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How to Start Mini Importation Business in Nigeria

If you have passion for importation business but scare of the huge capital that may be involved, going into mini importation business is the answer. With as little capital as 10,000 Naira, you can start a mini importation business in Nigeria.

Surprisingly, a lot of people have missed this gold mine ‘mini importation business’ due to the wrong thinking that you need a huge capital to import goods from abroad.

In this article, I’ll put you through all you need to know about mini importation business in Nigeria and how to get started. Trust me; it’s not as hard as you think.

How to start mini importation business in Nigeria
courtesy: smallstarter

Here is what you’ll learn in this article:

What’s Mini Importation?

Mini importation involves the transporting of goods from outside the country into Nigeria at a very small scale. In other words, Mini importation is simply an importation business on a low level.

Instead of importing a container’s worth of goods or going abroad to buy goods in bulk, mini-importation involves importing products on a small scale for less capital.

Is Mini Importation Business Profitable in Nigeria?

This is a common question that pops up in every entrepreneur’s mind when venturing into this new business.

When it comes to mini importation business, the answer is yes. You can make more than double the price of a product depending on the niche and type of product.

Requirements for starting profitable Mini Importation Business

The good news is that you don’t need a lot to start a mini importation business in Nigeria and be successful. I would say the only thing you need apart from a few necessities is a good business plan and implementation.

However, make sure you have the following before venturing into mini importation business in Nigeria:

  • Capital
  • Mobile phone
  • Internet connection
  • Email address
  • Domiciliary account
  • Delivery address
  • Logistics Delivery agent

With these, starting a mini importation business in Nigeria will be a breeze.

Various Products to Import in Nigeria

One good thing about mini importation is that the possibilities are endless when it comes to the types of products to import. There are hot products to import in Nigeria, just make sure you choose a cheap product since you will have limited capital.

When choosing the type of product to import, you will need to consider several factors including profit margin, shipping costs, customs duties and market demands.

Choose products that are in high demand, but are not readily available in the local market. Below are examples of products to import:

  • Electronic gadgets and appliances
  • Fashion accessories
  • Hair wigs and hair products
  • Jewelry
  • Cosmetics
  • Clothing products and underwear
  • Clothing accessories (shoes, bags, belts, caps, etc)
  • Domestic and kitchen utensils

The best kinds of products to import are those that are high in demand but low in supply. These are products that everybody wants but nobody is selling. It will be hard, practically impossible to find a product that perfectly fits this criterion, but understanding market demand helps you choose a profitable product niche. In other to understand the market demand, conduct market research. Through market research, you will gain knowledge of products that are high in demand but low in competition.

Steps to Start Mini Importation Business in Nigeria

Conduct Market Research

The first step in starting a mini importation business is to conduct market research. You need to know what the market demand is to be able to deliver Products that sell fast.

You can do this by visiting online marketplaces such as Jumia, Konga, and Jiji to identify products that are selling well.

You can go a step further by conducting surveys and interviews with potential customers to understand their needs and preferences.

Choose Your Product(s)

Once you’ve done your market research, the next step is to choose  your products that seems profitable from what you’ve gathered.

It is crucial to focus on a particular niche because selling too many different products will only confuse your customers and end up hurting your sales in the long run. If your customers associate you with a particular product type, they are more likely to come back to you if they want to buy that product again.

Try to niche down as much as you can but not too much.

For example, if you want to sell clothing items, don’t go around selling clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories for men, women and children of every age. You need to niche down to make it easier for potential customers to trust you and buy from you. If a female customer wants to buy a bag, she’d rather buy from someone that focuses on female products.

On the other hand, if you niche down too much and only focus on a particular product, you will reduce your amount of potential customers significantly. For example, if you only sell children’s shoes, people who want to buy children’s shoes will most likely trust you and buy from you.

However, not everybody wants to buy shoes for their children at a particular time, so the pool of potential customers is limited for you from the get-go.

When selecting your niche, be specific enough to make it easier for potential customers to be convinced of your expertise in that particular product niche, but be broad enough to have a greater pool of potential customers.

Source for Suppliers & manufacturers

After deciding on a particular niche, you will need to source for suppliers and manufacturers. You can find many trustworthy online stores on Alibaba, Amazon, AliExpress, DHgate,, and other similar Chinese e-commerce sites.

Interestingly, most popular importers start a mini importation business from China. This is mainly due to the cheap prices and great variety of products produced in China compared to other countries.

