You don't need a business that requires you to sacrifice your life savings of time you don't have. With as little as a few hours of your weekend, a small space at home and your determination, you can start a successful small business.

But like any other business, small businesses need basic planning; you need to know what you want to do, how you want to do it and what resources you'll need.

Here are four questions to ask yourself to help determine how to start a successful small business in Nigeria:

  • 1. How much free time do you have/intend to dedicate to your side business?

You're less likely to quit (or burn out) when you create a proper time management structure.

Look at your calendar and work schedule. How much time do you have to spend on a side project? 3? 10? 7? Take into account your current job and any domestic responsibilities to determine how much time you sacrifice without compromising on adequate rest.

  • 2. What hobbies do you have that you'd consider monetising?

Since it is a side business, you might not have the time or energy to start learning or researching and learning skills for something new. So, if you have any hobbies (knitting, sewing, thrift shopping, a vegetable farm or anything at all) that you're good at and you've considered turning into a business, that would be an excellent place to start.

  • 3. How many local businesses exist in that field?

How many potential competitors can you identify?? A few competitors could mean that requires more than you'd imagine, but highly competitive markets require intentionality.

Do a bit of research: if you know people who have been, or are currently in that line, speak to them about the advantages and potential risks.

And if it is a highly competitive space, consider your options: Do you have enough resources (time and money) to take on the competition, or are you happy with a small, loyal customer base? If the latter is you, you could find a niche customer base and sell exclusively to them.

  • 4. How much capital are you willing to invest?

You don't need to start an expensive side business. If you don't intend to put capital into starting a business, that's fine; a lot of small businesses don't require any starting capital.

Whether you intend to go grand or start small, use these questions as a guide as you begin to plan your side business.

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