Gugu Sithole-Tyali Shows Us How to Take Over the World of PR

As you know, we’re always so incredibly proud when we see amazing women who are not only succeeding in their respective careers but uplift other young women for success too!

With over 10 years’ experience, Gugu Sithole-Tyali took her once small side hustle and turned it into one of the most respected PR companies in the creative industry.

Sprout Creative PR is not only completely black-owned, but they also have an all-woman team, and together, they eliminate the misconceptions society has of women working together for a bigger and greater purpose.

Below, Gugu shares a bit about her challenges, successes and how she is using her talents to empower other women on the come up.

 Tell us more about Sprout PR?

We’re a budding, black-owned, creative boutique, specializing in brand communications. Our talents lie in strategic public relations, digital marketing, brand development, creative content creation, and event curation.

Turning a side hustle into a business has been interesting, to say the least - @ZuluGirl1 Click To Tweet

What do you think is the most challenging part of being in the industry?                                             

From the perspective of being a startup in the industry, the challenges are endless. I’ll stick to three that have been particularly pertinent to Sprout over the last couple of years.

Carving a niche for ourselves:

In the beginning, there was a temptation to do a lot of things, often more than what our business could handle. As soon as we stopped trying to be everything to everyone, and played to our strengths as a team, we were able to carve a space for ourselves.

Currently, that’s working with brands in Fintech, Agritech, AI, etc. We also have a love for and wide-ranging experience in the lifestyle sector, so we’re excited to see that portfolio grow.

Staying competitive:

As a young and small agency, competing with the well-established agencies can be pretty tough. They’ve got long track records and name recognition going for them.

We’ve found however that being small has its positives, so we’re working hard to take advantage of those. We’re adaptable, have a niche specialization, and I think we’re way more invested in our clients and their brands.

We’ve also been lucky to get extensive exposure to design thinking and Lean Startup methodologies. Adopting and implementing those practices has allowed us to collaborate with clients in a way that harnesses our shared strengths, and has resulted in them viewing us as partners, rather than vendors.

Assembling the right team:

This one’s a biggie. Striking a balance between hiring experienced professionals and being a training ground for up-and-comers – something close to my heart – is tricky.

We’re fortunate to work with clients who are passionate about entrepreneurship/startups, and so as long we’re working our butts off, staying accountable, and are passionate about their brands, they’re giving us the room to figure this part out.

We’re working hard at it though.

As soon as we stopped trying to be everything to everyone, and played to our strengths as a team, we were able to carve a space for ourselves - @ZuluGirl1 Click To Tweet

We have heard about your difficult journey, tell us a little more?

Turning a side hustle into a business has been interesting, to say the least.

Nothing could have prepared me for the hardships of this journey. But, it’s also been an incredibly fulfilling, and the best part is that it’s helped me find my tribe – smart, creative, hardworking, tenacious women (and men), who are overcoming similar challenges every day.

They’ve helped me find the good in these hardships. I’m most grateful for them.

We are so inspired by your All Woman staff, how has the dynamic been, and have you had any criticism?

I’m proud of the fact that with each day we’re dispelling this myth around women not being able to work together. We live by one, simple rule: Collaboration over competition.

It’s formed the foundation for how we deliver for clients, deal with conflict, and show support to not only the members of our own team but women in our broader network. It’s also a value that’s been extremely helpful in the hiring process.

Have you had any challenges in the industry as a black-owned company?

I think a lack of belief in our value is probably one of the biggest challenges faced by black-owned businesses in general, it’s not industry-specific.

As a black business owner, I think I’ve often let this self-doubt negatively influence my decision-making. I’ve charged less for services, bent over backward for clients who didn’t necessarily deserve it, etc.

I realize though that this made me part of the problem because it does us a disservice by diminishing our worth. I feel like I’m currently in a season of truly backing not only myself but my team and our ability to deliver.

How is the future looking for Sprout PR?

If the caliber of the brands in our portfolio (the likes of Standard Bank, DHL Supply Chain Africa, Switch Innovation, and the African Fintech Unconference) is anything to go by, the future is looking bright. We have a long way to go and lots of learning to do, but we’re up to the challenge.

What advice do you have for anyone trying to break into the industry?

I have a few pointers…

  • Work on those writing skills, they’re key to your arsenal.
  • Stay at it. Persistence is essential to getting over the rejection of your ideas and stories.
  • Learn to network. You never know when a contact will help you land a dream job or client.
  • Take good care of your online reputation. How else is a brand going to trust you to take care of theirs?
  • Break into the industry with an agency that’s breaking into the market. Startups are a great training ground.

