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‘Tale Means Business: Passion Is Not Enough to Succeed in Business! You Need These 3 Things Too



'Tale AlimiI have a confession to make…

I have failed in, or had to end, some business ventures I was passionate about.

Let me share some of them:

My young ladies club
When I was in the university, I started a young ladies club known as virtue blazers. I was passionate about empowering young women to rely on themselves and not focus on men for their provision. The vision was to teach the club members skills to help them excel in life and earn money while they were still studying. We were the early propagators of the ‘self-reliance’ movement. The club was quite popular in school and we had some of the biggest gatherings. When it was time for me to graduate, I picked two successors to continue running the club, but alas it died shortly after I left school.

You can blame it on poor succession planning, or poor communication of vision, but I learned from that failed experience that passion is not enough.

Business side of fashion annual symposium
Along with an amazing team of people, I set up a community of aspiring and emerging fashion designers that gathered in a packed full hall for 5 years for our annual conference to educate and advocate for the business of fashion. It was the buzz of the fashion industry, and even recently I was still asked why we stopped the event.

The truth is full halls did not translate to profitability, and after years of struggling to get sponsorship and barely breaking even, we ‘gave ourselves brain’ and had to end it.

There are many more passion projects and businesses I have ventured into and failed and I am sure you have had similar experiences…

I am glad for all those experiences; because I met remarkable people, grew as a person and learned the most important lesson of balancing your passion with return on investment for time, energy and resources invested.

I wrote an article recently titled “is there a method to the madness?” where I shared my views on focusing on passion alone. Like we have learned that love is not enough to make a relationship successful, so is passion not enough to make a business successful.

So what are the other ‘ingredients’ you should add to passion?

Market need
Does the market need your product or service enough to be willing to pay for it? If your passion is not needed by people who are willing to compensate you for it, it should be a hobby or maybe a ministry….but even ministry needs to have R.O.I to remain sustainable.

Skill set
Do you have the required skill set to execute your passion? One of my famous examples is that I love to dance, but I don’t consider myself a good dancer, therefore I cannot monetize my passion like Kaffy!

Willingness to put effort
Until recently, I thought I was passionate about learning multiple languages. I always made an excuse that the reason why I had not made time to learn was that I was too busy to do it. Then I decided to stop making excuses and downloaded a ‘learn French in 5 days’ tutorial from YouTube. By the third day of watching the tutorials, I realized that I was not really interested in learning French verbs and vowels….maybe Spanish or Arabic might be more interesting.

The bottom line is passion is not enough to succeed in business. So if you have been pursuing your passion for any amount of time and wondering why you are still struggling, you might need to examine if you also have the other ingredients.

However, success in anything worthwhile will take some time, so also be patient. By the way, have you watched my 4 pillars of business growth video?

'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. Funmi

    October 28, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Just what I needed…Thanks Tale….God bless

    • 'Tale Alimi

      October 29, 2016 at 7:41 pm

      You are welcome. I am glad you found it helpful.

  2. Ivy

    October 28, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Godless ma,i look forward to your articles all the time.

  3. Marlvina

    October 29, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Very true. I apply these too.

  4. FasholasLover

    October 30, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Hello Tale,

    I meant to drop a line thanking you. But, l hv just logged on to BN in a long while. I want to let you know that l am now a student of the Coaching Academy – thanks to you.

    • 'Tale Alimi

      October 31, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      Thats great to know. Welldone!

  5. ms A

    November 4, 2016 at 12:44 am

    Thanks for the article. please what do you think of a mocktail business in Nigeria?is there a market for it?

    • Tale Alimi

      November 11, 2016 at 9:44 pm

      Why do you want to specialize in only mocktail with the large spectrum of cocktail options available?

  6. Market needs

    November 6, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Tale, please could you suggest one or two ways of knowing and understanding market needs?

    • Tale Alimi

      November 11, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      Research your competition-what are they doing and what can you do better, Survey the prospective market/customers you want to serve.

  7. nancy

    November 12, 2016 at 1:54 am

    Hello, what do you think of smoothie business at my school. I’m a student. Is it viable

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