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Tolu Michaels: 4 Things Entrepreneurs Should Prioritize in 2019

It’s so hard to know what to focus on, but focus is important. Else, you’ll find yourself spinning wheels but not heading anywhere; busy every day, but no progress; active, but not productive.

Tolu Michaels

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Just yesterday, we said Happy New Year. We blinked for a minute, and now the 1st quarter is ending. Clearly, time flies whether or not you’re having fun. It’s not only time that moves so fast, though. Digital platforms are also evolving at a dizzying pace. Before you catch up with one tech feature, another one arrives.

Your favorite platforms keep evolving and rolling out new updates. IGTV today, Shoppable Instagram Stories tomorrow. And only God knows what next. It’s so hard to know what to focus on, but focus is important. Else, you’ll find yourself spinning wheels but not heading anywhere; busy every day, but no progress; active, but not productive. If you already feel this way, it’s never too late to get back on track; let’s set your priorities so that the rest of the year can be productive and profitable for your business.

Avoid the shiny object syndrome
When you’re still struggling to understand Snapchat filters, they say it’s YouTube stories. “Oh no, you should do webinars.” “What? Your ebook is the new business card,” etc. While it’s always exciting to learn new things, it can also become a distraction when you’re always trying to chase the latest and greatest. Don’t stress yourself, you don’t have to do everything. Besides, what works for others won’t necessarily work for you. Grab a notepad and ask yourself:

  • What have I done so far that brought me clients?
  • How can I do more of it to reach more people?
  • What do I need to improve about this process?

The ability to identify the things that matter and bring the greatest value to you, your business, and your team is key.

Build a formidable team
Of course, you should hire the best employees that you can afford, but besides staff, there are many people that can help your business succeed. Still on your notepad, use the list below to note those people who have the expertise & character you need:

  • Freelancers: Independent creative people who give life to your ideas. Think graphic designer, virtual assistant, website designer, etc.
  • Advisers: Not everybody who went to business school can advise you. Your advisers should be people who understand what your business is about, believe in you, and have your best interests at heart.
  • Mentor(s): Someone who has done what you’re trying to do, gone where you want to go, and can guide you on your way there.
  • Consultants: You can avoid a lot of trouble by allowing brilliant people to do what they know how to do best. Eg, tax computation, legal documentation, HR, etc.

Because industries evolve quickly, it is hard to predict the future. The exact technical skill you need tomorrow will be different from what you need today. However, if you have a healthy team, they will point you to what you need to learn early enough in the game.

Develop strong communication skills
One overlooked skill among entrepreneurs is the ability to communicate. Everything you do to attract clients involves talking and typing, so it’s not something you can delegate forever. Learn how to talk about yourself and what you do. Listen to your clients so you can learn what their desires, needs and pains are. Learn how to make and build connections with other important people in your industry. This alone can make you more valuable beyond your skills, technical knowledge, or years of experience.

Protect your personal brand
Every week, I spend time with at least one business leader or decision maker and I’ve noticed that integrity is a huge factor in determining who they do business with. Expertise is simply not enough to land you clients anymore. That’s why you’ll ask your friends first when you’re looking for a make-up artist or fashion designer. You want to find out: “Did they do their job well? What was it like to work with them?”

In business, your personal brand boils down to one question: Can I trust you? That’s the essence of your personal brand. Can others rely on you to show up, act with integrity, and maintain a good reputation? As an entrepreneur, your personal brand is one of your most strategic assets, and it starts with the little things:

  • Write and speak in a way that’s respectful to your clients.
  • Make it clear that you have their best interests at heart.
  • Underpromise and over deliver.

At the end of the day, it’s all about determining how you want people to perceive you, and working to build such trust with your customers.

All that said, which of these four points are on your priority list for the year, and what would you like to add? Can’t wait to read your thoughts in the comments section below.

Tolu Michaels helps entrepreneurs build and launch personal brand websites. She’s certified in Digital marketing and has trained hundreds of entrepreneurs via her free training series. Tired of looking amateur? Get her FREE checklist to build a personal website that's credible enough to make money and change lives while you sleep.

9 Comments

  1. Chidinma

    April 3, 2019 at 9:11 am

    This is spot on! thank you so much, Tolu! 🙂

  2. Tolu Michaels

    April 3, 2019 at 11:22 am

    You’re welcome Chidinma. Glad it resonated with you

  3. by_stander

    April 3, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    All the digital platforms you mentioned are not in Nigeria. Go and read Digital Rights & Freedom Bill recently declined by our wise President (i actually just gained another level of respect for the man).

    You will realize Nigeria is under lock and key of rent seekers.

    Thanks to Lawyers and Accountants – nobody wants to work in Nigeria again, they just make laws that seek out rent and infringe on your rights.

    The packaging is simple – we are trying to help you.

    That one was rejected – but there are many live rent seeking laws similar to it out there – even right now, there is a rentseeker at the international airport asking you for your yellow card before you can travel.

    And if you ask how to get it, they will tell you they need to inject you with a substance after you have paid them N2000. They even went as far as making an Ad …lol

    When you realise what is actually happening, you will realise how naive you current state of mind is.

    This Is Nigeria!

    PS: BN im back! hope you have changed your ways the way you changed your site and stop editing/altering my posts. If you guys try that nonsense again, i’ll bounce once more.

    1
    • Ajoke

      April 9, 2019 at 11:55 am

      Hi Bystander,

      your ‘off-pointness’ on this post is tough… I suggest you read the post again and evaluate your comment.

      Cheers

      2
  4. Tee

    April 9, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks Tolu. I absolutely enjoyed reading this. I also liked how you simplified the fears people have about tech/social media tools yet you were thorough in highlighting what entrepreneurs should look out for in this age. Well-done!

    • Tolu Michaels

      April 22, 2019 at 10:56 pm

      Thank you Tee. I appreciate that you spelled out what you like about the article

  5. Adebola Adefila

    April 10, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Thanks Tolu, this was perfectly written. Love your thought process. 👍👍👍

  6. by_stander

    April 11, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    @Ajoke your naive state of mind is tougher or maybe you fall into the category of Rent Seekers.

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