 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Tolulope Tunde-Ajiboye: Life lessons from my journey to new beginnings

Coming into my 33rd year is very special, as it marks my 20th year of walking with God, 10 years of marriage, 10 years of parenting, 10 years of being a professional and the birthing of something new – Blooming Amazons.

I will be sharing life lessons I’ve learned through the journey.

Before you begin, grab a notepad and maybe a cool drink, because this is a long but eye-opening read.

Living for the praises/ validation of men is futile

This year, as it’s a pattern with me when something new is about to be birthed in me, all Hell would let loose and most times only a few can see what I m seeing. When Blooming Amazons were about to be birthed, I had people who I taught should be excited about the new work say to me, cancel, it’s not time.

I knew I heard God, so I went ahead, not allowing the opinion of anyone to deter me. At the end of our first conference in June, I had a few of them (who were Humble enough)  say to me, you really heard God, after the conference, we are convinced.

So I say to myself, what if I succumbed to all the pressures?

Own your Journey as it is part of your process

EVERYTHING we go through in life( The Good, Bad and Ugly) is all part of our becoming and it’s the enemy’s plan to keep us down with shame. God will never want us to be ashamed irrespective of where we have been.

He’s more interested in where we are now and where we will spend eternity… We should find strength in our journey and own our story without prejudice, someone out there will draw strength from your journey.

Always remember you are only a vessel

When God does His work through us, there’s the temptation that people would start to put us on a pedestal of worship(very dangerous), we have to constantly remind them, it is God who is doing His work and we are only vessels, and He alone should take all the glory.

If we are not deliberate about this,  pride will set in (and it’s usually subtle). God resists the proud, the fear of being resisted by God alone should keep us humble.

Everything we go through in life - The Good, Bad and Ugly is all part of our becoming - @tolulopetaj Click To Tweet

Some things never grow old

1. Prayer 

These days when you say to people lets pray about this, it sounds like a cliché, like the normal thing Christians say, but I tell you the truth, Prayer changes things.

Prayer is us admitting to God that we are limited and need His intervention in a particular situation. It’s a show of surrender and Humility. His answer may not come how we many it or when we want it, but He certainly answers.

2. Submission

With all the feminism out there and being taken overboard, it assumes that submission is out-dated. I see submission as admitting that the power I have comes through me and not from me, I believe God knows the strength of a woman and if left unchecked can create chaos and that’s why He has commanded us to submit.

Submission is more than an admonishing, it’s a command.

So, I”m married to this amazing gentleman who allows me to have my way a lot of times, but when He puts his foot down, I know I have to submit, it might not be easy on the flesh, but every time I submit to my Husband, I notice He honors me more and He is spurred to do more for me.

Irrespective of what I do outside of my Home, once I get to ABCVille,( How we like to call our Home), I’m first Babatunde’s wife before anything else. Being submissive isn’t the same as being subservient.

3. Loyalty

I’m a believer in if you belong to a place, then give it your loyalty, if I start to doubt the integrity of a  place I belong to, I would rather move on than to be two-faced.

I still don’t know how people are able to sleep at night after hailing someone who they just cursed behind their back. ( of the first questions I will ask God when we get to heaven).

God is a loving Father

A lot of us have this fearful, awfull picture of God, perhaps painted to us as children from Sunday school days, but it’s not true about Him, we should fear God in reverence, but not an awful kind of fear. God isn’t like the Nigerian traffic police (lastma) lol, hiding and just waiting for us to fail so He can hit us with His rod of correction of sickness, diseases or crisis…

Rather, He loves us with an everlasting, I like to call it a ‘reckless love’. The Bible makes us know He doesn’t want the sinner to perish, it is never His will for anyone to perish, and it is never God who puts crises on people, all good and perfect gifts come from Him and its impossible for Him to do evil.

Next time you find yourself “falling”, remember, God’s love is waiting with hands open wide to receive you back - @tolulopetaj Click To Tweet

Feelings are a bad master but a good servant

As Christians, we can’t be ruled by our feelings, they will mislead us. We are first a spirit, then we have a soul and live in a body, Our soul is responsible for our emotions but as strong as emotions are, they are in no match to what our spirit carries. Our life should be guided by the spirit.

So Here was I, tongue-talking, demon chasing daughter of God, being attracted to some other person, of course I know to Kill that emotion because it is not leading to anywhere good. Anger, Jealousy, Fear, all these are emotions and should be put in constant check with the word of God.

