Why your business may not have access to the funds it needs to scale

Being a financial analyst gave me the opportunity to relate with several entrepreneurs – some of whom I met during my undergraduate days at OAU (of the Greatest Ife!).

They all have one common problem – lack of funds to expand their respective businesses.

Please note that this article is not about me giving you money. However, one of my future goals is to set up a Private Equity firm alongside other partners and invest pooled funds in SMEs across Africa.

Until then, let us just focus on why small businesses are unable to access available funds.

To make this article as captivating as possible, I will assign three consecutive tasks to you and implore you to carry them out. If possible as you complete these tasks and take notes, new ideas may drop on your mind.

Wondering why you haven't gotten the funds you need to boost your business? Read this article… Click To Tweet

Task One – Imagination 

If you are a business owner, or you hope to start a business someday, I want you to picture this, as broad as you can.

[Insert the name of your business or business idea] as something you are proud of, a brand that transcends one country, something your unborn generation will bless you for, a trailblazer in its industry, and all the other good stuff you can possibly picture it to be.

Task Two – Reflection

Assume you are one hundred percent sure that task one will become a reality.

Then reflect on the possible factors (financial or non-financial – for example, regulatory, social, environmental, etc.) that could hinder your reality or drop the level of certainty to a much lower percentage.

That is enough!

Task Three – Reality Check

Ask yourself these few questions, especially if the factor from task two is a financial factor.

However, let me quickly inform you that there are several financial aids or grants, which are exclusively available to SMEs.

You just need to look in the right places and meet the requirements (if any).

Back to the questions…Ask yourself

  • Why am I unable to access the funds required to give my business (or business idea) the boost it deserves?
  • Why do financial institutions, investors (or even friends and family) turn me down when I approach them for funds?

You don’t have to sweat if you have no answers.

A few weeks ago, I carried out research on these questions, with potential investors, business owners, finance practitioners and other informed persons as my respondents. If you are one of them and you are reading this, THANK YOU.

Most of their answers centered on the following:

  1. Lack of integrity: I know this is probably an underrated reason, but 80% of my respondents referenced this. Your lack of integrity could cover these areas:
  • If you divert the money you get to personal matters other than your business.
  • Do you over-promise the potential investors an unrealistic return on investment (ROI)?
  • Do you keep two sets of financial records – one for tax purpose (to evade taxes) and the other for the true picture of the business, and so on? The list is endless.

Most investors have been in the business of financing for long. They would have done their due diligence.

If you give potential investors any reason to doubt your integrity, you can as well wave their financial aid goodbye!

Just so you know, even a devious investor does not want to invest in a dubious person or business.

2. Inability to sell yourself and your business appropriately: This may sound cliché, but it is also a major reason.

If you are unable to convince me to invest in your business, how on Earth do you think I will give you my money on my own volition?

Is your business plan compelling? Or is it over-optimistic? Please note that over-optimism is not a bad trait.

However, this is business, and money is involved, so, you need to prove to the potential investor that you have done your homework or research.

Your business plan should reflect economic realities. Wait a sec! Do you even have a business plan? Read more… Click To Tweet

3. Lack of business management skill or experience: Most of us want to be our own boss – fair enough.

However, if you do not know how to manage a business, if you have not worked under someone before, if you have not undergone any training or if you come off as an incompetent person when it comes to that business and how you talk about it, then you limit your chances of getting funds or capital from potential investors.

A final take-home

You claim you need capital for your business. Fine!

If a potential investor asks how much you need to expand your business to “xyz” level; will you be able to respond with an amount (or a range) on the spot?

As an entrepreneur, you should have an elevator pitch about your business and a summary of what you would do with the money assuming you had immediate access to it.

Do you know why some businesses are not getting the funding they need? Please share with us.


Catherine Lesetedi: Botswana’s Boss Woman

Botswana

Catherine Lesetedi is a graduate of Statistics from the University of Botswana. She has built a career in the insurance industry since she joined it in 1992. Currently, Catherine is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL).

She has built her career from scratch, and over the years, she has been adamant that adopting a flexible style of leadership is beneficial for leading an organization and getting the best out of her team.

Her career so far…

Looking at Lesetedi’s career, nothing about her story and her leadership principles and philosophies are ‘textbook’. Her style of leadership is pliable and acrobatic. It lends itself to whatever situation she and her team are in.

