‘It was a long road for me to find my own niche in life’
‘Tale Alimi is the CEO/Lead Coach of Tale Alimi Global. A foremost entrepreneurial thought leader, business coach and strategist, she is on a mission to raise a new generation of entrepreneurs that would bring about change and transformation. To achieve this, she has written a book titled UpLevel to guide business owners. She tells NIKE SOTADE about the upcoming book launch and more
Tell us about yourself, education, family and career-path
Family wise, I was born into a close-knit military family. My Dad was an Airforce officer. I grew up with a lot of discipline and structure, which has stayed with me till today. Education- wise, I have a first degree in Accounting, an MBA and numerous certificates in business and technology including a certificate in personal coaching from the Coaching Academy United Kingdom. Career-wise, I have worked in multiple sectors of the economy especially in consulting and Technology, which equipped me for the work I do as a business coach. I have also ran several businesses, some have become successful and some have failed!
You are so passionate about doing business and raising entrepreneurs. What experiences in life prepared you for this mission?
My academic qualification in Accounting and Business administration equipped me with the business skills. I have always been business inclined because I saw my mum start and run several businesses growing up. I started my first formal business selling makeup while I was doing my MBA and it helped me with my expenses during the MBA. My second business, which was in fashion retail, was also inspired by case studies on the MBA like Kate Spade and Tory Burch who have built successful fashion brands.
Also, my business failures and experience, combined with my career working in a consulting organization helping people start and grow successful businesses, has fuelled my passion and given me the requisite skills to work with high achieving aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs who want to succeed.
You’ve spoken to over 5000 business owners in the last five years, from your own experience with them, what have been their major challenges of doing business in Nigeria?
The major challenges I hear continually are capital and infrastructural challenges which makes it challenging especially for entrepreneurs in manufacturing. The recent rise in foreign exchange is also a major challenge because imported goods now cost three times their former price, and this is a big challenge for an import dependent country like ours with 70 per cent of the population living below a dollar a day. I believe this has encouraged a lot of inferior goods to come into the Nigerian market. The positive side to these challenges is that a lot of Made-in-Nigeria products are getting appreciated because we have begun to look inwards.
You are also on WFM for the same purpose, what’s your content for radio and what time do you go on air?
I used to host a show on WFM 91.7 called The Entrepreneurs Journey, which was focused on interviewing successful entrepreneurs and drawing lessons from them that would be applicable to aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs. Truthfully, I did the show for myself also because I wanted to demystify entrepreneurship for myself and the common man who has gone through struggles starting a business or was afraid to even start. The show was put on hold because we could not secure a sponsor despite promises from major Organizations. This was due to the tough economic climate in the country. I plan to continue educating and informing entrepreneurs using free to air mediums like Youtube.
Tell us about your new book Uplevel. What motivated you to write it? Is it only for business start-ups or for everybody in business? Do you address men, too?
Uplevel is a book for everyone who is tired of living a mediocre life and ready to Uplevel and live to their highest potential in life and business. The book is for both men and women and everyone who is on the journey to live their best lives and profit from it. I also decided to write this book because it was a long road for me to find my own niche in life and business and it came after several false starts, mistakes and failures. The book is the guide I wish was available to me when I was on that journey and I hope it will be a guide for the reader to help them find their niche, share their story, build their tribe and profit from their passion. The book launch workshop is taking place next week Saturday at Trends House, Remi Olowude Street, Lekki Phase 1.
You were also a renowned shirt-maker with the Recreation Shirts label? What happened to the label? Have you been able to take it to the next level?
Interesting question. I got into shirtmaking like I explained earlier because I was inspired by fashion retail case studies during my MBA. At the height of the business growth and expansion, I got an investor in the business. At some point, I had to walk away from it because we had a misunderstanding. I shared the story and lessons learned in choosing business partners and understanding your strengths in detail in my new book Uplevel.
If you’re not doing what you’re doing now, what else would you be doing?
I really like what I do and I think my life is still going to unfold in several dimensions. I will probably be a full-time writer and business show host because I am intricately a story teller and I like to curate people’s stories and lessons and analyse them in a way that other people can learn from them and make their life and business better.
Going by your write-ups, you’re known for your boldness, tenacity and can-do spirit. What keeps you going in the face of challenges?
My faith in God and understanding that I am here on this earth for a higher purpose. When I am discouraged, I pray and ask God to encourage me. I also listen to people who motivate me and have succeeded against all odds, which keeps me going.
How do you unwind from your busy schedule?
I love exercising! I try to work out six times a week. I jog sometimes, do aerobics and core training. I used to play lawn tennis, but I have not played in a while. I also love to spend time with my family and my eight-year-old son. I am a sort of foodie, so fine dining is something I hope to do more. I am also some sort of geek so I am constantly reading and researching.
Who are your role models?
Sincerely I have so many locally and internationally because I am constantly learning and growing. And the truth is they have changed as the seasons of my life have changed. The number one person I turn to these days is God. This is very important because I can get unbiased and Divine counsel from my Creator. I also seek counsel from Mrs Adenike Ogunlesi, Founder of Ruff& Tumble and Dr Enase Okonedo, Dean of the Lagos Business School.