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‘Tale Means Business: Why is Growing a Business So Hard?

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'Tale AlimiI cannot count the number of times I have heard this statement!

Business owners lament to me regularly about how hard it is to find the right people and to find funding for their business. Then they turn to the harsh Nigerian economic climate with our current infrastructural challenges. Sometimes, what is supposed to be a business coaching session becomes a therapy session, where I give them a chance to pour their hearts to me and at least get some relief by letting the steam out.

After all is said and done, there are still some businesses that are managing to thrive or at least progress with all the inherent challenges. So what are they doing differently to move the needle and make progress?

They have a clear business strategy
The magic word is ‘clear’ – meaning it is well thought out, and a result of having a clear vision for the expected future of the business. These business owners are not just building to make money, but to serve their customers and they will develop strategies to help them serve more and more customers. This will in turn be motivation for their business growth. We can see how a clear business strategy is driving the growth of some of Nigeria’s fast growing brands like Health plus, House of Tara and SLOT. If you are not clear about where you are going, you won’t be clear about how to get there.

They are building a distinct brand identity
Your brand goes beyond your logo and business card. It encompasses everything your business stands for in terms of how you are represented and how you are perceived by people. Building a distinct brand means being consistent in delivering on your brand promise. Your customers should be clear about what they can expect from you as this becomes your brand identity in the long run. Your brand promise, brand expectation, brand persona, brand perception and brand element should be clear.

They have a clear business structure
These businesses have a clear structure or at least are building their business structure. They have documented processes and a clear organizational structure that assigns roles and functions to their team. Most of their staff have clear key performance indicators, so they know what is expected from them.

I am not saying they are perfect, but they are building with structure in mind, which makes it easy to distribute roles and measure performance. Another reason why this is important is because of decision making; everyone knows what they are responsible for, and this will encourage ownership and decision making.

They are guided by policy not emotions
The business decisions are guided by well documented business policies and not by the emotions of the owners. One trend I noticed especially among female entrepreneurs is letting our emotions affect the way we run our business. I tend to hear words like ‘I am tired’, ‘I am frustrated’ or ‘I feel like giving up’ more from female entrepreneurs than our male counterparts. I am not saying we have more or less problems than they do, I have just noticed that we react more emotionally to our business problems than they do. God bless our female emotions!

However, a business is a separate living entity and should be treated as such. Decisions concerning the business should be made based on laid down policies, and if changes need to be made to the policy, it should be documented and properly communicated.

So what if you are a solopreneur currently running your business by yourself? It is never too early to start putting the structure in place in preparation for when you will have a team of people working with you. You can develop an organization structure and put yourself in all the positions you are currently occupying, so you will develop a consciousness of the roles that need to be filled when the time comes.

Business can be challenging, but you can also make it easier when you put all the above in place.

Are you ready to accelerate your business growth? My business boot camp- Accelerate business growth boot camp is now open for registration. You can see the details HERE.

'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:( owoafara.com). Get daily business inspiration when you follow her on twitter (http://twitter.com/talealimi) and get an insight into her life on Instagram ( www.instagram.com/talealimi)

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