Small scale business ideas

39 Small Scale Business Ideas & opportunities in Nigeria and Africa

Last updated on September 6th, 2017 at 11:22 am


Small scale business ideas

Dear friend, you’re welcome to the Africa Business Classroom (ABC).

I started my first business before I was a boy of 15. Today I run my company in Lagos and operate in different states of Nigeria.

Make sure you read every word of this post and come back to download my 2 free business books HERE

In this tutorial, I will be sharing with you 39 profitable small scale business ideas you can start in Nigeria or Africa.

But give me a minute.

Did I mention profitable in my above statement?

Well, it all depends.

Businesses are not profitable by nature (just as I wrote in Business Ideas in Nigeria)

Yes, so many people make claim and write online articles (or even books) and title them, “most profitable small scale businesses ideas”, I’m here to tell you, businesses (either small or big) are not profitable by themselves.

Your intending small business will only become profitable if (I mean only if) you know how to make it profitable.

That`s why Dee Hock said,

“An organization, no matter how well designed, is only as good as the people who live and work in it”

In other words, no small scale business idea will make you rich if you don`t know how to run business.

Your business can only be profitable if you`re profitable… if you understand business and do it right.

How can that happen?

That`s the reason why I am writing this tutorial for you.

I appeal to you, if you are really serious about discovering profitable small scale business ideas in Nigeria or anywhere you`r`e reading this from, pay a close attention to everything I am going to teach you on this page because the truth you`ll discover here can change your life.

This tutorial will have two sections.

I will first of all tell you the five major truth you must understand if you want to succeed in your intending small business.

This is the most important part of this tutorial.

In section two, I will list some of those small scale business ideas you can start.

With my over 20 years experience in the business world (part-time, full time, reading hundreds of books about business etc) I think I am an authority you can listen to.


After I have spent over a decade in the business world, I discovered 13 Secrets which school did not teach you about how to be rich

Because I want you to become a successful entrepreneur like me, I will reveal the 13 secrets to you. Click Here to download it for free.


Section one now….

Problems associated with the small scale businesses

There are few problems associated with running a small enterprise. Most at times these problems are as a result of how the owners of these businesses handle their businesses.

For most people, business is a buying and selling of certain products.

This mentality is wrong and (as much as I know) this is the most deadly business mistake Nigerians and Africans are making.

I will explain further.

Small scale business owners must not think small


Yes, you`re planning to start a small business. But, you must not think small.

I was on Facebook with a friend of mine some days ago and I came to know about a vision of his. When I looked at a particular step he had taken, I gave an opposing advice, not knowing that a third party (also his friend) would understand my why.

My why was tomorrow.

I`ve been able to see that his little decision (even now that his vision is little) may affect him in the future.

Starting a little business is what most today`s wealthy people do.

But your tiny business may end up giving you a mighty headache if you do not approach it with a mighty heart.

The mighty heart in this sense means that you`ll have a business mindset, not just a buying and selling mindset.

I have told you before that business is not buying and selling.

Business is a profession.

I love to call it a battle.

I love to make it known to all of my business students that for any business to succeed, there are business strategies and tactics requires, and this doesn’t exclude the small business.

Be willing to approach your small enterprise as a business and be informed that you will need some (or many) tactics to be successful


After I have spent over a decade in the business world, I discovered 13 Secrets which school did not teach you about how to be rich

Because I want you to become a successful entrepreneur like me, I will reveal the 13 secrets to you. Click Here to download it for free.


Small scale business owners must forget money first

Just as if I am crazy, someone will ask, “Stephen, what did you just said?”

I understand that the primary reason why you are searching for profitable small scale business ideas is to make money.

But let me remind you of how life works … sow and reap.

Give and it shall be given to you.

As a matter of law, nature doesn’t give us what we want. Nature gives us what we give. You see the farmers planting grains of maize with the hope of having hundreds of multiple grains in return.

Note that trend. They give (the seed) and get it back in multiple.

A better example may be as you see the goat owners (which my father is one of them).

These people would feed that stubborn animal (goat) every day, and soon, he will give them what they actually want… more goats and more money.

