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Running a business – any business – is difficult. In Nigeria, it is even more difficult and this is why it is important to gather as much knowledge as possible as a business owner. According to this Vanguard Nigeria report, over 80% of SMEs in Nigeria fail within the first five years due to lack of experience and “other wrong business practices”.

Today, we’ll be looking at five things every business owner, whether it is a side hustle or full-on registered business, should pay attention to:

1. Overspending vs Underspending

If anything is going to keep your business afloat, it’ll be profit – the difference between how much you spend on your business and how much your business makes (revenue). A lot of business owners make the mistake of spending way too much on things that don’t have as much value and spend much less on things that could add value or give their business an edge. Don’t be like those business owners – it could be the difference between life and death of your business.

2. Online marketing

As you may have heard several times over now, the world is going digital. At some point in the not-too-distant future, most things are going to be technology based – including businesses like yours. Despite this, a lot of Nigerian business owners don’t have a website or any form of online presence. Of course, this is understandable if your business doesn’t necessarily rely on technology. However, while that business may not need it now, it’ll definitely need it down the line. Websites are quite inexpensive to build these days and setting up social media accounts for your business is very simple so you should definitely invest in it.

3. Customer insights

As the phrase goes, “Customer is always right.” Knowing your customers and gaining insights from their feedback could be the biggest difference between you and your competitors. The thing with customers is when they’re feedback is taken into account and they can see how it changes the product/service, they tend to tell their friends about it and also remain loyal to that brand. It may not seem like it but your customers can make or kill your business so you should always pay attention to them and figure out the things that matter to them. Then act on it.

4. Customer service

This has long been a problem with Nigerian businesses and your business may be guilty. There is literally no downside to investing in customer service. If anything it’ll help you know your customers better, form a decent relationship with them and make them loyal to you. It’s all about going the extra mile to satisfy your customer and it always pays dividends in the end. If you want your business to survive and outlast competition, invest in customer service.

5. Knowledge of competition and market your business operates in

Every entrepreneur must be aware of changes in the market and stay up to date (as much as they can) with what their competition is up to. If you do not know what is going on with your competitors and how they are improving their businesses, it leaves you at a disadvantage and it could lead to the failure of your business. This is not to say you should spy on your competitors of course, but you should be aware of their mistakes as well as their wins. That way you can learn from them and improve on their strategies to improve on your own business goals.

When it’s all said and done, there are way more things to pay attention to when you’re running a business including credit scores and a business plan. However, if you can sort out the five things listed in this article, then you are well on your way to building a successful business.

As always, FairMoney is here to support you and help you get going with the funds you might need. If you no blow, wetin we gain. To the moon!