If you are like a growing number looking for business opportunities in Cotonou (who have reached out to me since I began writing – in April 2013 – about my experiences as I shuttled the Lagos-Cotonou axis), this article will interest you.
Entering a new market requires careful planning and research.
Over the past 4 years, I have been contacted by business persons living within and outside Africa regarding their interest in exploring business opportunities within Benin Republic’s popular capital – Cotonou, and the West African region in general.
Most of these enquiries have come from Nigerians in Diaspora. And quite often they have been very willing to offer tempting remuneration to have me JOIN their ventures as a partner or agent of some sort.
The challenge has often been that I was simply not ready to add more to what I had on my plate, because I was focused on establishing name and brand recognition via a robust online presence driven by a self-sustaining zero cost client attracting Web Marketing System (WMS) via TayoSolagbade.com.
I have since achieved that goal: it is on record that I generate passive and active income based sales of my unique range of custom Excel-VB solutions, Web Marketing/Freelance Writing Support etc.
I recently registered DiscoverCotonou.com and began building it as a Travel product/service website
in line with a vision I’d been nursing since mid 2013 to offer primarily English speaking persons with interests in Cotonou in particular and Benin Republic in general, RELIABLE information, education and support, to successfully explore it, and achieve their desired, legitimate goals.
Since I began work on the site, and creating awareness using promotional materials (like my call cards, branded T-Shirts etc), I have gotten clear signals from key channels, that people want this solution, and only need to be sure they can TRUST the one who providers it.
Just this morning, I had an unplanned 30 minute conversation with a Nigerian CEO that I’d had casual meetings with in the past, when we met through a mutual acquaintance.
After some initial small talk, he’d asked if I could link him with any contacts in Benin, with whom he could discuss the possibility of importing a food flour based product from Europe into Cotonou, via a distributorship agreement they would come to.
He showed me a sample of the product and mentioned that he was on his way to send it via courier to a prospective distributor in an eastern state of Nigeria.
I replied that I could not give him any of my personal contacts, but that through membership of DiscoverCotonou.com, he could get access to my “FREE Market Entry Support Service to do any market related research and investigation, including establishing contacts with potential partners, representatives, agents etc.
His eyes lighted up as I mentioned this, and he said:
“I thought you said you could not help me? But this is exactly what I want – someone to play the role you just described. You see I do not have time to travel to Cotonou and spend a week. I’m just too busy for that. A day or 2 at best is what I can afford. “
I responded by saying that my offer was different from what he’d asked me about initially. I was NOT going to give him access to my own contacts. Instead, I would do the leg work and find persons/outfits potentially a good fit for him, and THEN he would have to do the work of making contact with them and deciding whether or not to go ahead.
I added that, in that regard, if the need arose, I could also play the role of a facilitator, including helping with transportation, lodging, translation, travel accessories, guides etc
“So what do I need to do?” he asked – looking at the call card I’d handed to him as we spoke.
I replied: “You simply need to sign up as a member of DiscoverCotonou.com and the suite of solutions will become accessible to you. There are 3 membership levels. Contact me using the information on the card and I’ll send you the details.”
With that, we shook hands and parted ways.
If you’re reading this, and are interested in pursuing business opportunities in Benin Republic’s Cotonou, fill/submit this form to let me know what you need help with.
www.DiscoverCotonou.com: Making It Easy to Explore, Enjoy (Even Make Money In) Cotonou