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‘Tale Alimi: 5 Skills Every Business Owner Should Develop

Tale Alimi



I like travelling because I consider the long flights an opportunity to have my own personal retreat and I spent some time on a recent trip reflecting on what is working and what is not in my business.  I encourage business owners to find the time to do these mini retreats so they can course corrects when necessary. Success in business can be attributed to various factors and most business owners are always on the lookout for some secret source or recipe that would make their business more successful.

Like with most things in life, business success is a combination of the right skills and principles and here are the top 5 skills I suggest you should develop:

This is one of the most important skills everyone should have, not just business owners. Listening goes beyond hearing what people are saying to actually understanding what they are saying. This is both their verbal and non-verbal communication. One of the easiest forms of market research is getting feedback from your customers and applying it to improve your business. Organizations spend millions trying to find out what potential customers want, but as a small business owner, one of the advantages you have is that you can reach out to your customers and really listen to them. This could be just what you need to create your next product or service.

What you don’t know might be the reason why you are still where you are; but I know you would like to know more, which is why you are reading this! Warren Buffet, the most successful investor in our time, attributes his success to a commitment to continuous learning and we all need to make the same commitment. A simple exercise is to write all the things you need to learn about and find out how you can get the knowledge. In school we were given a curriculum of what we needed to learn, how about creating your own personal learning curriculum?

A popular saying is ‘your network determines your net-worth’ and this is true to the extent of your ability to harness your network. I have met people who have networks of people other would ‘kill’ for, but have not been able to maximize it. So networking goes beyond knowing the right people, to knowing the exact type of people you need to take your business or career to the next level. That means building a good network starts with clarity about what you want to achieve and what and who you need to get where you want to go.

Like I always say, sales is the life blood of every business. You might have an amazing product or service, but without customers to appreciate and buy it, it would remain the ‘best kept secret’. I always tell my clients that they are the best sales people for their products and services and you have to be able to sell your own products enough to convince your sales team and customers to sell it for you. If you want to improve your selling skills, you can check out our upcoming sales training here.

People Management
No matter how amazing your vision is, if you don’t have the right team to help you execute it, you would not achieve much success. I speak to business owners who complain about finding the right people who are loyal and willing to work and while good people might be scarce, your ability to treat and manage people would determine if you can retain them and build a good team. You are as good as the people you surround yourself with, and I once heard Richard Branson say that his secret to business success is his ability to surround himself with people that are smarter than him. I am sure a lot of successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria would say the same thing.

Do you possess these 5 skills? If not, you have a chance to develop them so you can take your business to a greater level of success.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Bevan Goldswain

'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. Olofofo

    November 13, 2015 at 9:06 am

    In unrelated news, BN please i need u to to blog about the recent attack on Caitlyn Jenner by the LGBT community. The news is making me so excited. Good for the man-woman! Thanks in advance BN

  2. Tosin

    November 13, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Thank you for repeating and repeating this message. I may have honed in on “sales” as the bit I’m averse to, the bit that makes me not a business-minded person. and also helped me, so basically, business leadership is like any leadership, any project. There is communication required, in the case of business, we count money usually as the measure of how it’s doing. Modern thinking is that it’s not just money (community/multistakeholder sustainability) but yeah, I’m getting to almost get it. Thanks to y’all.

  3. Tosin

    November 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    I just found out about the training for sales.
    Will you help me provide one scholarship? I write a business blog and want to tell everyone about your and give one person/reader a chance to ‘get in’ for just 10k. I’m willing to pitch in 10k. Will you fill in the remaining 5k (early bird) or 15k (regular) if the winner requests it? Much appreciated.

    • 'Tale Alimi

      November 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      Hi Tosin, kindly email me the details of what you have in mind and we can take it from there.

    • Tosin

      November 13, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      Done. Thank you.

    • Tola

      November 14, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      Tosin and Tale, this is cool. Thank you for doing this.

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