It’s 2020, and everybody now has an online business. Okay, maybe not precisely but you get the point. So, it makes sense for you to want to start an online business too.

Whether you have a brick and mortar business that you want to take online, or you simply want to start a new online business in Nigeria, this is the guide to put you through on how to get started.

In this post, I will show you practical steps to take when starting your online business in Nigeria.

The truth is, there are different types of businesses you can do online, and that means the approach may be slightly different. As a result, we will be exploring different guides for starting different types of online businesses in Nigeria.

Yeah, you don’t necessarily need all the guides except you are the Jack of all Trades for business. So, simply jump to the part that speaks to you.

How To Start an Online Cupcake Business in Nigeria

Nobody, absolutely nobody says no to a tasty and well-decorated cupcake. And what’s more, cupcakes are easier to transport than regular large cakes. All of these explain why it is a genius idea to start an online cupcake business.

Time needed: 5 minutes.

Here are the steps to take to start an online cupcake business in Nigeria.

  1. Perfect your cupcake baking skills

    The truth is, most people these days (especially ladies) can bake an average cupcake in their homes. So, your goal is to make sure your cupcake is so good they prefer it to the one they make in their house.

    To improve your baking skills, you may want to take some quick baking courses. It doesn’t matter whether you had an idea about baking before. It’s advisable to learn to improve whatever you used to know and learn new ways of doing things.

    Youtube can also come in handy here as there are several videos that explain some of these baking processes. Watch, carry out experiments, make mistakes, and learn before finally starting your online cake business.

  2. Find ingredients vendors

    From flour to icing sugar, you are going to need ingredients to bake your cupcakes. Browse online, go to the market and find vendors who sell the ingredients you need

  3. Choose a location to operate from

    It’s okay if this location is your home. Especially if you are just starting and don’t know if the business will be successful; you don’t want to commit so much to it by renting a shop and all that.

    However, when you can, it’s best to choose a location where your target market can easily access you.

    Yes, it’s an online business, and most orders would be delivered to customers in their homes. However, there are exceptional cases where customers want to come to pick up their orders. It’s for cases like this that you should consider getting a lovely location.

How To Start an Online Course Business

So, if you have the skill and a passion for teaching, there are two ways to go about it.

1. Register as a teacher on any of the following platforms

  • A. Udemy
  • B. Coursera
  • C. Master Class
  • D. SayAbc
  • E. Alison

2. This option is for investors and it doesn’t come cheap.

First, you’d need to hire a web developer and another guy to build a mobile app. User
experience and user interface are critical for smooth user experience

Next, advertise, tweet, get the word out. Marketing is essential to get the write instructors
to register on your platform.

This should probably come in the first or second position; register your business.

How To Start an Online Catering Business

Like cupcakes, no one says no to good food. Hungry or not, people always want to try out a new outlet, new flavours and all.

1. Business plan and marketing

Observe the food businesses in your environment. Your business location will determine the demand rate at which people will demand your services.

Also, some seasons influence sales more than other seasons. If your target is school and work environment, then your target launch and breakfast packs. Alternatively, you can choose to serve dinner only as it alternates the business trends in your environment.

Jumia Food and Habari offer platforms for vendors. But you could start small with friend referrals and even uploading on your WhatsApp status.

The ultimate goal is to grow your brand in due course. If you have a full-time job or you’re a student looking to make extra cash with your passion, consider working evenings and weekends. Offer large quantities instead of single packs. (Example. soups in 1Ltr or 4Ltr servings).

Food trays are official birthday presents and they don’t have to come with trumpets and fanfare.

Use targeted social media. Trust me WhatsApp is a good place to start. Facebook is also nice. Upload tasty meals with little captions to tell your audience exactly what you want them to know. A friend posted her business idea on Facebook and someone offered to buy materials for her and now she sells bole online. With IG, you can grow your business outside your friends and people you may know.

2. Find your special recipe

People don’t want to buy another plate of rice; they want another experience. is one brand I love because they took small chops to another level.

3. Equipment inventory

You’re likely starting out from your kitchen. Separate business from your personal kitchen items. Also consider shopping for trays, plates, and nice cutlery. Why cutlery? Because they come handy for pictures. Also, have a clean well propped set for your pictures as much of your marketing relies on the images you post.

How To Start an Online Fashion Business

Is it just me or does every girl on WhatsApp own a thrift store? In reverse, the guys sell high fashions and brand wears. Well, no judgments but be mindful, don't judge a business by its cover. Just because everyone sells thrift clothes online doesn't make it a successful venture.

  1. Planning

    I can't say this enough. Here are some points to guide you when planning.

    What exactly do I want to sell? Ladies, gents or children wear; Formal or sport casual? Top brands or thrift. Lingerie or sleepwear? Sweatshirts or shoes? Observe big stores, what fashion combination works best. Men and women sport casual?

    Children and mother outfits? Should I include accessories? If I sell sports casual can I include sports accessories? How often do people shop for sports wears? Is it seasonal? Where do I shop for my wears?

  2. Set sales goals.

    Try out a sales strategy. Note what methods were successful and the platforms that were of benefit to your business. Apply the lessons and increase your inventory.

  3. Do a test run

    Now that you've answered every possible question try a test run. This is a good place to start if you have zero experience in sales. Shop for a few as 10 items or less and try out your marketing plans. Make adjustments when necessary.

How To Start an Online Money Lending Business

  1. Plan your Business. How do you intend to find loans? What are your criteria for granting a loan?
  2. Registration Register your business name and fill all necessary tax obligations.
  3. Open a business account
  4. Set up account management
  5. Draft an underwriting.
  6. Obtain necessary permits and licenses.
  7. Get Business Insurance. There’s always the risk that you may not get your money back, this is why you need an insurance cover to cushion your loss

How To Start an Online Dropshipping Business

Dropshipping eliminates the need for a physical store for inventory.

