…Business ideas for the season
By Bimbola Oyesola
Christmas is around the corner and all over the world, it is celebrated with so much fun and pomp. It is a season to share and sincerely make money for those who can seize the opportunity. Despite the present economic recession, it is easy to make money during the Christmas season, as many corporate organisations and individuals would still need to reach out to customers, clients, associates and friends who have impacted positively on their operations in the past one year.
Christmas is one of the holidays that create huge business opportunities for smart investors and entrepreneurs who are ready to grab them while the season lasts. From greeting cards, calendars, gifts to wears, many products sell very well, especially when December 25 is fast approaching.
As an entrepreneur, you can make money off of the Christmas seasons by exploiting some of the many business opportunities that come with it. So are you interested in profiting from the Christmas frenzy? Do you need product or business ideas to start during the Christmas season?
Below are some profitable ideas you can make cool money from as Christmas is barely weeks away:
•Design, print calendar and sell Christmas cards
Christmas is a season for printers. Have you ever thought how many calendars are printed every year? Likewise, when Christmas is near, people buy and exchange Christmas greeting cards with their friends, relatives and customers. This explains why the demand for Christmas cards starts booming wildly anytime from December 1.
If you are a creative artist, you can design beautiful greeting cards and put them up for sale. You can design them either by hand or with a computer. Either way, there’s a lot of money to be made. If you don’t have the required artistic creativity, you can buy greeting cards in wholesale quantities and sell them.
•Sell goodies and sweets
Because almost everyone loves treats, you will be going in the right direction by making and selling sweet food products like cupcakes and cookies. If your treats are very good, you will get an amazing number of orders during Christmas. If you are not skilled enough to make these treats yourself, partner with someone who has the skills or buy from them in large quantities and sell to customers.
•Pack and sell gift baskets
Gift baskets with assorted products have come to be identified with the season. So what you can pack in the basket is limitless. From canned products and other manufactured items to raw foods and fruits; the list is endless.
The good side of this business opportunity is that you don’t have to make the food to be placed in the baskets. Just visit a grocery or food store, supermarket or wholesale stores around you, buy various products, foods and fruits, and place them nicely in a basket. To make the baskets even more attractive, wrap them with beautiful Christmas-branded wrapping sheets. You can sell your gift baskets to companies, office workers and other interested customers around you.
Many people visit their home states and towns to celebrate Christmas. Aside spending their money on food and fun activities, they also love to buy souvenir items they can take back with them after the Christmas season. Examples of souvenir items people like to buy include custom-branded Christmas-branded T-shirts, mugs, home decorations and so on.
• Sell gift items
People exchange gifts during Christmas and this explains why reasonably priced items like shirts, fancy jewellery, and other exchange gift items sell very well during Christmas period. To record even more sales, try to sell cheap products.
You can sell these items in offices and bazaars. And you can offer to wrap the items for an extra fee. Most buyers would gladly accept this offer because it would spare them the hassles of doing it themselves.
Sell children’s toys
Children’s toys also sell very well during the Christmas season. Parents and schools usually get toys as gifts for the kids. In fact, toys are most abundant in the market during this period. This business is very easy to put up because children’s toys are very cheap and profitable. If you have the creativity and know-how, you can make the toys yourself and put them up for sale.
Render food-catering services
Starting a food-catering business is another smart way to make huge profits during the Christmas season. The demand for catering services boom during this period because many offices and people would organise Christmas parties and they are too busy to prepare the delicacies they want. So, they rather pay to have their preferred foods cooked and served for them during Christmas festivities.
Sell Christmas decorations, gift-wraps
There is virtually no corporate office or home that you would see at this period without one form of decoration or the other. So why don’t you cash in on this great opportunity and be the one to serve this interest. You may not only sell the decoration, you can equally take up the contract and be the one to do the decoration. Even if you don’t know how to do it, you can sub-contract it out and still make your cool cash. Also, as is the case with other festive seasons, people exchange gifts with their friends, relatives, colleagues and customers during Christmas. And as one would expect, these gifts are wrapped in beautiful, Christmas-branded gift wraps. So, you can make a lot of money off the Christmas season by selling gift-wraps, which people use for packaging their gifts before presenting them to their recipients.
Organise musical shows
If you are a musician or you have a band or dance group, you can make money during the Christmas season by organising musical concerts or featuring as guest artistes at concerts. Even if you are not an artiste yourself, you can collaborate with famous artistes and organise a musical concert aimed at celebrating Christmas.
Sell Christmas items online
If you are a blogger with a large online followership, you can make money during Christmas by selling various items as an affiliate and getting commissions from each sale.
Sell food items
It is a festive period, hence people usually buy lots of food items, mostly rice, oil and meat products, either for gift or personal consumption. You can offer to supply these items to corporate organisations as well as individuals and really have a quick turn over at this season than any other period of the year.