As you desire a profitable small scale business idea, you have to understand that business only makes money after it helps people to solve certain problems or meet certain needs.

If I should just write this tutorial by listing certain small business ideas that you can start and make money, without teaching you how to be successful in the business world, I am just wasting my time (and yours).

Henry Ford said,

“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business”

Think about the needs you can meet in people`s life. Think about how you can make the world around you better, then money will flow to you.

For a small scale business idea to succeed, the owners must take care of the king.

I love what Sam Walton said. Let me share it with you…

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company”

Who is the boss of your small or medium scale business?

The customers.

The large scale businesses, even though they are rich and powerful have long understood this truth.

In fact, the reason why they become successful in the first place was because they understood this business truth.

Most little businesses do not know that they are not the boss of their businesses.

There is a king.

The long age adage is still very much correct… customer is the king. I have seen too many small scale business owners treating their customers like beggars.

You and I have been treated that way more than ones, so we both understand.

Again I tell you this truth, if I simply come here and tell you certain businesses you could start to make money in Nigeria or Africa without telling you that you are not going to be the most important man in your intending business, I don`t know what I am here to do.

I don`t want to tell you too many things here, so let me give you this formula.

Treat your customers the way you will treat your wife/husband.

Since so many people may not even treat their spouse well, ok, a better formula.

Treat your customers just as you will treat, your daughter.

Care for her.

Give her a warm welcome. Understand her when she talks rudely. Tell her thank you and kiss her bye-bye (just don`t do this with your mouth, but with your words. Lol)

Now, you`re learning how to make your small business successful.

Dear friend,

After I have spent more than 10 years in the business world, I discovered 13 Secrets which school did not teach you about how to be rich

Because I want you to become a successful entrepreneur like me, I will reveal the 13 secrets to you. Click Here to download it for free.


Repeat customers and loyalists are the way Small scale business ideas turn to successful companies

No business makes money by selling goods or services once or twice to people. You will only make good money either in your small scale business or a big enterprise, if you are able to sell to good numbers of people again, again and tens of times again.

These type of people are not just in love with your business, they are your loyal advertisers who tell their friends about your business

Now you see the importance of the above point?

If you fail to take care of the king (your customer), he will not come back to you and you cannot make money from your business that way.

Edwards Deming said,

“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your projects and service, and that bring friends with them”

Small scale business owner must be a green chick if she want to succeed.

Small Business Tip

Green chick?

Yes, a different animal, I mean. Listen to what Mark Twin said,

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect”

Your goal is not to remain a small business owner, is it? Then, you have to learn how to do things differently from the competitors.


Most people who are planning to start small enterprise usually don`t think (or they don`t strategize) to win competition. Every business has competition, either small, medium or multinational

The best way to have an upper hand is to differentiate yourself as much as you can from the competitors. This usually doesn’t require much work or much stress, but much thought.

Put your thought in to your market and see the way other people do things.

Do it better. Do it quicker. Do it neater or hotter. Human beings are usually attracted to a new, a better, or a different thing.

Now you see why you will succeed!

The man or woman behind a small scale business idea must search and learn

I have a secret I have been using for the past 13 years. What will you give me if I tell you?

Don`t worry to give me money, you can just send me a kiss. Thanks.

“The secret of a business is to know something that nobody else knows” Aristotle Onassis

That Is it. I discovered this “secret” when I did not even know it was a secret at all. As a young boy of 14/15, I would be reading, reading and reading as if books were my meals.

I wouldn’t play like my mates or watch movie like them (though I have loved movies and football earlier in my life).

At a point, my father reported my to other family members that I was running mad.

But as a result of God and my crazy reading habit, I just find myself moving in life and leading people in whatever area of life I find myself.

Every successful business owner knows certain things which others (who failed) don`t know. No small scale business idea will make you rich if you don`t grow in mind

If I can convince you that business is a war, then, I can easily convince you that knowledge … not weapons, is what soldiers use to win war.

There is this popular war strategies book called, The Art of War. It was written by a man call Sun Tzu (I think a chines) war strategist.