Sometimes we might wake up not feeling too good, perhaps because of life challenges(being an adult can be demanding….I know), we are weighed down.

Here is my reminder to you, it’s only a feeling, it’s not who you are, it will pass.

Marriage has to be built on the right foundation

Right foundation for me will be marrying for the right reasons, being sincere about who you are from the beginning of the relationship and most important part, Having God be the center of it all.

Forever is a very long time to spend with someone, and years down in marriage, both of you will evolve, children will come or may not, careers will grow , finances, Health, in-laws, priorities, purpose, a lot will just happen and its the foundation of your marriage that will really sustain the union, we can’t really change our spouse.

No Human being can change another( God hasn’t given that power to any man), but we can ask Him who is the creator and father of our spouse to do with and in His child all He wants to.

Be sincere and open with your Children

I learned this from my mum, She is a  very sacrificial mother and let my brother and me into her capabilities. Even when I was far away in school, there were just somethings I never got involved in, because I knew my mother emptied all her savings to give me the comfort I have.

I just kind of felt being of good behavior and excelling was the least I could do to honor her. Also, you earn your children’s respect when you treat your spouse well.

This a subtle life lesson we pass to our children without talking. So my children notice my Husband and I just disagreed over an issue, and as children may want to ask for favors from me which their Dad won’t approve of.

They know I won’t bend over to let them have their way. They have come to learn this, so these days, they don’t bother…

Competition and Rivalry is baseless

One of the core things the Lord has been impressing upon my heart is collaboration. We are the light of the world, but a candlestick in a world of gross darkness cant dispell much but imagine what happens when we all bring our light together, there is no darkness we can’t dispel.

Afterall, no one ever shines brighter by putting our another person’s light.

It’s Ok to admit we are limited and don’t know something

There’s the temptation of wanting to answer everyone’s questions, want to meet everyone’s need and solve every problem when we begin to have people look up to us.

While this is good, to have a serving heart, it can place too much demand on us, we should do as much as we can, but we should always have at the back of our minds that its only the Holy Spirit who can fix people and solve problems and we are in no match with him. We should always point people back to God and be sincere with our limitations.

If  someone asks us a question we don’t know, its ok to say I don’t know or I’m not sure about this, can I get back to you or can I refer you to someone I feel will be in a better position to answer you correctly


People would always have an opinion and they are entitled to it, but you should choose what advice to listen to - @tolulopetaj Click To Tweet

Everyone God has brought our way is for a purpose and we are accountable for them

One of the ways my Husband and I have decided to give back to the society is by ensuring anyone who comes to work for us as a domestic staff leaves us better. We are committed to their growth and development.

Seriously, we can’t claim to be mentoring people outside when the ones right under our roof, that spend a lot of time with our children are not well mentored.

Not only do we mentor them but make an investment in them. Is there a possibility they won’t be grateful, Oh yes, but who and what is our motive? God!!! So it’s unto Him

There’s a reward for faithfulness

When we are in the capacity to work for others, we should do it as though it is ours. People say a lot to me now that running BLAM comes so easy for you.

How do you do it, but then, years before now, I was serving somewhere else, not having the slightest idea God would call me to start BLAM, but I did it with all my heart as though it was mine, not only did God reward my faithfulness.

I was also unknowingly developing myself for my own purpose, so now it appears so easy as I have developed my root downwards.


Courage isn’t the absence of Fear, but not being crippled by the fear.

I remember our first conference, I was so afraid like visibly afraid, if you looked at me, you literally could see me trembling, but I didn’t let that stop me, I know fear is only a feeling, I heard God clearly about the conference, so what I felt really didn’t matter.

Fulfilling a purpose isn’t for the faint-hearted

Ask anyone doing great in any sector, they will tell you the same thing. Someone told me she was crying because some people she thought should support her vision arent doing so.

I simply told her, welcome to the club, its ok to cry, but one of the beauties of being a woman is we can cry this moment, and the next go to the washroom and slay it up again.

Usually, I would recommend anyone starting or doing a great work to confess Ephesians 3:16 (NLT)  I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. 

We need a lot of inner strength for the journey.

People would always have an opinion and they are entitled to it, but what they aren’t entitled to be forcing it on you.

You also owe yourself not being moved by the opinion of people, I have observed that people’s opinions are ever changing, since the days of Jesus, today Hosanna, tomorrow crucify!

