Tara Fela-Durotoye is a pioneer in the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria, and a woman of many firsts, including creating the first bridal directory in 1999 and establishing the first makeup school in Nigeria. Here are 5 things entrepreneurs can learn from her:
1. Don’t be afraid to start a new thing. At the time she started, bridal makeup was not yet what it is today. In fact, there were several people who didn’t see why it should be paid for, after all, “is it not just makeup”? Yet, she persevered, and the more jobs she did (some even for free) the more referrals she got, and today she’s more than just a makeup artist. So don’t give up.
2. Don’t underestimate the value of a structured environment. Creating budgets and putting in place accounting systems and software, including payment vouchers for petty cash and the like, helped House of Tara to thrive. As your small business grows, look into creating departments to handle HR, Business Development, Branding, Accounting, etc.
3. Keep on learning. Tara has taken several courses to equip herself as an entrepreneur and help her business, including the Owner-Managers program at Lagos Business School which shaped the direction of her business and helped her come up with a mission statement for her business, and create systems and structures. However, learning doesn’t always have to be in a classroom. She is also an avid reader.
4. Invest in people. Entrepreneurs often worry about training their staff because they might leave, with the training! But the alternative is building a business with untrained staff, and wise entrepreneurs know which of these risks to take. Regular staff training sessions have helped Tara expand her business since the result is having people who not only buy into the vision but have the requisite skills to handle the expansion.
5. Prepare for your exit. No serious entrepreneur is building a company that will die without them. An exit strategy is necessary, and, Like Genevieve Magazine’s Betty Irabor, Tara Fela-Durotoye is training successors.
In the beginning, all she had was the makeup bag she took to brides’ homes to do their makeup, and then she opened her store. From a single store with 5 employees, House of Tara now has 15 branches and over 80 employees.
Start where you are!
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