is a high demand for website design in the industry today. A simple website design goes for as low as N20,000 can be as high as N250,000 depending on the domain name, the hosting package and th
e server where it is been hosted.
–Recharge card business can be managed successfully by most fresh graduates in Nigeria. They can start as retailers and build up gradually to become Sub-Dealers within the shortest of time. It is a business that requires just your phone, laptop, some funds and you are good to go.
-Years ago I received an SMS from a company advertising their product and services via my MTN line. I didn’t buy the product, but I got to know the amazing potential in Bulk SMS business. It’s a business that a fresh graduate can start with just N10,000 and make some tidy profit over time. Bulk SMS providers are ready to assist any reseller succeed in the business. All that is required is to chose a particular Bulk SMS provider and subscribe to any of their various plans.
-Modern business trend have tilted towards quick delivery of product and services. The advent of the internet has even made the transaction of business easier. One of such businesses that evolved with the use of internet is online importation business. Some call it mini importation business. Fresh graduates simply get contact of reliable suppliers abroad and make extensive research on cheap items that can be imported into the country. Next they register with a clearing and forwarding agent and then initiate transfer of funds that covers the number of items they need.
Some products come with free delivery which takes days or even weeks, since it is shipped via sea. This option is cheap, but risky since one can lose track of the item been shipped. The other option that is a bit costlier is using standard delivery via DHL, EMS and Fedex, which takes less than a week to arrive. After the goods have arrived in Nigeria, you make payment using your normal debit card (ATM card) and the goods are eventually shipped to Nigeria. The good part of mini import business is that it can be started with as low as N10,000.
-Car wash/Laundry business is associated in a way, because the former involves washing cars, while the latter involves washing clothing materials. what resources needed is ordinary water with detergent and washing machine with pumps and hose. Start up of N150,000 is sufficient for a start at small scale. Location of the business should be at a busy place that is spacious and a bit densely populated to attract potential clients. Its not a seasonal business as cars and clothes can get dirty either in dry season or rainy season. Profit margin for both the car wash and laundry business ranges from N12,000 to N15,000 daily depending on the client base.
-For those who are fashion lovers and enjoy travelling, a little journey across to cotonou in Benin republic, then you are in for massive profit from fairly used clothing business. You can also source your fairly used materials from Yaba or Katangua market both in Lagos. The price varies on the bale you are buying. There are bales for male, female and for kids. For example, an average 55kg bale containing female clothing that is first grade London, goes for as high as N135,000. The bale contains about 300 pieces inside and if you are good in mathematics and you sell each piece for N1000, that will give you N300,000 per bale and a profit margin of N65,000.
-My lovely wife is a classroom teacher in one of the government owned schools in Nigeria and she told me she had the desire to create a new income stream aside from her monthly income as a teacher. I encouraged her and she immediately delved into bead and wireworks making. It was a wise decision she took, as this business have made her new friends and contact within and outside the country including the added benefit of steady income from selling some of her works.
On the average she spends less than N1500 to make a bead or wirework and gets to sell same to already available clients at school and in the church for N3000 and above. It is a business she does with joy because she spends her leisure doing it and most of the bead and wirework design are not so stressful. Fortunately, one of her colleagues in the place where she learnt bead and wirework was a fresh graduate and she still makes decent income from the business till date.
-Nigeria is a blessed country with events, parties and ceremonies been held on a weekly based in virtually all part of the country. At most of these events, the venue is usually decorated and if it’s a marriage program, cakes are baked and backdrops are designed and mounted to beautify the venue including the tables and chairs.
-Cake making/interior decoration is a huge business with potential markets doting everywhere from churches, private ceremonies and corporate events. Learning the fundamentals of this business isn’t costly, but the benefits are countless. Every fresh graduate should consider getting involved in cake making and interior decoration as a steady income stream this year and beyond.
How to get funds
-Every business needs funds for startup and even for sustainability. It is very essential that the options available for funding any of the business idea one eventually settles for is properly considered before planning to startup. Traditionally, family and friends are the first point of call when it comes to the issue of funding your business idea. Some good family members will indeed support you with whatever they can raise and some friends also lend a helping hand when it comes to raising funds for your business idea.
-Before embarking on sourcing for funds from family and friends, you must think inward to avoid embarrassing yourself before them. Have you been able to save any money from your monthly allowance of N19, 800? A wise graduate should be able to save a minimum of N5000 monthly from his/her monthly allowance which will amount to N60,000, excluding the allowance from the state of primary assignment. On the average, a fresh graduate can comfortably save up to N100, 000 at the end of his/her service year.
-A good source of funding is engaging in a Joint Venture with someone you can trust. He brings in the fund and you bring in the idea. A legal document covering the nature and benefits of the Joint Venture must be printed out and signed by both parties with a lawyer preparing the document.One commonly used source of funding in Nigeria is the popular daily contributor or Esusu as they are called. If you have a goal and a target to start a business when you graduate, you can start contribution without much delay. It is very helpful and they somehow help you to do compulsory savings.