9 Guides To Starting A Distribution Business In Nigeria

Invest In Distribution Business : Currently, we are living in uncertain and difficult economic times,

and finding a reliable and steady source of income can be difficult.

Starting the right kind of business can be the key to all of that.

Have you thought about what goods,

and products you can supply that you can make money from?

Look around your environment,

investigate and research what products people need and try to supply them.

See also: 14 Tips to Become LG Products Sole proprietor in Nigeria

If you have ever considered exploring distributorship opportunities in Nigeria,

you have come to the right place as this blog post will help you start your own distribution business in Nigeria.

Distribution business in Nigeria can be extremely lucrative,

for example, a while back,

there was an article in the Nigerian Finance & Investment weekly paper,

which talked about a Nigerian woman who was a high school graduate.

She became an entrepreneur out of necessity,

starting as a distributor of Mouka Foam, with nothing more than N200,000.

While this may be a big amount, the challenge to her journey was that the manufacturing companies wanted an investment of at least N400,000, an amount that she did not have.

Read on:27 Tips to Open Edible Food Industry in Nigeria

She did not give up and proceeded to negotiate with the manufacture, and surprisingly got her way,

and they accepted whatever investment she had.

Since then, she has come a long way and is making a lot more than she invested,

with an income greater than N200, 000 every month.

A distribution business is a highly lucrative business in Nigeria,

most importantly; you just need to start somewhere.

The key here is to start with whatever you have, even if it is just N1,

and keep reinvesting your profits in to your business to enable your growth.

Read on: How to Get Government Contract for Procurement Of Furniture For School, Nigeria( 17 tips)

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See also; 5 Tips to Start Eggs Distribution Business in Nigeria

1. Know The Business Background

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Before a manufacturer sells his product to the end user,

there are several steps in between- including the wholesaler and retailer.

This is where a distributor or wholesaler comes in to add value.

For manufacturers, pushing large quantities of goods in the market requires an effective and efficient distribution channel,

and this is what distributors help them accomplish.

See also: 25 Tips Make Money in Breakfast Menu Joint (Tea Shop) in Nigeria

They purchase the goods in bulk, break them down into smaller units and then sell them on to retailers,

who further break them down to sell to consumers.

While there are manufacturers selling directly to end-users,

there are wholesalers who also do just that.

A wholesaler or distributor needs a warehouse to store and distribute the goods from.

Just like any other business,

the basic idea of a distribution business in Nigeria is to buy and sell goods at a profit.

What sets it apart is the quantity of goods and the kind of people you are selling them to.

Read on: 21 Tips to Start Top Business (Church) in Nigeria

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2. Get The Business Skills

Before you begin the business,

you will need some skills and knowledge that are vital to running a successful distribution channel.

These include negotiation skills, financial acumen,

business management and your networking skills.

Here is a short walk through to starting your own distribution business in Nigeria.

Read on: 20 Tips to Start Health/Beauty Product Supply Business in Nigeria

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3. Get the Training

In its most basic form, a distribution business is just a routine of buying,

storing, transporting and selling.

However, even this routine can become tricky and complex.

Every wholesale distributor knows a number of tricks to manage,

it efficiently in order to maximize profits.

Gain a good understanding of basic supply chain management principles.

These tricks are those that would not be visible to just any outsider.

For instance, a distributor knows how to handle stock that is close to its expiry date,

so that there is minimal impact to their profit margin.

This is just one example,

but there are a number of other things that you will need to know in order to maximize your profits.

See also; How to start daily distribution business in Nigeria

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4. Decide Your Niche

You will need a niche or segment that you want to specialize in-

it could be fast moving items such as groceries and food items,

or construction supplies and materials, or even electronics and gadgets.

You need to look at a number of factors,

such as products that have a high turnover,

products that are easy to market and distribute,

products that you are passionate about and the competition in the market for the product that you want to sell.

What is your USP and why will people chose you over your competitors?

Answering these questions will help you decide on a niche.

That is most suitable for your distribution business.

See also: 8 Steps to Starting A Car Stands Business in Nigeria

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5. Know Your Customer’s Base

Before you start you must identify your customer base.

A key to this type of business is to clearly define your target market.

This should for the basis of your strategy regarding how you want to run the business,

including the people and market you want to serve.

Depending on your budget and general preference,

you might decide to cater to stores around your neighborhood,

or sell to retailers who in turn sell to local consumers.

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6. Get A Location

The hub of your distribution business in Nigeria will be your warehouse,

as this is where you will store and move your goods from.

Select a warehouse that is close to the potential customers of your niche,

and most importantly has great transport links and easily accessible roads.

This will matter when you register with companies as their distributor.

Having a separate or exclusive office area is not essential;

you can easily dedicate an area of the warehouse as office space to reduce your overheads.

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7. Register And Develop Contacts With Manufacturers

With the basic setup done, you will need to find manufacturers,

or suppliers of products that are within your niche.

Generally, manufacturers need a distributor to be registered with their company,

as well as meet some criteria for gaining distributorship rights.