She’s extremely driven, open and open-minded, preferring to lead from behind, pushing her team forward, encouraging their gifts and honoring their intellect, allowing them to innovate, to grow and give to the business what she cannot.

Catherine maximizes on their strengths and makes sure that wherever there are gaps, there are people who are passionate, willing and able to execute and fill them.

Her journey there…

There is nothing predictable about Catherine Lesetedi. Even her choice of Statistics as a field to study at the University of Botswana (UB) was a bit of a wild card, even for her.

She describes it saying, “when we were making choices about what to study at varsity, we didn’t really know much about careers, to be honest with you, I didn’t know anything about Statistics until I got to the Department of Student Placement at the Ministry of Education.”

“I was late; my father and I had run out of fuel. By the time we arrived, I was out of breath, and I had forgotten my initial course choices. My brother, who I really admired, had studied Public Administration and Political Science, and that’s what I wanted.”

“They said that that weird combination didn’t exist, and told me that I was going to do Statistics and Demography.”


“If you think something is difficult, it becomes really difficult. If you think you can do it, sometimes you even surprise yourself.”
– Catherine Lesetedi,
CEO, BIHL Group

Her life experiences…

She studied Statistics at the University of Botswana, and even though her journey into that field was incidental, once there, she made the best of her situation, excelled and gleaned many things that she took forward with her into the rest of her life.

Certain experiences and her mindset set the stage for her early career and propelled her forward.

According to her, “in terms of decision-making, logical thinking, the confidence, and aptitude to learn; the program grounded me.”

“I may not use the formulas every day, but there are skills that I gained that I apply on a daily basis, even if I don’t recognize that ‘this is Statistics.”

The mathematical element empowered her to be able to engage with budgets and numbers, and not shy away from that aspect of whichever job she did.

Her philosophies for life…

All of the disciplines in the world are interrelated, so having a good understanding of what is going on across the board is beneficial for one; especially if a young woman wants to build herself up and build her career.

This is something she practices herself because, throughout the course of her career, she has gradually improved upon her leadership skills, attending leadership courses and taking on the responsibility of self-improvement.

Doing this has encouraged her to take a deeper look at herself; what drives her and pushes her beyond her own limitations. This outlook has put her in good stead as a leader, as someone who encourages others, ensuring that they are able to get the best out of what they need to do.

As a mentor, both personally and professionally, the story that she tells, the
example that she sets, is one of “show up and do your best.”

Ms. Lesetedi is big on recognizing talent and putting it to good use within the BIHL Group. These are some of the elements that make her up as a woman, as a leader, and these are some of the things that she has imparted to her mentees.


Botswana is one of Africa’s success stories, from one of Africa’s poorest countries to a vibrant, developed, middle-income African state.

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Hey Girl,

End your Hot girl summer by securing the bag and getting your finances in order. Our 30 Day #securethebag calendar helps you: save, invest, and live your best life! 

So without too much talk, enjoy your calendar as promised! 

And, if you’re new to our community, starting tomorrow you’ll get more information on what She Leads Africa is and how you can boost your personal and professional development as a part of our community! Otherwise, it’s business as usual. 😏

Can’t wait to see how financially stable you become this season, so ensure to share your progress/ journey to getting the bag with us, every day on our social media @SheLeadsAfrica.

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Share this with your friends and family, let’s get the bag this September.

3 Reasons why you are an impulsive spender and what to do about it: Lydia Chinery – Hesse

This September, we’re out here on these streets trynna secure the bag. If you’re an impulsive spender, this one is for you.

As a financial advisor working with Holborn Assets, Lydia Chinery-Hesse has helped clients put measures in place to control their spending while increasing their savings and growing their wealth.

She has been working with various nationalities to help them plan their financial future by giving them transparent, objective and honest advice. Lydia helps them visualize their personal (and business) goals and structure a plan towards achieving them.

Earlier this year, she created a Facebook group called Love Yourself Financially, a community of global women who are dedicated to being the boss of their finances.

Their goal is to be financially secure and free – which has a different meaning to each member.


The Scenario

You’ve just finished a successful meeting and decide to take a short walk through the mall, for some window shopping.

Before you know it, you’ve spent money shopping for more clothes you don’t need!

