Heavy traffic is seen on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos


Lagos, Nigeria, the center of excellence, is the economic capital of the country and the most densely populated city in Nigeria. People throng this city in search of wealth and a better life. It is this populationthat makes the city profitable, and it is also the reason why life is so hectic in the city.

Understanding how the city affects your business negatively will help you to adjust appropriately and save you a lot of losses. These lessons are also useful in cities with similarly large populations and insufficient infrastructure: Ibadan, Nairobi, Mombasa, Mumbai etc.

  1. Reduced Productivity
    • You need your employees to give their 100%, every morning when they clock in.However,the hustle involved in getting to work takes a huge chunk out of their productivity for the first few hours. In Lagos for example, over 70% of people who work on the Island live on the Mainland. More often than not, the CEO and the top executives live on the Island, so they get to work without much hassle. On the other hand, the bulk of the staff live far away and face the horrendous Lagos traffic everyday.

      If your staff only get 4 hours of sleep everyday and have to slug through the stressful monotony of Lagos traffic, Monday to Friday, 12 months of the year, you can never get the maximum from them. They are human beings not machines!


      A. When hiring, have a bias for competent individuals that live close enough to where your business is located.

      B. If your business has many branches, for instance if you run a restaurant chain, move your staff around based on which of your branches is the closest to where they live. This reduces the stress involved in getting to work.If you communicate this to your employees, they will be grateful that your organization cares about them and will in turn care about the organization.

      C. You can also liaise with real estate agents close to where your company is located so as to help your staff relocate easily. If your company can afford it, offer them accommodation allowances and loans.

      D. Get a staff bus – this is the last on the list. A staff bus eases things up, but it does not solve the problem. If your staff still have to wake up at 4am to get on a staff bus that brings them back home at 11pm, you have not solved the problem.
  2. Lost Revenue
    • If your business requires a physical presence and the commute to your office is a traffic day-time nightmare, most potential clients will prefer to purchase the same product or service elsewhere even if it is more expensive to do so. You might not be able to measure the amount of potential profit you lose due to this simple fact. More advertising is not the solution, neither is cursing the government.


      • Move your office out of the traffic gridlocked zone if you can.
      • Consider doing more business online and working with a logistics company that can deliver products to your clients all over Lagos. However, this may be more expensive for you in the long run, compared to moving out, especially if you do not manage the process well.
      • Open a new branch and convert the gridlocked location to a back office site. Often times, traffic congestions are usually in one direction at a time. When the route that goes out is jammed, coming in is usually free. If you have to remain in that location, why not convert it to the production site and get a new distribution location where customers can easily find you?
  3. Lack of Competitiveness
    • If you are on the wrong side of town, the only reason why you may still be making some revenue is because your competition has not discovered the secret of taking you out of business. If competition comes and makes it more convenient for customers to access services and products, your business will be in trouble. If you think about it, there is hardly any good reason to keep your office on the wrong side of town.


      • Leave! Before competition gets the better of you. It is that simple, no need to sugar-coat it. Business is war in many ways and in war, geography is everything.
      • The reason a lot of business owners give for remaining on the wrong side of town is lack of funds to make the move. That is where First Bank comes in. Frankly speaking, accessing money for business is no longer as hard as people believe. Check out how First Bank can help your business grow and access funding and business advice here.

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Bolaji Atolagbe

*Picture Reference - blacknaija.com