Seek Counsel, ask for advice, but ultimately, hear God.

I once heard of an ex-governor who when He wanted to run for governorship sort the counsel of one His mentors, a big name in the Christian faith in our nation, and the person told him not to run as he won’t win, but He was convinced God spoke to Him.

He ran and won the elections and even did a second term. I’ve had this play out in my lifetime and time again. This doesn’t make the man of God a liar, it only means that concerning the issues of our destiny, it is ONLY the holy spirit’s guide that is 100 percent accurate.

Your spouse isn’t your enemy

Many times the enemy tries to make our spouse look like our enemy, but we know better.

His aims are not far-fetched, to steal, kill and ultimately destroy. So when dealing with issues, we should always have this at the back of our minds.

Whats important is that we don't measure our own success or be put under pressure by what we see on social media - @tolulopetaj Click To Tweet

Preparation time is never wasted time

So you sense you are being called to a certain trade or profession, rather than launching out untrained, take time out to go prepare, go watch someone do it.

That way your roots grow downwards, so even though no one is seeing the tree itself yet, you have developed a solid foundation and when you start out and the storms and challenges of life flood in, you are able to stand.

Social Media is a very good tool

Like most of the work we do with BLAM is via social media, that being said, it can also be very misleading. Everyone puts their best foot forward and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Whats important is we don’t measure our own success or be put under pressure by what we see on social media.  Not all that glitter is gold

It’s Ok to laugh at yourself

I remember a night I was in Bible school and because of my tight schedules lately, I’ve been going on wigs more to help me cut down on salon times this day, off my wig went in the middle of class.

Honestly, I still can’t explain what made it fall off, but I just picked it up and wore it back nicely, rather than being thoroughly embarrassed. Life isn’t that serious

Its ok to ask for help

When we were having our conference in June, we sent out letters for support which we got a lot of, I can’t imagine if we tried to muscle it all alone. God will always send us people who would help us.

Put structures in place that make your life easier

With all the many roles that I play, while in bible school, I had to invest in getting a very good home tutor for my children, that is something I did myself, but I wasn’t going to be available to do it and I didn’t want  their academics to suffer for it, so I had to pay the price.

I also had to get an extra hand to help out with domestic chores. Women like to be perceived as being super, but you can only shine when your sanity is intact.

 If you’d like to get featured on our Facebook page, click here to share your story with us.

Presence and Poise Web Series in collaboration with Dark and Lovely Africa

Have you ever wished that you had a fairy godmother that would come and bless your life with glitter, money and Versace?


In the hyper competitive business world, we often only have 3-5 seconds to make a great first impression. Even if we don’t want it to be the case, the way we present ourselves can have a major impact on whether or not we get that job interview, business deal or media opportunity.

Our mothers have blocked us from casting any spells (AMEN) but we have been able to pull together an amazing collaboration to help you upgrade your style, confidence and business in one quick swoop!

Whitney HoustonWe’re proud to introduce Presence and Poise, an exciting new makeover series to help improve the business skills and confidence of up and coming women in our community. In collaboration with global beauty giant Dark and Lovely in Africa, Presence and Poise will identify five women who are working hard to build a business but need coaching and support to get to that next level.

Presence and PoiseSelected participants will win a complimentary trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, business coaching from a seasoned expert and a beauty and style makeover by Dark and Lovely Haircare Experts. After the makeover they will also be introduced to potential business partners, mentors or investors who can help support their business moving forward.

To be considered for a makeover, follow these simple steps:

  1. Upload a video onto Instagram on why you deserve a business makeover and use the hashtag #PresencexPoise
  2. Include your City and Country in your caption
  3. Follow @DarkandLovelyAfrica and @SheLeadsAfrica

Applications close on 14 April 2017 at 11:59pm WAT.

After your makeover, you’ll be walking into your next meeting like this.

Presence and Poise

Terms and Conditions


The Presence and Poise Makeover Web Series will provide young women with a business makeover including a new hairstyle, outfit and coaching to get their business to the next level. The goal of the show is to encourage young women to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

The Promoters for The Presence and Poise Makeover Web Series (“the competition”) are Devorent Nigeria Limited (“She Leads Africa “) and L’Oreal South Africa (Proprietary) Limited  (“Dark and Lovely Africa”)  (collectively, “the organisers”).


Open to Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast and South Africa residents aged 18 or over only, who are in possession of a valid identity document except employees and directors of She Leads Africa & Dark and Lovely Africa, and their associated, affiliated or subsidiary companies, their families, partners, agents or any other person(s) connected with the competition, including third party promotional partners.