How to start local furniture business in Nigeria
By Charles Nwaoguji
Nigeria’s local furniture industry is one business a potential entreprenuer would like to go into. Several people furnish their homes and offices spending lots of money particularly during December period. Sometimes, the furniture we buy are often imported designer furniture but the question is how many Nigerians can afford imported furniture? Local furniture business in Nigeria is a well kept secret and seriously undervalued business opportunity.
However, the greatest truth is that you donít even have to be a carpenter to sell Nigeria furniture. Anyone can do the business, no matter who you are as long as you have the needed capital to start this business. In most cases the initial investment may not be more than N200,000. N200,000 which is just enough to get you started. Then as the business starts yielding profit, you may add more, expand, and add imported furniture or even begin to manufacture the superior type here in Nigeria.
Reasons people go into furniture business
For many years, imported furniture from North America and Europe dominated African markets and made it very difficult for local furniture businesses to thrive. This is still the case in many countries on the continent.
However, in Nigeria, imported furniture has been banned since 2004. This has allowed several local furniture companies to grow and become very successful. A classic example of such a success is the Sokoa Chair Centre, a partnership between a major French furniture maker and a local Nigerian company.
The demand for furniture is much higher in the urban than in rural areas because there are more offices, modern accommodation, hotels and schools in the cities and these are the biggest buyers and users of furniture.
As a result of sustained migration from the rural areas, more than 40 percent of Africaís one billion people now live in urban areas (cities and towns).
At the current rate of growth, more than 500 million Africans will live in cities by 2030. As the population of Africa’s cities and towns increases, this will naturally increase the demand for real estate; residential accommodation, office space, hotels and schools.
You too can start small and grow big in the furniture business
Starting small is our most favourite advice on smallstarter. You start by hiring machines . You need have an equipped workshop.
The furniture business is one of those few flexible types that you can start on a small scale.
Starting small allows you to take action while you learn the business and grow with it. Waiting until you have all the capital to buy all the equipment you need and hire all the talented craftsmen you want is a futile strategy.
Look for good carpenter
Every Carpenter can hold hammer and nail but not every Carpenter is capable of producing good quality furniture job.
Some Carpenters are very good at producing good furniture job but not all of them can deliver it on time. Very few does!
Look for one or two among these few and negotiate good deal with them.
They will be responsible for supplying you the furniture you need to sell to your customers. A full set of Living Room Chairs (N70,000), 2 Beds (N40,000), and a Dinning Set (N20,000) is all you need for a start. You may add very good Foams on those Beds which you are going to sell together with the beds and make profits from both.
Get a showroom for your local furniture business
You need a showroom to be able to display your furniture to the public. Make sure it is by the roadside for passerby to see them. Advertising is everything in business, if your furniture is hidden, no one will see them and you wouldnít make a sell. You must by all means get your product where people can see them for you to make sells.
If you donít have money for a showroom, go for open place by the roadside. Many Nigeria furniture sellers, sell at the open place by the roadside and they still make good sells.
When you have these two things in place, you are ready for business but donít forget that your Customers are the lifeblood of your business, give them good services and treat them well.
Skill is not a mandatory requirement
You donít need to have Skill is not a mandatory requirement. Many of craftsmen can produce very beautiful and durable furniture but often lack the exposure to sell their work for a good price. Thatís where you, the entrepreneur, come in. You identify the needs of the market and use your hired craftsmen to produce the furniture that the market wants.
Itís very likely that you will not be the first furniture business in your area. You need to find something extra that will make you stand out from the other furniture businesses out there.
Local or imported furniture
Should you start a business in local or imported furniture? Is local furniture more preferable to imported varieties, or vice versa?
It depends on the taste, preferences and demand of the people in your market.
Some consumers (like hotels, offices and rich people) prefer foreign furniture for reasons of brand appeal or because they ëperceiveí the locally produced items as poor quality. Some other people cannot afford imported furniture because they can be very expensive.
Whichever type of furniture (local or imported) you decide to deal in should be based on the needs and demand of the customers you plan to target.
Some buyers are more concerned about beauty, quality and durability, and will pay high prices to get furniture that meets these requirements. Some other buyers are highly influenced by cost and their choices are limited to the price of the furniture. They will love to have beautiful and high quality furniture only if it can fit into their budget.
The bottom line is: you need to know what your target customer wants and then you give it to them!
In all of this, you should not forget that Nigeria forbid imported furniture. The only option in such markets is to use the available resources to make furniture that suits the different types of customers in the market.
You start investment of just N200,000 to start with and watch it grow and expand.
Research has shown that Furniture business in Nigeria is not expensive to start. In this December season that is at hand, one can make a lot money.
Ambode lauds NB’s 70 years commitment to Nigeria’s devt
..As NBL donates 2 security patrol vans to Lagos
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has commended Nigerian Breweries Plc. for its commitment to the economic prosperity of the state and the nation.
Ambode, who was on a courtesy visit equally took delivery of two security patrol vans donated by the company to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund.
