Business or Management Consulting is the practice of helping organizations solve problems so as to improve their efficiency, effectiveness and productivity. It is a global business worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Wherever businesses exist, there is a need for Business Consultants. This is also true for Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with a population of over 170 million (July 2012 est. from CIA World Factbook).
Business Consulting in Nigeria is thriving especially for multinational firms like Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), KPMG, Accenture and Deloitte Consulting. However, the majority of small business owners in Nigeria do not have the capacity to engage these big multinational firms and need expert advice to maintain and build their businesses.
This leaves a huge demand gap that is yet to be filled. There is an urgent need for small but highy-skilled and capable business consultants to service small businesses. So what does it take to be a successful Small Business Consultant (SBC) in Nigeria?
First, you must have the knowledge- your organisation most have the needed competence and expertise on how to start, build and sustain a successful business within the Nigerian environment.
Versatility is also important; the economic climate in Nigeria is very dynamic with many policy somersaults and inconsistencies by the government, long-term planning becomes difficult nay almost an impossible task. However, by focusing on achieving key success milestones within a short period of time, small businesses can grow at a slow and steady pace whilst government continues to learn from its previous mistakes and becomes more consistent with policy formulation and implementation.
In view of the unpredictable nature of the Nigerian economy, SBCs have to be creative by conceptualizing business ideas and processes for their clients that will enable them take advantage of Nigeria’s large market. If there is one thing that makes Nigeria attractive as a business destination it is its large population; this provides many opportunities that can be profitably utilized.
Mastery of the socio-cultural environment in Nigeria is also very important for SBCs as Management practices that have been successful in other countries may not necessarily work in Nigeria due to cultural as well as religious factors. In such situations, imported Management practices have to be adapted to suit the local culture rather than it being adopted without modification.
Excellent customer service is an important tool for SBCs in Nigeria as it is for any other business and in any other part of the world. Nigerians are people who appreciate excellent service and going out of your way to exceed your clients’ expectations is a great way to promote your consultancy business.
The opportunities for SBCs are great in Nigeria and I expect a great explosion in their numbers in the next few years with millions of dollars in revenue accruing to them for their services.