Doing Business in Nigeria requires a good knowledge of the local culture and business practices. This know-how knowledge is one of the basic conditions for a successful business transaction in Nigeria.

The 1st July, Business breakfast event held at the Slovenia Chamber of Commerce and Industry Slovenia highlighted Nigeria’s cultural etiquettes and its role when considering Nigeria in your go international projects.

The seminar started with a welcome address by;

Aleš Cantarutti, Director, International Relations Department Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia

Fred Uduma, President, Slovenian-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce

Preliminary facts were stressed out by all the speakers. Mr Tony Ayavoro, legal adviser of RenePort Ltd. On this occasion presented some important information about Nigeria, which consists of over 300 ethnic groups and a population of well over 178 million people. Comparing Slovenia and Nigeria business culture on time management, Mr Ayavoro said, In Slovenia, time is important and punctuality is a virtue. In Nigeria, time is flexible and people come before time. When a person is too conscious of time he can be viewed with suspicion and in some cases, do not expect meetings to start on time. In his presentation, he further exposed little facts to be mindful of; Developing good, long-term relationships in Nigeria are vital to business success. Long term vision and commitment and Likeable, friendly & genuine people are likely to succeed. Nigerians expect flexibility when working out the business details. Patience is critical to build long term rapport and Constant attention, adaptability & flexibility are required. He further stressed that Nigerians are very good negotiators so one must be prepared to compromise. Sending the right team, titles and age can influence perceptions in the negotiation.

The first step in entering the Nigerian market is a thorough investigation of the sector and verifying potential partners. In doing so, companies can turn to the Slovenian-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Embassy of Nigeria in Budapest or Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Prior to the conclusion of the transaction, it is necessary to establish a good, long-term oriented relationships and partners to present a long-term vision and commitment. Positive attitude and condescension play a key role. Business requires a lot of attention, as well as adaptation and compromise. Always offer Handshake with the right hand, don’t receive or pass with the left hand.

Mr James Behan, director of RenePort Ltd who has many years of experience doing business with Nigeria In this presentation linked culture directly with business, providing experiences, practical knowledge and live examples of how culture can influence business strategy in Nigeria. He said his first impression due to unfamiliarity with the local business culture, was rather negative.  Nigerians are ruthless negotiators, but they can also be very impatient when acting as principal. He further advised that in demand and supply, it is necessary to clearly define and agree on the details before transaction.

In formulating marketing strategies it is necessary to take into account local cultural characteristics, prior to this, thoroughly researched the market. Mr Behan mentioned four ways to enter the Nigerian market; Distribution, Joint Venture, Merger or Acquisition and Greenfield strategy. The most common approach is to use agents.

Fred Uduma, President of the Slovenian – Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, stressed on the fact that culture plays a key role or to a high degree influences the attitude, perception and decision making process of individuals or companies seeking to do business in Nigeria. Mr Uduma said, understanding the business culture of Nigeria that today’s event offer will certainly guide you in establishing a good working relationship and long term commitment with Nigerian partners.

Mr Uduma emphasized further on Nigerian Government’s efforts to enhance the reputation of the country in the fight against corruption, combating security challenges and promotion of trade and investment. In his presentation, Mr Uduma said Nigeria is open for business. The return on investment in Nigeria (ROI), Is the highest in Africa – between 35 and 45 per cent and in some sectors even up to 70 per cent.

Opportunities are offered in practically all industries, most notably in the energy sector in the field of oil and gas, agriculture, shipbuilding and transport, telecommunication and Truism etc…

It was interesting to listen to the experiences of successful Slovenian company Sinergise. Mr Greg Milčinski Director of Sinergise d.o.o., said Nigerian market is very important because of its size, opportunities in the ICT sector and other sectors. Highlighting the importance of culture, he shared his experience with the dress code which he himself resolved with the use of traditional clothing. Very important in business, of course, the support of local partners, he added, but stressed that before the conclusion of an agreement with local partner(s), it makes sense to check the seriousness and the actual desirability of local partners for business.

The event was closed with a networking and Q&A session.