By Bimbola Oyesola
Last two weeks we discussed on this page businesses you can do to make money at this festive period. Printing is also another avenue that a would-be entrepreneur can tap into to rake in millions even in this period of recession.
The potential in printing is huge, despite all the online media; there are always needs for printing – businesses still rely on brochures, business cards, banners, among others, for their branding and marketing campaigns. They still adopt a hybrid approach to marketing, using both online and off line methods. In all, the opportunities are there.
There is an avalanche of opportunities in printing at Christmas as well as companies round off for the year. This is the period to say thank you by most companies to their clients and other stakeholders, including employees. Companies normally set aside resources for printing of calendars, greeting cards and other souvenirs.
It is noteworthy that digital technology advances have revolutionised the printing industry, creating business opportunities for the small business owner. Nearly every industry needs some type of printing services. Examples include books, graphics, newsletters or business cards. In many cases, you do not need a lot of experience or capital to start your own printing business.
In fact, you may start small at this time and grow bigger beyond the festive period. Which means you do not need to be cowed or intimidated by the giant printers but rather you can even grow on their back by starting as a broker.
As a broker, you don’t have to invest in printing machines or human resources. You don’t have to acquire design software license. You don’t even need to have a location. All you need to have is a computer, mobile phone and Internet access.
Your role here is as an intermediary. Your job is to get clients and have the printing orders sent to your printing partners. Your real work is maintaining a healthy relationship with your clients and printing partners.
Of course, there are some other things you need to consider to increase your chances for success:
Build a website
As you will likely work from home or a small office, you need a “front desk” that is both appealing and effective in converting prospects into clients; you need a company website that allows your prospects to submit their requests online.
Use a virtual office
Just like businesses in other niches, in printing business image is everything. You need to look professional. Consider renting a virtual office space with all the perks: Receptionist, mail boxes, and meeting room (if your clients insist you to meet in “your” office.) A decent virtual office in prime business district won’t cost you a lot of money.
You need to build a portfolio. You might even need to work on projects free of charge to get your business name out. Consider this as an investment.
Crowdsource for ideas
You can offer print design ideas for your clients yourself, but if you don’t have the eye for design, you might want to consider crowdsourcing for design ideas.
Promote, promote, promote!
There is no such thing as “just build it and they will come” in printing business. Market your printing services properly and don’t forget, you need to create your own business cards, brochures and other printed materials for your printing business – it’s a great way to let your prospects know the quality of your work. To start a printing business, you need the following:
If you want to offer offset printing, you’ve got to invest in offset printing machine – which is expensive. You also need to consider maintenance costs and budgeting for spare part – even printers – replacements. Doing so without strong financing will be disastrous.
Exhaustive business plan
“Just do it” might generally apply in starting any business, but I believe in business plans, as long as you are not stuck in the planning stage and fail to do anything else beyond that. From the online discussions I read, there is one common best practice suggested by experts: Do exhaustive business plan. Printing business is a long-term business, and you need to project your financials properly.
Some suggest that you should start a printing business near business district and campus area. Doing so, even if you start small, your printing business survivability is “guaranteed” by the amount of “targeted” traffic you are getting.
But then again, a prime location will almost always mean expensive lease and rent.
The whole suite of graphic design software
Adobe Photoshop is good, but to start a printing business offering digital printing, you need the whole Adobe Design suite. This also applies for other design suites like Quark, etc. And again, it’s costly, as you need to invest thousands of dollars to purchase a license.
Strong print design knowledge
Your ability to use Photoshop is useful, but to run a successful printing business you need more than that – you might even need to take design class and/or courses. Sure, you could hire someone with that knowledge, but again, hiring someone is costly, especially in the early stage of your business.
BUA’s $300m cement plant ready Q3, 2017
… Discovers coal in commercial quantities in Sokoto
By Bimbola Oyesola
Nigerian industrial giant, BUA Group’s cement subsidiary in Sokoto State, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN) has said it expects its new 1.5 million metric tonnes per annum cement plant worth $300 million to be completed before the 3rd quarter of 2017.
The Founder/Executive Chairman of BUA Group and Chairman of CCNN, Abdulsamad Rabiu, during a working tour of the plant by the Minister for Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said the $300 million project, which began a few years ago, is the first expansion of the plant since 1986.
He also informed the minister that the group has discovered coal in commercial quantities, which it intends to use as fuel for a 40MW power plant being constructed as part of the project.
“This new cement factory, which can use both coal and LPFO will source its power needs from the plant with the excess power generated fed to the national grid.
According to Rabiu, BUA’s $300 million investment in the new plant is the single largest private sector-led investment in the entire North West Nigeria.
