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I 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 which will continue to be a 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 Healthplus, 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 organisational 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, as 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! Lol.

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 organizational 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. I have a free audio resource that can guide you on what to focus on, you can download it by clicking here. If you are looking to accelerate your business growth, my business boot camp- Accelerate Business Growth Boot Camp is now open for registration. To see the details, click here.

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This article was first published on 16th August 2016


'Tale Alimi is a foremost business coach, business growth expert, Entrepreneurial thought leader and Host of the Entrepreneur's journey radio show currently airing on WFM 91.7. She has an expertise in guiding business owners and professionals to up-level their business and revenues. 'Tale has started and run several businesses and has experienced what makes a business succeed or fail and she brings her experience to bare in helping business owners build successful and thriving businesses. She also has over 13 years corporate experience in Consulting, Telecommunications and Technology sectors; she was part of or led teams that grew the business revenues of these organizations. She was a lead facilitator at Businessday SME Connect conference. She has a Masters in Business Administration from Lagos business school, a certificate in personal coaching from the coaching academy UK and is currently the Lead coach/CEO at Tale Alimi Global( Connect with 'Tale on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the icons below.

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