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‘Tale Alimi: 5 ‘S’ Principles for Business Success



As I encounter various ‘want to be’ or existing business owners and entrepreneurs’. One of the things that worry me is their unstructured, or sometimes uninformed, approach to building their business. These business owners are usually in two categories: the ones who started their business out of passion that love what they do, but they don’t quite know how to move it further; and the ones who started their business because they wanted to make a lot of money and now they’ve made some, they don’t know how to scale the business.

When I have conversations with them or examine their business operations, I notice one or more of these 5 principles are missing and that’s why their business has stalled. Omitting one of these 5 principles is like attempting to cook a pot of soup without a vital ingredient.

I would like to share the 5 ‘S’ for business success and once again, I deliberately made it one letter of the alphabet to make it easy to remember. They are:

Your business strategy is how your business plans to achieve its objectives in the long term. Every business should have a long term plan that would keep the team motivated and serve as a compass to guide decision making and action. If you fail to plan, you inevitably plan to fail. You need to be decisive and deliberate in your business to increase the chances of success.

This is how your business is organized to achieve its objectives efficiently. It starts with the legal structure, i.e is it a sole proprietorship, partnership or limited liability? The legal structure would determine the types of returns and taxes the business would pay. Your accounting and human resource structures are also important. When you hear people say: that business is not structured, it simply means it is not organized efficiently – and most likely everything revolves around one man. This is popularly known as ‘one man’ business in Naija parlance.

Business systems according to Law dictionary are a combination of people and automated applications organized to meet particular objectives. Technology is a big driver to improve the efficiency of your business. A lot of your business systems like your customer response, inventory management, order processing and sales systems can be automated using technology. When your business is done manually, it is prone to errors and omission. As a small business owner, there are a lot of small business friendly systems that don’t cost a lot which you can use right now.

I always say, generating sales is the lifeblood of every business. If you fail to sell, you fail to remain in business. I advise my clients to focus very squarely on their sales process and ensure that their business is bringing in money continuously. Spend more time ensuring that your business is generating revenues than on making your operations perfect, especially in the early stages of business. One of my mentors says: your marketing is more important than your mastery. You need money to implement systems and structures, so make sure your business is bringing in money first.

Sustainability is the ability of a business to survive and remain a going concern in an environment into the future. It means you need to build a sustainability consciousness into the business by paying attention to social, economic and environmental factors. This takes into consideration things like corporate social responsibility and business ethics. My sister is a sustainability expert and I used to think it was just a big word until I witnessed businesses suffer… because they did not have a sustainability plan. Even if you are a small business owner, you should have a plan to respect and contribute to your local business environment.

These 5 ‘S’s’ might not sound like so much fun, but they are the bedrock on which a successful business would be built.

If you need assistance implementing them in your business, we have an upcoming business boot camp that would work your through. See details HERE

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Luba V Nel

'Tale Alimi is the Co-founder and current CEO of Owoafara, a fund matching and business support platform for African MSME's. She is also the Lead strategist of Tale Alimi Global; a strategy consulting boutique focused on working with visionary and forward thinking SME's to take their business from small to scale. She is the author of Uplevel and her latest book Small to Scale. She has a Masters in Business Administration from Lagos business school, a certificate in personal coaching from the coaching academy UK. She is a social innovation fellow with the startingbloc institute in the United States. When she is not thinking about innovative business models, she is an avid fitness enthusiast. Learn more about her new startup Owoafara:( Get daily business inspiration when you follow her on twitter ( and get an insight into her life on Instagram (


  1. alwayshappy

    October 30, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    3 gbosa ! alimi has broken it own for all the “ogas at the top” or the “Startedfrom the bottom and we here” or the “natural born hustlers” there is truth and money in following alimis advice, start today biko, save yourself from yourselves.

  2. Akinwale Olugbenga

    October 30, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    This rightup is A great insight for all to be and owners of business.
    The booth camp is something you must not miss cause I am a living proof of the revamp the training as brought to my biz.

  3. Tosin

    October 31, 2015 at 5:52 am

    10Q, if you can teach me what business is you can teach anybody wallahi

  4. Zee

    October 31, 2015 at 8:56 am

    I always learn something new from your articles, Tale. Your profile is similar to what I would rather do professionally.

  5. Kemi

    November 1, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Spot on Tale! Working on building my business properly thanks to you!

  6. Lady S

    November 4, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Nicely done Tale! Very clear steps…I’d like to read more of your writing…

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