He also highlighted the plant’s export potential with it being 100 kilometres to the border with Niger Republic and 200kms to the border with Benin Republic, which, according to him, will help the country earn much needed foreign exchange and diversify the economy further.
The Minister, however, commended BUA Group and Sokoto Cement for their contributions to various areas of national development while stating that CCNN is the second largest employer of labour in Sokoto State – second only to the state government.
He applauded the company’s success at exploring coal in the Sokoto area and reiterated the Federal Government’s resolve to support sustainable investments in the solid minerals sector, which will in turn have immense positive impact on Nigerians.
The BUA chairman noted that CCNN, also known as Sokoto Cement, was founded by the Premier of the then Northern Region, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto. It was incorporated in 1962 and commenced production in 1967, with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes per annum at that time.
He said, “in 1985, a new production line of 500,000 tons was added and commissioned by the then Head of State, Major General Muhammadu Buhari. Thereafter, in 1986, the first line was shut down due to its uneconomic mode of operation, thus leaving the plant with a rated output of 500,000 tons per annum. The company has however undergone various stages of privatization and changes of ownership since inception until BUA Group took over majority shareholding in 2010 thus bringing it under the larger BUA Umbrella.”
Manufacturers lament indiscriminate licensing for base oil importation
By Charles Nwaoguji
Local manufacturers of base oil in Nigeria have expressed worries over the indiscriminate issuance of licenses by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to anyone willing to pay their dues.
The Executive Secretary of Lubricant Producers Association of Nigeria (LUPAN), Emeka Obidike, who spoke to the Daily Sun recently, on the issue, noted that the licenses are issued not minding if such person(s) have the facilities to store or blend.
Obidike stated that often, the association receives complaints of its members who being tasked with the payment of dues by NAFDAC on pain of having their consignments confiscated.
He stated that should this blatant usurpation of the powers of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR)be left to fester, a situation would arise where every agency of government will unilaterally confer upon themselves the authority to license the importation of base oil, which would result in increased cost of production and glutting of the market with excess product.
“This would inevitably find its way into the hands of unscrupulous elements who counterfeit and blend below standards to minimise costs, thereby worsening the already crippled market situations for the genuine locally manufactured products and will consequently snowball into decreased investment flow into the industry, overdependence on imported finished lubes, decreased capacity utilisation, dereliction of infrastructure and mass unemployment, and finally sound the death knell for many local industries and the sector as a whole,” he added.
He stated that the local lubricant market is currently reeling from the effect of the rampant and wholesale importation of base oil.
He explained that if the seizure of their consignments continued, the indigenous blenders may be forced to shut down their plants, which will lead to the risk of losing their businesses, corrosion of their goodwill and professional integrity, strangulating demurrages and transactions, and defaulting in the repayment of facilities.
Obidike stated that operators in the lubricant sector are already burdened with a myriad of stifling levies and duties from other government agencies including the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the Nigerian Navy, NIMASA and the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS).
He added that inaccessibility of forex for the purchase of base oil and additives (both being totally dependent on importation), exploitative and fluctuating exchange rates and oppressive bank interest rates on loans (as operators have had to personally source funds for their businesses through banks), have constituted heavy burdens on the sector.
“We appealed the Federal Government to order the coordinating Ministries of both the Department of Petroleum Resources and the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, with a view to delineating the jurisdiction of both agencies’ with respect to licensing of base oil importation in Nigeria, as we on our part, affirm our commitment to supporting its economic agenda within our capabilities as manufacturers and patriotic citizens of Nigeria,” he said.
Intervention funds: Only N80bn released to SMEs
By Charles Nwaoguji
Out of a total of N220 billion meant to activate Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to enable them occupy their proper position in the economy, only N80 billion has been released so far by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Bank of Industry (BoI).
The Director General of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr. Dikko Umaru, who disclosed this at the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN)’s forum held recently in Lagos, said the balance of N140 billion yet to be released to the SMEs is affecting their existence and growth in the country.
Umaru said that the agency had been discussing with the CBN to further make it easier for more SMEs to access the funds. “If we really want SMEs to access this fund, we need to relax the conditions. We urge the CBN to look into this because most of our small businesses are struggling to survive.
“At SMEDAN, we can serve as referrals to the bank on behalf of the SMEs because we know them inside out. We also need a lot of collaboration with other relevant agencies and we hope to delegate duties to increase the ease of doing business in the country.
“Many of the SMEs have already been ladened by regulatory conditions, taxes and poor infrastructure. So, as stakeholders, we should device a means of lending more support to them,’’ the SMEDAN boss said.
The DG who identified inadequate funding and manpower as some of the critical challenges of the agency, stated that the agency is considering creating other avenues to generate fund independently to boost its operations. “We are working hard to diversify the source of funding for the agency. We are also providing more training for the SMEs to boost their capacity,” he added.