Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Doing business with fellow Nigerians

So yesterday I was talking to one of my lifelong buddies about business and such and we got on the topic of doing business with Nigerians. She's an Igbo girl like me, but she does hair and sells Avon (her blog is here, )while I've been selling jewelry my mom makes, along with trying to sell meatpies. Eventually, I plan to have my own web and graphic design business. And before any of you start talking about Igbo people and business, just chill out. That is just a stereotype, though we seem to be fulfilling it. Lol...

Anyways, we were talking about how our people always insist on ridiculously low prices or discounts when buying something from each other. Lines like,"Come on, I'm your brother now?" or "I will give you $25" for a service that's actually worth $50 can be a real pain. And if you're dealing with your elders- forget about it. They want to treat like a child and you're supposed to 'respect' them by allowing them to run you over.  In my teen years, another of my friends (also an Igbo girl) swore off of doing Nigerian ladies hair because they never wanted to pay a fair price.

One thing I know though, is that if an American was to charge the same price for a good or service, Nigerian people will pay, though with a little haggling. But when it comes to their own people, they want an unreasonably low, unfair price. They want to talk about, oh I'm your brother, I'm your sister; but why won't that brother or sister do right and support their brother or sister's business?

My friend did mention one thing that's true, though: 

Africans won't sue you; they'll just cuss you out.

Homegirl had me straight rollin' when she said this. It's true though. And that might be the one advantage of doing business with our people. Hahahahaha........


  1. this is my words of wisdom I love it!

  2. Words of wisdom or words of silliness.... I'll let other readers decide. Lol...

  3. This is spot on! When we started our site, we were going for promoting all Africans doign things in business and each person we interviewed always complained of the discount behaviour with Africans.

    I think though that if people are able to barter that is much better. Like, I will give you this if I give you this and what is being bartered is of equal value. Especially for businesses starting out. Good luck with your venture!

  4. Diasporan Darlings: Thanks for stopping by! Yes, the way Africans treat other Africans who own business is sometimes unfair. But the bartering idea is good one...

  5. Although it's hard I think it's important for us to set the tone with our business right away and be professional. So if you know an "aunty" is coming to use your service, you can say "Aunty, the cost of this service is $X, but for you we can give it to you at $X-(whatever amount you decide to give her as discount, even if it's only $5). And also if you run your business professionally from start to finish and have those little touches like receipts, bags for merchandise, and a flyer, poster, or catalogue, you'll be taken more seriously.

    Be firm but polite; it might shame some of them into treating your business like any other business.

    I do agree that even if you do everything right, there are some who will try to cheat you by expecting you to work for next to nothing.

  6. Good suggestions GNG... Offering a predetermined 'discount' could help in the negotiation process. And no doubt, some will still attempt to cheat business owners... But that doesn't mean we have to cater to them.