All you’d need is:

  1. A computer
  2. An online store. You can build one that includes an integrated payment portal, a blog, and a detailed product page or you could register on stores like Shopify.
  3. And an understanding of how to sell online. This is crucial. You’d need to build traffic to your store and that would involve a lot of marketing.

How dropshipping works.

  1. Source for products and list them in your store at retail price.
  2. When your customer pays for a product, forward all orders to a specific manufacturer at wholesale price, and then the manufacturers can deliver the product directly to the customer.

Sounds cumbersome? I know, but with the right tools, you can monitor goods and track your account quickly.

MORE IN: How to Start Dropshipping Business in Nigeria, A Complete 2020 Guide


Go with trusted suppliers to ensure quality products and timely delivery. Also, when picking a niche, go for products that delivery time is less crucial.

Ensure your sales process is transparent and prepare for minor inconveniences like when a manufacturer delivers the wrong item to your customer.

How To Start an Online Advertising Business

when it comes down it, running an advertising business comes down to a few things;

  1. Building landing pages
  2. Designing ads
  3. Constructing messaging and positioning
  4. Learning systems like Marketo, HubSpot, and Salesforce
  5. Properly implementing tracking
  6. Spending hours on a promotion to watch it fail

And lastly, the pressure to produce.


  1. When it comes to hours of work and billing, bear in mind that you may have to work overtime. Ensure that your contracts are flexible and allow for changes to payment depending on the needs of the campaign.

The services you provide and how you bill for your work becomes a critical part of how efficiently your business is managed over time.

How to Start an Art Business Online

Art like style is subjective.

Art is sophistication.

This unique value is what makes art timeless. The form of art may evolve over time but each individual will always have the art that best defines them.

That’s it.

You can’t engage in selling all types of art. To begin with, art forces you to find a niche.

It’s irrelevant to dwell on passion because passion is essential to selling art. Without passion, don’t even think about venturing into this business.

It’s suicidal to focus on a niche that won’t sell in your location. Selling fancy Asian wood work to a crowd that is obsessed with Italian style is just suicidal.

You have to . . .

Create like an artist but think like an entrepreneur.

Are Asian wood works cool?


In fact, they are super cool.

Is there a market for such art around you?

Well, there you have it.

I know someone that sells the coolest handpainted Polos and one way she markets to her audience is wearing her style.

So Here’s a break down if you intend to start an art business online.

  1. Find your audience. Take advantage of your social media and the algorithms they provide. Wear your art. Be your own ambassador get people to see the beauty of your style.
  2. Find your niche. Make use of feedbacks, observe other art brands, and how they occupy the market. Decide if you’d be the underdog or play above your competition.
  3. Build a website. Start with a free site. Just a place to store your portfolio. Instagram is a great place to sell art. Link your website to your Instagram.

Check out Awele Emili on Instagram for inspiration.

  1. Business plan, sales/marketing channels, and revenue structure. This is where you start thinking like an entrepreneur. Now that you have found your niche, and are ready to go full scale, how do you intend to get your product to your audience? Instagram likes are cool but what you need is sales. Engage with posts on fashion. Suggest a look for this person and refer them to your page.

For example. Open explore on Instagram, let’s say you see a beautiful picture of a person you consider would like your style. Engage them in comments and maybe leave a DM. Suggest a style on your page and tag them if you think they’d be open to the offer.

This is only an example and should not be the only approach.

Treat your homepage like a storefront; make it alluring.

Note: think like an entrepreneur.

How to Start an Online Retail Business With No Money

  1. Find a retail outlet. There are a dozen platforms that offer retail outlets at zero cost. Shopify, Amazon, JUMIA and Habari. All you need are pictures of your product and an email address.

What do these platforms offer.

  • An email address
  • Pictures of Products and description

Now you don’t open a store and leave the work to chance. You’d need to advertise to drive traffic to your store.

Ensure you include product description that can influence the buying decision of your customer.

It’s not enough to own a retail store on any of these online platform. Constantly remodel your product to meet up with competitors and appeal to your customer base.

Take online courses on customer relation. This would help you build reputation.

If you have zero experience in marketing online, then WATCH THIS Video on Advertising Strategies.

How to Start an Online Wholesale Business

Source inventory: If you are the producer of your product. It’s best to buy your inventory in large quantities to reduce production cost and ensure profit.

Storage: When working out from your home, storage is a big deal. So put it in your plans. You may need to rent a space to store your inventory.

Production: Wholesale requires large commodities and as a start-up, you may not be able to hire a help. The best advice is to not overwhelm yourself with demands. Create a schedule that works for you and let your customers know your routine if they have to book your product weeks ahead.

Alternatively you can suggest delivering specific quantities at specific times.

Hiring help: No need to feel pressured. if you hit a big contract and can afford to pay staffs, then by all means hire a help.

Be creative with your branding. This would help your product to stand out from other brands within your market.

As a budding entrepreneur, ensure to run Quality Control every time.

Remember the goal is to make profit and deliver quality product.

Do not start out with production without a ready market. Talk to retailers about your product before production.

How to Start an Accessory Business Online

When starting your jewelry business there are tips you need when negotiating with vendors and testing for quality.

From creating branded luxury jewelry, to where to find manufacturers and shop for ready-made designs. Watch this detailed video on starting your online jewelry business.


Starting an online business is no longer for a chosen few. Today, every brick and mortar store must, in addition to their physical stores open an online version of their businesses to stay relevant and connect with customers’ expectation.

Learn the ropes and you’d be happy that you made the decision to.

Please let me know your thoughts using the comment section below. What would you want me to write on next?


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