Nigeria has proven to be a fertile ground for very rewarding business opportunities – regulations, the operating environment and its peculiar challenges aside. If the occasion demands it, you reserve the right to seek one or more business partners. We have curated some useful strategies to find suitable business partners in Nigeria, which will be unveiled as you read along.
As a Nigerian entrepreneur or startup, you may choose not to bear the responsibility of running your business alone. A foreign investor is also required by law to have at least one local business partner in Nigeria. That Nigerian business partner will be available on ground to help navigate the local business environment and handle operations effectively. Thus, the need to find suitable business partners in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.
The Journey to Find Suitable Business Partners in Nigeria: Factors to Consider
Choosing the right business partner in Nigeria is a risky venture. It requires time and careful search for dependable persons who will not defraud you or waste your resources. Therefore consider these factors as you embark on the quest to find a suitable business partner in Nigeria:
Building trust: A high degree of trust and understanding is required to make a partnership work, right from the onset. You must be able to share your concerns, problems, fears and aspirations with one another, every step of the way. You must also be able to support and guide one another in times of need, and during personal or business challenges. This would require healthy, unhindered communication and a strong sense of belonging to exist between the partners.
Sharing similar vision and values: Your business partner(s) must be a person whose vision, ethical values, level of commitment and drive agree with yours. Your attitudes to work and life should agree, as well as benefit both (or all) of you. He or she should help you focus on your agreed objectives (and vice versa). If you cannot establish this synergy in your partnership early enough (and sustain it), there is trouble ahead.
Willingness to share the responsibility, risks and profits: It is not uncommon to find business partnerships where one party invests the bigger chunk (or all) of the capital. While the other invests skills, knowledge, and perhaps business contacts/networks. This arrangement may work, if the partners show true commitment. However, the partner who invests significant money into the business runs a bigger risk of loss if anything goes wrong. Such a partner may even take extreme measures to secure his/her funds, or to enforce the business agreement – to the detriment of the others. It is far better if all parties are making a significant financial contribution.
That being said, let us examine some meaningful strategies to find suitable business partners in Nigeria.
Be Clear About Your Business Goals
Firstly, clearly define what you want to achieve in your business before ever seeking for business partners. Clearly-defined business goals and objectives will help you to find the right partners that will align or agree with those goals. Your business goals must be clearly communicated to potential business partners at the selection stage. This will help such persons to decide if they are comfortable entering into the partnership with you or not.
Outline Your Business Partner Requirements
The next stage is to clearly spell out the desired capabilities and traits you need from your business partner. Which special abilities and/or skillset do you need from your business partner? What will his/her/their major responsibilities be? What equipment and achievements do you desire such to have? You just clearly identify and state them ahead of the screening and selection process.
Sourcing for The Right Business Partner: Useful Strategies
There are a number of viable channels you can use to source and eventually recruit valuable and suitable business partners. You can use the following mediums:
Social media and online networks: Communicate your needs with friends and followers on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other social media channels. By doing so. they can share your request with their own network as well, until you get suitable candidates. It is also good to continually build networks on social media, job boards, forums (e.g. Nairaland) and online marketplaces (such as freelancing sites). You can join groups relevant to your business on social media, and establish relationships with other members.
Family and friends: It is very possible to source for business partners amongst trusted family members or friends, if you can put sentiments aside. Remember to treat the entire transaction as a business partnership with clear terms of agreement – no emotion. You must check to ensure they meet your business requirements from the onset.
Real-world networks: Establishing valuable connections with professionals and resource persons that can help your business is very vital. This is one proven method through which you can find suitable business partners in Nigeria. Your network can recommend suitable persons to you, if you present your request to them. You can also find potential business partners by attending networking events – such as conferences, workshops, or trainings. Joining professional associations within your industry can also boost your network.
Perform Careful Vetting: Do Integrity & Performance Checks
More or less like conducting an interview, you would have prepared a list of potential candidates. You cannot simply make a final choice without comparing between candidates to find those that truly meet your requirements. Choose your own method of trimming down and picking shortlisted candidates – perhaps a kind of scoring system. That means you will evaluate each candidate against a set of requirements, and assign a score to each candidate without bias or sentiment.
The final stage will be to set up a physical or online meeting with your shortlisted candidates. This could be a phone or face-to-face interview to discuss with each candidate, and decide who you eventually find suitable to work with.
Put an Appealing Incentive Plan/Structure in Place
For you to retain the best business partner(s), you must convince them that working with you will be truly rewarding. Put in place (and offer) a good reward package, an appealing incentive plan to woo them and keep them interested in your business. You may need to negotiate that with them as well.
Prepare A Detailed, Clear and Carefully Drafted Agreement
Once you have chosen your business partner, it is time to agree on, and document the full terms of your agreement. The terms of the agreement should be clear, well understood, and mutually beneficial to all parties. If necessary, get a legal counsel or business consultant to help you draft a suitable business agreement. The agreement should clearly spell out the conditions covering every vital aspect of the business that will affect both parties. This should include tenure/timeline of the agreement, profit sharing and/or rewards, responsibilities of both parties, confidentiality, rights, obligations, conflict resolution, jurisdiction, and more.
Establishing a business partnership should never be rushed. It requires a careful selection and agreement process built on trust. Additionally, trust and cooperation are non-negotiable elements that will continue to sustain that business and make it successful. With these in place, your partnership will end up being a blessing and not a liability.
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