In that book, the author said, information is the number one weapon of war.

So it is in the business world.

As you`re planning to discover a profitable small scale business idea and eventually start a successful business, you must be a student of business.

It`s a strong pain in my heart that Africans hate knowledge.

I was discussing this with a friend on facebook and I told him that I am crying (and really, I have tears in my heart).

Africans hate to read, and without business knowledge, you can never (I mean never) become a successful business owner.

Start today by developing an interest in reading business books. Within a very short period of time, you will see yourself becoming a better business man.

You will learn and know so many things that most people don`t know, and as a result, you will become rich while they are poor.

You may check out these powerful business books and training.

Think deeply about the six concepts I have discussed with you above.

  • Think big and plan big. That`s how to turn a small scale business idea to a big business
  • Remember customer is the real boss, not you
  • Take care of your customers, just like your daughter
  • Give value first and money will follow in to your small scale business.
  • Read, I mean learn because business requires skills and tactics

Believe me, the above are the most important things I can teach you, though many people can tell you, hey if you sell k or m you will make money, na lie.

Money doesn’t come to you because you sell certain products. Money comes to you because of how you sell what you sell. I explained further in business ideas in Nigeria.

And you see, if you’re actually serious about starting a small business that will become successful, you need to download and read my free business book.

I wrote this book After I have spent over a decade in the business world, I discovered 13 Secrets which school did not teach you about how to be rich

Because I want you to become a successful entrepreneur like me, I will reveal the 13 secrets to you. Click Here to download it for free.


Now, you may look at the below businesses and see which of them you may love to venture into:

  1. Education and tutorial centers
  2. Daycare business
  3. Computer schools
  4. Computer and phone accessories sales
  5. Fitness center
  6. Restaurant or eatery
  7. Snail farming
  8. Poultry farming
  9. Piggery
  10. Fish farming
  11. Catering services
  12. Online article writing
  13. Blogging
  14. Web designing
  15. Fashion designing
  16. Computer and mobile phone repair
  17. Electrical services
  18. Plumbing services provision store
  19. Recharge card or airtime sales
  20. Soap making business
  21. Pharmacy retail store
  22. Painting services
  23. Hairdressing salons for ladies
  24. Barbing salon for men
  25. Wedding planning, decoration and consulting
  26. Dry cleaning/laundry services
  27. Photograph services
  28. Printing press business
  29. Pet breeding
  30. Bead production
  31. Pure water business
  32. Bottled water business
  33. Snacks making and sales
  34. Bread making business
  35. Nursery and primary school
  36. Driving school
  37. Furniture making and selling (in a modern way).
  38. Ice cream production
  39. And you see, hundreds of businesses are just around you and in your brain

But, but, but, it really doesn’t matter if you lack the business know how I discussed with you earlier.

You can start your entrepreneurial journey with any of the above businesses or any other one you know or are passionate about.

It doesn’t really matter.

Just do not forget what I have told you, businesses are not profitable by themselves … someone make them profitable.

Your small scale business idea can grow to become a giant company, but you have to equip yourself with business knowledge and skills.

Yes, some of the above businesses looks trivia and dirty, yet, so many people have used them as stepping stones for their greatness.

I personally have been to two of the above listed businesses. I wouldn’t tell you it is very easy or profitable (because no business is), but I can tell you it can be your stepping stone.

I wish you an exciting entrepreneurial journey.

Now for the few serious Africans who really want to start profitable business. I mean, people who truly want to become successful entrepreneur, you don`t necessarily have to be a small scale business owner.

Why crawling if you can run (or even fly)?

What if I can show you how to discover great business ideas and opportunities that are hidden from other people around you?

PS; This post could be downloaded as PDF (39 Small Scale Business Ideas & opportunities in Nigeria and Africa)

I Love You

Have you downloaded my free business book?

After I have spent more than 10 years in the business world, I discovered 13 Secrets which school did not teach you about how to be rich

Because I want you to become a successful entrepreneur like me, I will reveal the 13 secrets to you. Click Here to download it for free.