The governor, during the visit, charged the management to remain focused on excellent business practices and outstanding corporate governance.
He congratulated the company on its 70th anniversary and emphasised that the company has been part of the development of Lagos since the creation of the state 50 years ago.
“In the last 50 years, you have contributed to the growth and development of Lagos State. We are happy you have been part of the success story of this state,” he said.
Ambode who highlighted the company’s contribution towards job creation through direct and indirect employment of Lagosians, also praised it for being a responsible corporate citizen, adding that it has done more than any other company in terms of corporate social responsibility in the state.
The governor pledged continuous co-operation and partnership between the state and Nigerian Breweries Plc. “We are part of this partnership and we shall do all to support it”, he said, while assuring of his government’s support in creating an enabling environment for the company.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of Nigerian Breweries Plc., Chief Kola Jamodu, said that Lagos State occupies a special place in the heart of the company’s commitment to “Winning with Nigeria.” This commitment, he maintained, has driven its CSR footprints over the years to make several outstanding contributions towards human and infrastructural development in the state, especially in the areas of education, health and security.
The chairman assured that the company would continue to join hands with the governor in the march to make Lagos the cynosure of all eyes.
During the visit, the Technical Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc., Mr. Henk Wymenga, highlighted the company’s socio-economic impact in Lagos State to include job creation, prompt and full compliance in payment of taxes which run into several billions of naira, local sourcing of raw materials including the company’s sorghum and cassava value chain as well as its long term sustainability agenda, “Brewing a Better World.”
A major highlight of the visit was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Lagos State government and Nigerian Breweries Plc. on the ‘One Lagos Fiesta’. Ambode signed on behalf of the state while Jamodu signed on behalf of Nigerian Breweries Plc.
The governor also planted a commemorative tree in the premises of the company’s Lagos brewery.
N’Assembly commends moves towards self-sufficiency in sugar production
The National Assembly has assured Nigerian sugar processors of a friendly policy towards achieving the nation’s self-sufficiency plan for sugar by 2020.
This was even as the lawmakers have commended the management of Dangote Sugar Refinery on the progress made towards ensuring the success of the sugar backward integration project of the economy.
The Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment, led by its Chairman, Abubakar Moriki, which visited Dangote Sugar Refinery in Lagos, expressed satisfaction at the level of the backward integration programme the company has achieved and promised its support, especially on land acquisition.
“We are aware that for a sugar business to succeed, there has to be substantial mass land acquisition for the sugar cane to be planted. We will look at these challenges affecting the industry,” he said.
He said, “we have the responsibility as the members of the House of Assembly Committee on Industry to oversee the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment alongside the agencies, which the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) is one of them, being the regulatory agency solely with the responsibility to see to the implementation of the national sugar policy globally and to come out with all implementation strategies to make us realise sugar self-sufficiency.
“We are here to see to what extent the national sugar policy has impacted on you as a player in the industry and whether there are some amendments to make the implementation smoother and faster.
“We have visited the production site at the Savannah Sugar Company, Numan, Adamawa State, which is a typical backward integration starting point where we saw how the sugar cane is produced, the collaboration you have with the host community in terms of the Out Growers Scheme and job creation.”
Moriki said the National Assembly was happy at the development seen in Numan, which portrays a successful privatisation.
Recall that the company was sold to Dangote in 2003 as moribund but the lawmaker said the committee saw at the visit that the company was back on its feet with about 12,000 hectares of land put into cultivation of sugar cane.
He tasked Dangote Sugar to ensure maximum capacity utilisation as much as possible to be able to refine sugar in Nigeria as well as the mechanism to produce sugar als in the factory.
The Group Managing Director of Dangote Sugar Refinery, Abdullahi Sule, said Nigeria is one of the world’s largest net importer of sugar, which consumes significant amount of foreign exchange.
He noted that Dangote Sugar Master Plan was to ensure five large sugar factories, 150,000 Ha of land under cultivation, 1.5 to 2.0 million MT/PA of refined sugar from locally grown sugarcane and generation of over 100,000 jobs, among others.
He pointed out that Dangote Industries Limited acquired Savannah Sugar in 2003 and Dangote Sugar being a subsidiary of Dangote Industries acquired 95 per cent stake in Savannah Sugar in December 2012, and has invested over N33.05 billion.
He added that at the end of the rehabilitation exercise, Savannah Sugar will increase its sugar production to 260,000 MT/PA of refined sugar from 26,500ha cultivated land at 12,000TCD daily, 190 days crop length, increase factory from 3,000TCD to 6,000TCD and install a 12000TCD diffuser factory, employ about 15,000 direct and indirect (seasonal) employees, produce 10MW of power for export during crop harvest, 18,000,000 litre per annum of fuel ethanol and 10,000 MT/PA animal feed from the by-products.
Sule, however, said some of the challenges facing the industry are government policies, lack of infrastructure, stringent financing, huge investment, lack of forex, among others.