Evaluate Supplier Credibility & Reliability

The worst thing that could happen to you when you start a mini importation business is for you to place an order and pay for the goods but they either do not arrive or you receive products that are in very bad shape. To prevent a situation like this, you need to first ensure the credibility and reliability of your supplier before placing an order. Here’s how to go about doing this:

  • Check their reputation, customer feedback and
  • Verify that your vendor is fluent in This is to prevent miscommunication and ensure prompt rectification if any issue arises.
  • Check the total number of sales of the online
  • Request samples of the products before buying in bulk to ensure that they meet your quality

Place your Orders & Make Payments

Paying for products after placing orders can pose a problem. Most Nigerian banks have lowered the monthly maximum for overseas spending that can be done using naira debit cards from $100 to $20.

Interestingly, there are some ways you can bypass the dollar spending limit in Nigeria, including:

1.    Opening a Domiciliary Account

A domiciliary account is also known as a foreign currency account. It is an account that allows you to maintain your funds in a currency other than the naira; it could be the dollar, euro, or yuan.

You can request a debit card when you open a domiciliary account and use it to perform both online and offline transactions anywhere in the world. With a domiciliary card, there is no limit to how much you can spend online.

2.    Using Fintech Payment Gateway

Online platforms like Barter by Kuda, Wallets Africa, Plumter, and Klasha allow you to create a virtual dollar card that you may use to make purchases abroad. You can use these to make payments without restrictions.

3.    Using Payoneer card

Another way to bypass the dollar spending limit is by using a Payoneer physical card or a Payoneer virtual card.

The first step is to create a Payoneer account. Then sign into your new Payoneer account, and go to “Banks & Cards” and “Payoneer Cards.” Click on “order cards,” and then you’ll be given the option of either an actual card or a virtual one. Choose the one you prefer.

Ship & get Custom Clearance

Various shipping methods could be used to deliver your goods to Nigeria, such as:

  • air freight
  • sea freight
  • courier service

The shipping fee and delivery time will depend mostly on which type of shipping method you use and the distance of the country from Nigeria.

Sea freight is typically the cheapest but it takes the longest to arrive- up to three months.

 Sell Your Products and Make Money

After your goods have arrived in Nigeria and have been cleared by customs, congratulations! You are now a mini importer. After this, you can begin selling your products and making money.

There are various channels you could use to sell your products including:

  • Online marketplaces like Jumia, Konga etc.
  • blog

Alternatively, you can create an online store to sell your products and list them online. You could also sell your products on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For quick delivery of products to your customers, you need to employ the services of some courier agent to deliver the product and collect your money on your behalf. Some of them are:

Alternatively, you can Google “logistics companies in Nigeria” you can work with. Some of them will require that you pay certain amount as fee to get started while some are free.

Common Challenges of Mini Importation Business in Nigeria


Mini importation could be the perfect opportunity to begin earning six figures monthly in Nigeria. However, like every profitable venture, there may be various obstacles you may encounter.

Some of the common challenges include:

1.    Payment Challenges

Paying for goods online on international platforms can be a hassle for Nigerians, especially with the restrictions put forth by banks. interestingly, there are several ways to work around this. Make sure to find a reliable payment method that works for you and your supplier.

2.    Shipping Challenges

Shipping may also pose a great problem especially if you are shipping from far away countries. There may be delays in arrival, damage to your goods along the way or high shipping costs.

To avoid this problem, make sure to use a reliable shipping service, and communicate with them properly to have a clear understanding of the shipping costs and delivery time.

3.    Quality Control Issues

One great evil that could befall a mini importer is receiving damaged or poor-quality goods. In situations where you can’t return the goods, as in most cases, you either discard the goods and make huge losses, or sell the goods despite their low quality and hurt your reputation in the long run. None of the options seems at all enticing, so the best is to avoid this problem right from the beginning.

Although it is not entirely possible to be sure of the quality of the goods you buy before they arrive, there are still several ways to check for the quality of your goods. You should conduct research and evaluations before placing an order, request samples, and ensure that your supplier has the necessary qualifications.

4.    Pricing and Profit Margins

Setting the right price for your products can be a challenge especially if you are competing with other importers. You will need to set a competitive price while still maintaining a reasonable profit margin.

5.    Language Barrier

One great woe for a mini importer is dealing with a supplier that doesn’t speak English. Communication then becomes difficult, and this is the case majority of the time.

Technology goes a long way in helping to alleviate this issue, but there is nothing like communicating freely with your supplier. It may be hard, but try as much as you can to find a supplier that communicates well in English, or you could look for a translator.

Tips for your in Mini Importation Business Success

Being successful in the mini importation business isn’t a rock science. A simple strategy with the right implementation is all you need.

Success is assured to you as long as you follow these tips:

  • Focus on quality products
  • Build a strong brand and reputation
  • Offer competitive prices and good customer service
  • Network and collaborate with other importers
  • Stay up-to-date with trends and market demands


Starting a mini importation business in Nigeria can be an exciting and profitable venture. There will be obstacles along the way, but with the right attitude and strategy, you will be sure to overcome all of them. All you need to succeed is to follow the step-by-step process and tips I’ve shown you in this article.

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