‘As a career woman, be ambitious, but don’t be in too much of a hurry’
Bamitale Alimi describes herself as entrepreneur forged by Nigeria’s tough and uncertain business climate, which has evolved her to see challenges as opportunities. With 15 years of running various successful ventures spanning technology, consulting and telecommunications fields, Alimi has built and managed some high performing business development and sales teams. These days, she provides transformational knowledge through her business programs; products and coaching that enable people start and create authentically successful businesses. In this interview with TOBI AWODIPE, the CEO of Tale Alimi Global reveals all on the five most important things to know in order to start and run a flourishing venture, her biggest challenge and why every woman needs a mentor amongst other issues.
You have been in telecoms, the financial sector, fashion and now a business coach. What has kept you going and evolving?
Self-discovery has been a major reason for my evolution. One of the things I have always being focused on is fulfilling my purpose in life. There was a season that I was focused on building a career and climbing the corporate ladder. I spent time working in telecommunications, utilizing my skills in finance and technology. Then my career pivoted after my Masters in Business Administration and I worked in Consulting for a couple of years. Then I decided to try my hands on some businesses which I had passion for as a child like fashion and beauty. I, however, found myself gravitating more towards teaching and empowering people when I was in those industries and this was what led me to create the business side of fashion advocacy platform at that time. We pioneered business education for creative entrepreneurs and partnered with organizations like the Bank of Industry (BoI).
At that time, I also got investors to scale my own business. At some point, I fell out with my investors and decided it was an opportunity for me to step back and prayerfully evaluate what God would have me do in the new season. I took time to evaluate the things I enjoyed in my career and business and I realised I really enjoy helping people to take their dreams and businesses from small to scale. I decided this would align with my skills working in consulting at the same time, I wanted to be better equipped to support my clients psychologically while they build their dreams, so I went to the Coaching Academy in the United Kingdom and got a certificate in personal coaching.
What factors did you imbibe that have guaranteed your success?
The first is being close to God. My relationship with God is what guides how I run my life. I am aware that I am on this earth on assignment, so at every point in time, I always find out what God wants me to do and be. I also believe in having a vision, being focused and working both hard and smart in accomplishing what you desire. I believe life will give you what you believe you can have and are willing to do the work to get.
Has this also been applied in the business of your clients?
One of the first things we do with our clients is strategic planning. We do this so that we can ensure they have clarity on how they can grow their business. Then we provide support, guidance and accountability so they can remain focused to accomplish the goals they have set for their business. We also encourage them to have a strong sense of “why” which will keep them going when things get tough.
What is your definition of substantial and measurable results?
Results are substantial and measurable because you have accomplished the goal you set for yourself. Which means if you don’t have a clear goal, you can’t measure achievement. It is also substantial when it has significant effect on your expected outcome.
Let’s talk about your book Uplevel, what is it all about?
Uplevel is a book I wrote to guide people who want to take their passion and turn it into a profitable business. It is special because I share the process I went through to find my niche and turn it into what has become an eight- figure business. It is also very practical and actionable, so it is the kind of book that you will read and begin to take action immediately. I am grateful that it has resonated with quite a number of people and I have heard several testimonials of people who say they have “up-leveled” their business and are now living the life of their dreams.
What exactly is business coaching?
Business coaching is a guided process of working with a business owner to get them from where they are in their business to where they want to be. For example, if a business owner is currently doing an annual turnover of N10million with two staff and wants to grow their annual turnover to N30 million and increase their staff strength, a business coach can work with the business owner to provide the right strategy, develop the right business structure and system to enable them grow their business in a holistic and sustainable way.
What types of businesses have you coached?
I work more with progressive business owners- mostly creative entrepreneurs who want to scale their businesses. My clients are in diverse sectors like retail, fashion, event management, real estate, food, beauty, financial services, health and wellness and I have seen a lot of them double or triple their business revenues.
Apart from the coaching, do you provide practical help as well?
Yes, we introduce our clients to potential business partners and also work with our business partners to provide human resources management, accounting, content marketing and digital marketing services. We are also a strategy-consulting boutique that works with medium-sized companies to develop growth and expansion strategies as well as facilitate their strategy session. We have also worked with financial institutions and other SME focused Organizations to provide capacity building for their stakeholders.
What is your opinion on mentorship for women?
There has been a rise of business coaches in general and most of them are women. A coach is a hands-on guide while a mentor is typically someone you look up to who has gone steps ahead of you. It is important to have a mentor because you can look over their shoulder and get advice from them so you won’t make similar mistakes. It is however important to work with a business coach because you have someone who can guide you like a GPS to ensure you are making the right moves at the right time that will guarantee growth.
If you could go back in time to the very beginning of your career journey, what is the best piece of advice you would give yourself?
I will say be ambitious, but don’t be in too much of a hurry, enjoy the journey, learn as much as you can, because everything good would come.
What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome?
I will say it is being patient with the process. I am an action-oriented person, so I always want things to happen as fast as I take action. However, as I have gotten older, I have learned that life is a process and I am learning to enjoy the journey and embrace the process. As well as to understand that everyone’s journey is different, so nobody’s career progression should be a yardstick for you.
Based on your experience, what would you advice new and aspiring entrepreneurs to invest their time and money in and what should they avoid?
I will say, first focus on creating a product or service that customers really want, not a product or service you assume they want. This will involve research, beta testing and probably several revisions before you get it right. Then I will say work on making sure you have the right business model. If you have the right product with the wrong business model, it might hamper sales. When you get the above right, then you can focus on things like marketing, business structure, systems and human resources. These are the things we help our clients achieve so they don’t make unnecessary mistakes and begin to struggle.
What are the five most important things one needs to know before you build a business?
You need to know what problem you want to solve (products and services), who you will solve it for (target market), how you will fund the production or creation (financing), how they will access your solution (Marketing, sales and distribution) and who will deliver the solution (human resources).
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