It’s 4:15 pm and you’re absolutely famished. While you could wait another hour to get home and eat some leftovers from last night’s home-cooked supper, you decide to order food that would cost the same amount as your groceries for the week.

Even if you haven’t found yourself in one of these situations before, you’ve definitely spent money impulsively in one way or another.

  • Why is this?
  • Why are we so impulsive? More importantly…
  • What can we do about it?

Here are the three main reasons for being an impulsive spender, and a few ways you can improve your spending habits.

1. You’re using a credit card

Studies show that when we pay using our credit card, we’re more likely to spend money. With a credit card, your thinking will be more along the lines of “out of sight, out of mind”, as you don’t see the money ‘leaving’ your wallet.

Conversely, when we spend with cash, it hurts a little, and you tend to think twice before spending it.

What should you do about it?

• Until you get to a point where you have significantly improved your discipline in this area, ditch the credit card.

• Ditching the card means spending cash only.

• Withdraw your cash allocation for the week, and carry only what you need on a daily basis.

2. Because money should be spent

If you’re able to spend money impulsively, consider yourself fortunate to have the money to do so. That being said, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

As an impulsive spender, It’s likely you’re not tracking your expenses by writing them down or through an app.

If you did, you’d be less likely to spend mindlessly as you’d always be aware of what you’re spending on and how much you’re spending. 

What should you do about it?

• Before you’re about to buy something, you want, pause. Wait a day, a week, a month or longer to determine if you really need it. Chances are you don’t.

• Track your expenses, create a budget and live by it.

• Get an accountability buddy. When you’re itching to spend, call a friend you trust who will talk to you straight.

• Meal prep. Don’t give yourself an excuse to buy a meal. 

• Try no-spend days a few times per month.

In addition to all of these, it’s worth considering…what else could you be doing with that money? This brings me to my last point:

3. You are not thinking long-term

Image result for African woman thinking gifs

Living for today will most likely mean scrambling or struggling in the future.

Perhaps it would be wiser to live according to this African Proverb, “For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”. 

What should you do about it? 

• Set your savings goal and reward yourself for achieving them (without spending money – be creative!)

• Save towards future plans. Put some money aside monthly towards that goal, whether it’s a vacation, car purchase, etc.

• Be intentional about your long term goals. This begins by figuring out how much you’ll need to either live comfortably in retirement or to reach financial security (where passive income pays for your expenses).

Once you have that figured out, work backward from there to determine how much you should be saving (and investing) in order to reach your target.

Practicing delayed gratification improves your discipline and you’ll also enjoy the financial rewards in the future – @lydialydzzz Click To Tweet

It takes some self-reflection and being honest to admit that there are areas in which we need to be more disciplined in order for the impulsiveness to end. 


How are you improving your spending habits this month? Click here to share your story with us.

Think, plan and intentionally work towards your career goals: Jane Egerton-Idehen

Jane Egerton-Idehen is the founder of womenncareers. A platform that supports women globally in growing their careers through career advice, practical tips, tools and resources from different female executives

She is an accomplished Executive of thriving divisions within two Fortune 500 firms, as well as an advisor, spokesperson, and board member of nonprofit organizations.

Jane Egerton-Idehen is also an expert in the Telecommunication industry with over seventeen years of experience. She is currently the country manager Nigeria for an international satellite company, Avanti communications limited.

Recently she was celebrated as one of Nigeria’s “50 Leading Ladies in Corporate Nigeria” by Leading Ladies Africa. She has an MBA from the University of Warwick and an Executive Education from Havard Business School.

In this article, SLA contributor Anwuli speaks to Jane Egerton-Idehen as she talks about her impact on young women as she’s helping them in their career growth.


“Your career is a marathon and not a race so don’t beat yourself up” – @nk_amadi Click To Tweet

Since founding Women and Careers, what unique challenges have you helped women tackle in their growing careers?

Since starting Women and Careers, we have seen a lot of awareness about issues facing women as they grow their career.

Most women in their mid-careers, are seeking skills and a support system to help them grow their careers while they manage their home and family. While the single ladies are seeking to combine a career with building family relations and obligations.

I have noticed that most women in the early part of their career need guidance and some form of mentoring to guide them as they grow. To consciously invest in developing themselves and maneuvering the dynamics of the office place.

These challenges form a wide spectrum from like microaggression at work to lacking sponsorships for leadership roles.