Other requirements could include proof of a specific turnover amount,

and some limitations regarding the locations.

As a beginner in the distribution business in Nigeria,

gaining distributorship rights with large companies who have an established network may be hard,

but you can still begin as a sub-distributor by collaborating with a larger wholesaler.

From there, you can climb your way up the ladder.

You can also look for new companies who are on the lookout for wholesalers in the meanwhile.

See also; 23 Strategy For Warehouse Business Distribution

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8. Find And Connect With Potential Customers

And Build Strong Relationships

When all of that is set up, you will need to connect with retailers to register with them as a supplier and sell your goods.

At the end of the day, what’s going to make-or-break you,

as a wholesale distributor is your ability to form strong,

lasting relationships with your customers.

Instead of solely prioritizing profit, you should  prioritize customer service,

adding value during sales conversations, and making faster order fulfillment a priority.

If you achieve this you’ll be well on your way to building a long list of repeat customers.

If you plan to enter a competitive niche you will need to devise an appropriate marketing strategy,

which considers market penetration strategies,

such as selling your goods at a lesser rate than your competitors sell.

This is one of the most effective ways to gain initial traction for your distribution business in Nigeria.

You will also need some advertising and marketing strategies to make your customers aware about your product,

and get more retailers for your distributorship.

When done right, a distribution business in Nigeria can be one of the most reliable,

and steady income sources that you will find.

You do not need a considerable investment to access and be eligible for most distribution opportunities,

but there are still many opportunities out there if you don’t.

Whatever you may have, along with the right skill-set,

and the will to learn will be enough to help you become a successful distributor.

Your greatest challenge is not money or product,

but your ability to market your business and products is pivotal.

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9. Know Your Customers

Because every company relies on a pool of customers to sell its products and/or services to.

The next logical step in the startup process involves defining exactly who will be included in that pool.

Defining this group early on will allow you to develop business strategies,

define your mission or answer the question “why am I in business?”

and tailor your operations to meet the needs of your customer base.

As a wholesale distributor, your choice of customers includes:

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Retail Businesses:

This includes establishments like grocery stores,

independent retail stores, large department stores and power retailers like Wal-Mart and Target.

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Retail Distributors:

This includes the distributors who sell to those retailers that you may find impenetrable on your own.

For example, if you can’t “get in” at a power retailer like Wal-Mart,

you may be able to sell to one of its distributors.

Exporters: These are companies that collect United States-manufactured goods and ship them overseas.

Must see; Tips to Start Tureen Rentals Business in Nigeria

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Other Wholesale Distributors:

It’s always best to buy from the source,

but that isn’t always possible, due to exclusive contracts and issues like one-time needs

(e.g., a distributor who needs 10 hard hats for a customer who is particular about buying one brand).

For this reason, wholesale distributors often find themselves selling to other distributors.

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The Federal Government:

Uncle Sam is always looking for items that wholesale distributors sell.

In fact, for wholesale distributors, selling to the government presents a great opportunity.

For the most part, it’s a matter of filling out the appropriate forms and getting on a “bid list.”

After you become an official government supplier,

the various buying agencies will either fax or e-mail you requests for bids for materials needed by schools,

various agencies, shipyards and other facilities.

For a small wholesale distributor,

there are some great advantages to selling to the government,

but the process can also be challenging in that such orders,

often require a lengthy bidding process before any contracts are awarded.

Since opening her Redondo Beach, California,

distributorship in 1994, Beth Shaw of YogaFit Inc.

says she’s made several successful sales to the government.

Currently, the firm sells its exercise education programs,

and several styles of yoga mats to Army bases and other entities.

Calling government sales “a good avenue” for wholesale distributors,

Shaw says it’s also one that’s often overlooked, “especially by small businesses.”

The demand for cellophane shopping bags has been identified.

To continue to expand as the standard of living of the over 160 million population.

Growing at the rate of 5.7% per annum continues to surge.

The supply gap situation in Nigeria has created a market gap estimated at N 2.7 Billion annually in revenue.

A growing market exists for the production of polythene in Nigeria.

Because of the relative high demand for other goods.

The product is packaged at the production stage.

And its delivery is usually straight to the buyer.

A lot of opportunity abounds in the cellophane business.

The pricing is determined by the quality and quantity demanded by the buyers.

As well as the cost of production and mark-up expected.

The target market for cellophane or shopping bags also includes:-

  1. Supermarkets
  2. Pure water companies
  3. Pharmacy
  4. Market traders
  5. Banks
  6. Eateries
  7. Telecommunication shops
  8. Hospitals
  9. Fashion outfits
  10. Laundry outfits
  11. Waste management companies
  12. Government agencies
  13. Schools
  14. Bukateria
  15. Bakeries
  16. Etc.

The strategy to be adopted in marketing the product is through word of mouth.

And providing samples to the prospective buyers.

Marketing of nylon should not involve heavy budget as it is already,

a fast moving consumer goods that has over the time defy all age, gender, class or nationality.

Also, the competition in the nylon making industries is a healthy one due to supply deficit in the Nigerian economy.


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