TALL Security Print doing business in Nigeria
The TALL Group is the UK’s leading provider of special cheques, credits and secure encoded documents, producing millions of secure documents each month from its fully accredited, secure production facilities. With a base in Cheshire, they provide an invaluable contribution to the Cheshire Commonwealth Association.
Ease of doing business
Relatively easy. However, customers are demanding, and often require immediate responses to their requests for quotations or queries. Be ready to receive calls outside normal UK office hours. Your first price will never be good enough, so be ready to negotiate. Do not be surprised to have to wait for a long time before there is any response to your quotations. Then, when they are ready to order, customers will typically expect you to deliver immediately.
Pitfalls to avoid
Always ensure that payment is received in advance before accepting an order, or before supplying goods/services. Be very careful of speculative approaches from callers claiming to know the President/MD of the customer/etc., and who claim to already have the contract in hand. Be careful also of any “extras” that an agent or customer may wish to add to the price.
Very much dependent on the goods/services to be supplied and obviously industry specific. There is a definite drive to ‘buy locally’ where products or services are available within Nigeria.
Practicalities to consider
Variable internet and phone services. English is not always the mother tongue, so be ready to sometimes “translate” the English you hear spoken.
Plan as early as possible for any trips, as obtaining a visa is both expensive and time consuming. Be sure to check with your GP for any inoculations you may need. Again, do this as early as possible, as some jabs may need to be taken weeks before your trip. Always have an agent or someone you know collect you from the airport. Ensure that you are also accompanied to/from customer visits. Much as in any city in the world, be wary of any people you may meet outside airports, offices or in the street, and never carry more money than you need with you, or wear obviously expensive jewellery or other attire. Abuja, the administrative capital, is considerably more comfortable and easy to manage than travelling in Lagos, the commercial capital. When heading back to the UK, always confirm your ticket with the airline the day before, and give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and check in.
Precautions to take
Anywhere can be dangerous if sensible precautions are not taken – even in the UK. So, do not be too alarmed if travelling in Nigeria. However, common sense dictates that one is careful not to look like a rich tourist. Try to get someone local to accompany you on all visits. Use the official hotel taxi if getting about on your own. Otherwise, stay in the hotel if you do not need to go out.
Our specific successes/failures
Lots of them (successes), particularly in the educational sector. Failures – plenty of those too, but persistence and patience are the watchwords in exporting.
How to find a local partner
Often local partners may find you. However, to proactively find a local partner, you can go through the usual official organisations such as the DIT, the High Commission in Abuja or Lagos, Chambers of Commerce, Trade