We also have the impact of the patriarch in the workplace and society at large. There are also common ones like work-life balance.

I recognize that we need to talk more about these issues, share our stories and support each other through the journey

What level of progress has Women and Careers achieved in reaching out to women globally?

Since officially starting in 2017, Women and career has taken our passion to a larger audience. Our passion is to support women to grow their careers and encourage young girls to start one.

We have touched a lot of lives through our events and activities. We also celebrate a lot of women who are successfully paving a way in their fields no matter how unpopular those sectors or industries are.

WomenNcareers has worked with outside organizations to discuss these challenges women are facing bringing awareness to them and making sure relevant stakeholders are involved to support in addressing these issues.

We have co-sponsored events like TEDXAjegunle women, Sozo Networks Before I Turn 18 program for teenagers. To reach out to women and young girls in underserved areas.

We have just finished a mentoring program for young female undergraduates at the University of Mines and Technology in Tarkwa Ghana.

Our hope is that this can inspire and motivate a lot of women to work their paths as well.

What kind of support would women starting their careers in STEM fields need from professionals in the field?

Firstly Organizations need to be more deliberate about the pipeline problem especially in STEM fields.

Data shows that women are still underrepresented at the entry levels. This requires that companies relook at their hiring process.

A study by Women Matter states that;

Men are often hired and promoted based on their potential, while women are often hired and promoted based on their track record. This may be particularly acute for women at the start of their careers when their track records are relatively short.

Secondly, we noticed a lot of leakages when it comes to female talent in the STEM fields. Women starting their careers in the industry need a lot of support from the organizations they work to ensure they grow their careers in the field.

Quite a lot of them leave the field when they start getting married and probably having kids. One of the main challenges is managing their young family with the continuously demanding professional life.

Organizations can consider flexible working hours. They can consider maternity and post-maternity policies that are supportive of such women.

I would also recommend women in this phase seek a lot of support from loved ones and seek mentors that can guide them to navigate this phase.

Metaphorically I would relate the discussion about Women in STEM fields to what Charles Blow, an American Journalist for the New York Times, once said;

It requires that you fight on two fronts; trying to reduce the size of the hill and climbing the hill – Jane Egerton-Idehen

This is how I have always felt about women who try to grow their careers in the STEM fields.

I have come to acknowledge that it is a constant battle to have this. With all the challenges, they must face, it feels like climbing a hill.

It needs to be recognized that we ( Policymakers, Corporate organizations, etc) need to reduce the hill for women who in the past century have started to branch into these fields where the rules of engagement were created with male folks in mind.

What lessons can other women take from your journey when they feel discouraged?

I would say “your career is a marathon and not a race so don’t beat yourself up”. Life will throw you curveballs, There will be highs and lows. There will be upward movement and sometimes lateral career moves. Learn to keep pushing forward no matter what.

Invest in your personal development, as you grow and become better your confidence increases, you become more valuable to your organization or industry. – @nk_amadi Click To Tweet

Be in the driver seat when it comes to your career. Most times we look for a boss, organization, etc to cart our career path.

We should learn to intentionally think, plan and work towards our career goals.

How do you effectively combine work, pursuing your passion and the home front?

Whatever we feed or spend time in, grows. One of the secrets is daring to be bad at somethings and not feeling guilty about it.

Decide what is of priority to you. Focus your time on things that are of priority. That for me is key.

Also learn to seek support, delegate or outsource activities that are less important or impactful. This will free up time for family, work and your passion.


Missed our Facebook Live on August 22nd on how to drive social change through your business/career? Click here to watch here.

SheaMoisture Spotlight on Finance Queen: Anie Ufia – founder of Kolo Lagos

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skin care innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

About Anie Ufia

22-year old Ufia Aniebietabasi is the CEO and founder of Kolo Lagos. She is a Mass Communication graduate from the University of Lagos.

After an experience where she was shocked to find out that she had no savings of her own in a bank or anywhere else, Anie made up her mind to create a system that will make savings fun and a priority for her. 

Seeing the immediate results it had on her finances, she was determined to help other young people like herself, take control of their finances.

You are sure to either catch Anie preaching the gospel of financial freedom or on the lookout for opportunities with which she can drive social change.

Connect with Anie and her business here Website, Instagram, Twitter


Tell us about Kolo Lagos.

Kolo Lagos is a proudly Nigerian brand that is passionate about bringing back the saving culture in a unique way.

We aim to achieve this by encouraging people to save money in a piggy bank, popularly called “Kolo” in Nigeria.

Our kolos are made from quality tested wood and specially handcrafted with love in Nigeria to help people curb overspending, grow a saving habit and stay disciplined while at it. 

How did you turn this habit into a business?

I started Kolo Lagos during my final year at the University. I suddenly realized that I had zero savings, not in the bank or even in a piggy bank.

This made me buy a piggy bank for myself and discipline myself to save money. I bought one from a carpenter that was introduced to me by a friend.

 Since it worked for me, I told my friends about it and everyone wanted a piggy bank so they could save money as well. 

That was how the journey began!

Having a niche business, how do you make your brand stand out?

At Kolo Lagos, our kolos are crafted and designed to promote the rich and beautiful culture in Nigeria and Africa. They have also added an innovative touch to an old approach of saving money which was used since the days of our forefathers.

The reusability of our Kolos has also added a modern twist to it and is the ‘WOW’ factor that attracts our customers

Can you share with us 3 things you struggled with at the start of your business, and how you overcame them?

The major challenge I struggled with at the start of my business was building brand loyalty. It was a new business and with the prevalence of online fraud, most people are scared to make a purchase from an online store.

However, as the business grew, people began to trust us enough to refer us to friends and relatives. I have now moved from selling kolos to just friends and family but to people who discover us via the internet.

Another big challenge I struggled with was finding artisans who knew their onions, could deliver neatly done jobs, and deliver them on time.

I am glad that I have overcome that challenge since I have a particular one I now work with…

Tell us about a personal experience that translated to a  business lesson for you.

My first business lesson was before I even began my business. I had given a fashion designer a fabric and style to make an outfit for me.

I decided to come to get it at the allotted time the tailor gave me, but despite the sufficient time I gave, my dress wasn’t ready.

It was quite annoying and frustrating, to say the least. So I took that lesson with me to Kolo Lagos when I started it.

Working with artisans means that I constantly have to follow up, make calls and even go there physically if need be, just to ensure that everything is done well and on time. That experience stayed with me and has been a major lesson that has helped my business.

What impact have you made in your community since starting your business?

Since starting my business, I have impacted my community by speaking at workshops and seminars to both young and old people about money, and why it’s important to maintain a healthy saving lifestyle.

What is your 2019 goal, and what have you done so far to achieve it?

My goal for 2019 is to get more local distributors within Nigeria and at least one international distributor in order to achieve the goal of selling 2,000 kolos this year.

I am currently speaking with someone who is interested in becoming an international distributor.

Share with us 3 fun facts about yourself

  1. I love food. Food loves me.
  2. Food makes me happy.
  3. I know how to play drums.

What’s your fave skin care routine?

My skin care routine is done at night when I get to nicely cleanse my skin with my organic skin products, and prep for the night before going to bed.

How do you feel about promoting your brand on She Leads Africa, courtesy of SheaMoisture?

To be totally honest, I am still in utter shock even as I type this.

I remember when I applied for it and a part of me wasn’t sure if my business would be selected, but I applied anyway.

I am deeply and sincerely grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Thank you so much, Shea Moisture. You ROCK!

Describe your business with one word…

The word is UNIQUE.

Missed our first Shea Moisture Spotlight? Click here.

You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia


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FACEBOOK LIVE WITH JUDITH OWIGAR: HOW I BUILT MY BUSINESS TO DRIVE SOCIAL CHANGE (AUG 22)

What impact does your business have in your community?

It’s no news that companies take Corporate Social Responsibility very seriously. It’s like a magic door that opens up more opportunities and this is why. The world is ever-changing and businesses are looking for more ways to connect with their customers.

As a BOSS Lady, beyond making the $$$, you need to look at the bigger picture on how you can create a positive change in your community.

Listen To Me Hello GIF by Swing Left

Firstly, when your business is seen making an impact, it shows that you have an interest in social issues which will help raise your company profile, attract new customers and/or identify new opportunities.

Ain’t that the goal?

Get your business to impact your community and make a difference with these tips from @owigarj, founder of JuaKali Workforce on August 22nd at 12PM WAT! Click here for more: bit.ly/judithowigar Click To Tweet

Remember, being socially responsible is good for the bottom line.

If you want to learn how to create, craft and manage social change strategies, join us on Thursday, August 22nd, for a Facebook Live with Judith Owigar, founder of JuaKali Workforce, who’ll be dishing out tips to help your business aim for change.

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • How to discover what social issues are most relevant to you and your community.
  • 5 different ways your business can create a positive social change while you make profit.
  • Finding purpose and grit in social projects.
  • Impact vs Sustainability.

Facebook LIVE details:

Date: Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

Time: 12PM Lagos // 1PM Joburg// 2PM Nairobi

Watch Facebook Live with Judith:

Facebook Live with Judith Owigar – How I built my business to drive social change

She Leads Africa Facebook Live with Judith Owigar, founder of @JukailaWorkforce, shares her experience on how she built a business that is impacting communities in Kenya. Join the She Leads Africa community by visiting bit.ly/WelcomeToSLA

Posted by She Leads Africa on Thursday, August 22, 2019

About Judith

Judith Owigar is passionate about initiatives involving youth, women and all things technology. With a Masters in Applied Computing from the University of Nairobi, she’s the founder JuaKali Workforce, an online micro-jobs platform that connects young people to short term jobs in Kenya’s informal sector.

In 2015, Judith shared a panel with President Barack Obama of the U. S. and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. She is a 2015 East African Acumen Fellow and a 2014 international Focus fellow.

She has been named as one of the Top 40 under 40 women by the Business Daily newspaper in Kenya and has been recognized with the Anita Borg Change Agent Award by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.

How Tamiko Cuellar monetized her gift and launched her business

Tamiko Cuellar is the CEO and Founder of Pursue Your Purpose LLC, – a global coaching, consulting and training firm for emerging entrepreneurs, corporate intrapreneurs, and leaders.

She spends at least 6 months each year traveling throughout the continent of Africa where she speaks, coaches, and trains leaders, entrepreneurs, students, and women.

In addition, Tamiko was appointed as a mentor to emerging entrepreneurs in Africa as part of the Tony Elumelu’s Entrepreneurship Programme in 2016.

Tamiko has been a guest contributor on Forbes, The Huffington Post, amongst other publications.

In this article, Tamiko shares with us her journey to becoming a smart boss lady, and how she’s helping ladies on the continent do the same.


What made you decide to launch your own business?

There were multiple catalysts that compelled me to launch my own business I had survived three rounds of layoffs (retrenchments) at my corporate job in the United States as a result of the 2008 economy.

My job was becoming more stressful and adversely impacted my health, and I was only given a $700 bonus after helping to acquire a $30 million client for my company.

Besides all of that, I felt that my potential was being stifled and I was not fulfilled.

I then decided to monetize my gifts and skillset on my own terms, by launching my business to help other women transition from corporate and grow their businesses.

On your journey to becoming a Smart Boss Lady, What are some exciting things while launching your business?

Since there weren’t many coaches that were doing what I was doing when I first started, I looked for as many existing coaches as a template and tried to emulate them.

I later realized that it was my uniqueness that caused my brand to soar internationally.  I would encourage aspiring and emerging boss ladies to harness what’s unique about you.

That’s your sweet spot. People don’t need a clone. They need you to show up in your authenticity

“My uniqueness has helped my brand to soar internationally. Harness what's unique about you, that's your sweet spot.” – @PursueurPurpose Click To Tweet

What are some of the common problems entrepreneurs hire you to solve? 

The most common problems that women hire me for are helping them to narrow their focus, defining their target market, creating/refining a brand that attracts their target market, and also how to sell and make money consistently

Established larger organizations usually hire me to develop their leaders.

Why did you choose the business name – Pursue Your Purpose LLC? 

My company’s name was birthed from a common answer to a question that I would often ask people, which is, “What would you be doing if you could do something other than your current job?” 

The answer was always something different than what they were currently doing! Then my follow-up question would be, “Then why aren’t you doing that?” 

This was usually followed by a blank stare because people didn’t know why they weren’t getting paid to do what they love. It was then that I realized that most people that are working are doing what they have to do rather than what they want to do.

I’ve mastered a system that creates entrepreneurs who get paid to do what they love and I simply coach others on how to profit from their God-given purpose.

Tell us about your experience working almost exclusively on the continent of Africa.

 I absolutely love it!  I am called to Africa. The Africa I see is very different than the Africa that is portrayed in the media. 

Africa is rising

It’s ripe with potential because the majority of the population in many African nations is very young (ages 15-25) and emerging leaders are going to be at the helm of solving Africa’s problems very soon.

Someone needs to develop and train these emerging leaders.  I also feel a deeply personal and cultural connection to Africa being an 

African-American women of the Diaspora who can also bring a high level of skills to the continent that I’ve acquired in the States.

Who is your dream client/partner? 

First and foremost, my dream partnership would be with SLA in some way to build capacity in its community of professional business women from a global perspective.

As a former Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management in the U.S., I also love working with Universities throughout Africa on entrepreneurship curriculum development as well as being a guest lecturer to business and entrepreneurship students. 

Additionally, I love working with agencies and the Ministries of Trade & Industry to teach sub-Saharan African businesses on how to export their products into the U.S. duty-free. 

Lastly, I love training corporate leaders and HR managers on how they develop innovative entrepreneurial thinking in order to be on the cutting edge of what the rest of the world is doing. 

I would love to do more of these three types of training and coaching.  I’m very open to being contacted by your readers for partnership and speaking opportunities throughout Africa.

What’s the most exciting project you’re currently working on? 

I’m very happy to say that my fourth book, “Cultivating An Entrepreneurial Mindset” should be out by the fourth quarter of 2019. 

This will help thousands of aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs both inside and outside the classroom to develop the right thinking that leads to having successful, profitable and sustainable businesses. 

My calendar for 2020 is filling up quickly with organizational partnerships, speaking and training opportunities with universities, corporations, and government agencies throughout Africa, so I welcome as many strategic alignments as my company can accommodate.

I am also adding new Global Brand Ambassadors to my team all over Africa who are highly influential and can help us impact more people.


This article was put together by Lungiswa Mzimba

WANT TO BE A BETTER MANAGER? KEEP THESE 3 THINGS IN MIND

Being a boss babe leader and managing others is not easy.  I remember when I was first starting off as a manager, and I had to make my first hires.

I overthought everything.  

I did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but at the same time, I wanted to get the most out of the people I hired. 

Here are three basic statements I kept in mind when reflecting on my ability to engage and mobilize anyone working with me.  

They are useful to think about whether you manage one intern or twenty individuals.


1. Understand the goals and aspirations of each member of your team.

I used to think that I had to approach each member of my team the same.  I would provide them the same information and respond to them in similar ways, expecting the same output from each. It did not get me very far.  

Each person needs to be treated as an individual. Understanding how each member of your team ticks will help you get the most out of them.

If you know how to acknowledge and recognize each member, you will know how best to motivate and communicate with them.  

With just a bit of work and understanding, you can get a lot more out of a team member, because you will be speaking their language. No two people are motivated the same way, so you cannot always expect the same result from different individuals.

If you are an employee…

  • Tell your manager what motivates you.
  • Tell them what you want to get out of your experience working with them and how you prefer to be approached.
  • If you are confused about your role or objectives, ask or show them what you think they should be.

They might not always listen, but you can at least demonstrate how self-aware you are. Some managers will appreciate it.

Those who don’t probably shouldn’t be managers.

2. Each member of your team knows what you expect, and where they are in terms of performance

I was notorious and continued to have issues with communicating what I want from others.  Even when we think we have done an excellent job, we usually have not.

Making sure each member of your team understands their place (even if it changes monthly) is key to making sure you are getting the most out of them.  

They should be getting feedback from you regularly, and you should periodically inquire about making sure they are on the right track.

If they are not, its either you haven’t done an excellent job being explicit or the role does not suit them.

If you are an employee and your company has a formal performance review process, nothing your manager says during the performance review process should come as a surprise.

  • Ask for regular feedback and make sure you get clarity if you are confused.
  • Send your manager an email with what you discussed, even if its feedback, to make sure you both are on the same page.

3. You actively act on advice and feedback on how you come across to your team, and how you can be a more motivating leader

No one is perfect but spending a few hours a week on seeking and receiving feedback can make you a more effective leader.  

You can ask for input in various ways: informally at group meetings or formally through surveys. Take some time to read about different approaches to leadership and reflect on who you admire as a manager.

Write down the traits and feedback you want to embody and try them out. Want to check how you are doing? Continue to ask for feedback over time.

If you are an employee…

  • Ask your manager if you can give them constructive feedback.  
  • Think about what you can learn from your manager and make the best of the situation.
  • If there is something that doesn’t sit well with you, keep it in mind for when you have a chance to manage others.

How can you use these statements to make a change or move forward?

With each element, try to rate yourself.  I would suggest on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 meaning disagree strongly and 10, strongly agree.

Ask your teammates for feedback to help you decide where you stand.

For the statements you rate less than 5, you might want to spend some time thinking through how to bridge the gap.  You can start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Where do you want to be?
  • What is the first thing you can do to make progress in that particular element?

That one small step you take can help you get closer to the leader you want to be and get even more out of your team.


This month of July, we’re telling stories about boss ladies breaking boundaries, and how you also can hit your #BossLadyGoals. Got a boss lady story to share with us? Click here.

Why Your Business Ideas Aren’t Working

By ensuring that your goals are S.M.A.R.T, you set yourself up to experience the thrill of an achievement that will become a motivation for future successes.

Did you know that you can give 110% effort and fail miserably, even with a good business idea?

I’ve seen it more times than I can count. An eager entrepreneur has a brilliant idea and quickly forges ahead, only to come back disappointed that things did not work out.

By the time they come to that realization, they have likely invested a lot of money, energy and time that they will never get back.

Entrepreneurs going through this experience usually assume that they are simply not cut out for entrepreneurship.

It is at this point that I dig a little deeper into their execution process and I find that the real problem was that the idea or goal was underdeveloped, leading to poor execution. It was a set-up for failure from the start.

I then have the task of talking the entrepreneur off the ledge by explaining that there may have been nothing wrong with their effort, resources or intentions. The reason for the apparent failure was likely that the goal was an inherently bad goal.

When it comes to execution in business, a good goal is not just noble in its intention, but it also S.M.A.R.T.

It is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Ensuring that your goal meets these criteria increases the likelihood of success.

It eliminates wasted time and hones in on the best strategy for success.

Specific goals break down your general goals into manageable pieces so that they are easier to achieve. A great example of this might be to increase your annual revenue.

“Increase revenue in 2019” is a noble general goal.

An even better goal is to “increase revenue in 2019 by identifying profit leaks and creating monthly marketing campaigns in order to obtain new clients.”

Using that example, it’s easy to see how an entrepreneur can go from casting a wide net and taking a chance on what sticks, to identifying a specific strategy for success.

Even that specific goal can be further developed as you think about other factors that will affect the outcome.

By adding metrics and changing the goal to “increase revenue by 40% in 2019, by identifying profit leaks and creating monthly marketing campaigns in order to obtain new clients,” the direction and initial action steps are even clearer.

This way, there is little room for wasted resources and time.

The attainable and realistic factors in the S.M.A.R.T. formula are subjective factors determined by the individual’s readiness to start working on their goals.

An entrepreneur who does not have a marketing budget needs to first raise the money or create a budget for marketing before embarking on the goal above.

Without a budget for a robust campaign, attempting to increase revenue by creating marketing campaigns will prove futile.- @andrena_sawyer Click To Tweet

It seems obvious enough, but many entrepreneurs still do not count the cost before they set their foot on the pavement.

The last piece of the formula is timeliness. This ensures that the person setting the goal has a sense of urgency and can fend off complacency when working toward their goal.

It is easy to overlook this final piece, but it is just as critical as the others because it has two extremes: too much time allotted for the goal, and not enough time.

When there is too much time, it is easy to fall into traps of procrastination and complacency. These are traps that force individuals to believe they have more time to do the work than they actually do.

They lose their sense of urgency, which opens the door for others to leverage their ideas, or for a competitor to get to a product launch before they do. The other extreme is not to give yourself enough time.

No goal is perfect, and neither is every process, and there is room for imperfection. – @andrena_sawyer Click To Tweet

By rushing toward the goal, entrepreneurs stand the risk of sabotaging by not properly assessing the risks and all of the factors necessary for success.

After all, there’s value for the entrepreneur in trial and error and even failure.

However, by ensuring that your goals are S.M.A.R.T., you set yourself up to experience the thrill of achievement that will become a motivation for future successes.