Competition opens at 12:00am WAT on 29 March and closes at 11.59pm WAT on 14 April 2017 (the Closing Date). Entries received after the Closing Date will not be counted.

One entry per person. Bulk, automatically generated or third party entries are void.

Each entrant must make a 60-second entry video uploaded on Instagram where they give a brief personal introduction and explain why they deserve to win the makeover. Each entrant must follow Dark and Lovely Africa on Instagram and use the hashtag #PresencexPoise for their submission to be valid.

The Organisers reserve the right to publish entries (including parts of entries) other than the winning entry and publication does not necessarily mean the entrant has won a prize. Entrants will retain copyright in their submitted entries, however, by entering, all entrants give consent and provide the Organisers a worldwide royalty-free perpetual licence to edit, publish and use each entry in any and all media (including print and online) for publicity and news purposes. The Organisers reserve the right to publish entries (including parts of entries) although publication does not necessarily mean the entrant has won a prize. Applicants can opt out to this consent at any time by contacting the Organisers via written request at

Up to five Selected Participants will be selected by the Organisers at its complete discretion based on the uniqueness of the entry, need for the makeover and the business. Selection decisions will be communicated publicly via Instagram on the She Leads Africa and Dark and Lovely Africa pages by 5 May 2017 The Organisers reserves the right not to select any Participants if there are insufficient entries or if the quality of the entries is poor. The Organisers selection decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

By entering, all eligible entrants agree to abide by each and all these terms and conditions. Misrepresentative or fraudulent entries will invalidate an entry. Where a competition involves a voting process:  offering or receiving any incentive for voting is not permitted and will invalidate the vote, and may disqualify the recipient of the vote. The Organisers reserve the right, with or without cause, to exclude entrants and withhold prizes for violating any of these terms and conditions. The Organisers reserve the right to amend these terms and conditions. Any amendments will be published on the Organiser’s website (the Website).


The Prize is a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, a new hairstyle, a makeup session, a wardrobe styling session and a business mentorship session. Those outside of Johannesburg, South Africa will receive assistance with their visa application, an economy class round trip ticket, transportation within Johannesburg and feeding. Selected Participants within Johannesburg will receive complimentary transport from their homes to the filming location.

The prize is non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives to the prize in whole or in part.

Each Selected Participant must be available to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa for the makeover and video shoot between May 1 – May 30 2017. Each Selected Participant must have a valid passport.

Each Selected Participant consents and agrees that they will, if requested by the Organisers, make themselves exclusively available for any publicity and promotion at venues, dates and times designated by the Organisers.

The organisers will contact the Selected Participants telephonically by 28 April 2017 via the Instagram handle they have applied with. Should the winner not be contactable by the organisers after three attempts and by 12h00 WAT on Friday, 5 May 2017, the Selected Participants shall forfeit the prize and the organisers will be entitled to select a different Selected Participant on the same conditions, except that the organisers will make only one attempt to contact each further name selected until Selected Participants are confirmed.

Should the entrant win the prize,she/he undertakes to expeditiously provide to the organisers such information as may be required in order to establish her identity and eligibility to enter the competition, and to facilitate the coordinating of the prize.

The Selected Participants agree to keep all details they acquire during this Competition private and confidential until such time as the Organisers advise that they may disclose any such details.

Neither the Organisers nor any other person or party associated with the Competition shall be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever suffered (including, but not limited to, direct, indirect and/or consequential loss) or personal injury suffered or sustained in connection with either participation in the Competition or with any Prize or any part of it.

Each entrant agrees and consents that the Organisers may run any background checks it deems necessary in relation to the Competition.

The Organisers reserve the right at any time to cancel, modify or supersede the competition (including altering prizes) if, in our sole discretion, a competition is not capable of being conducted as specified. The Organisers reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal value in the event that circumstances beyond their control make this unavoidable.


When competing with your male colleague goes wrong

Working hard almost cost me my life before I finally realized that I had limits Click To Tweet

I didn’t want to admit the sudden realization that my workplace had now become a war zone for me. More like, “A war that I am scared I may not win”. It felt as though I was losing to the battle —one of self-pride. Restlessness overwhelmed me each morning.

You see, I have this very intelligent colleague. He’s very charming and he knows this, clearly showed his abilities off as he’s quite good at his job. It gets annoying most times. Everybody loves and respects me at work and while I am grateful for that, I wanted more. I wanted more attention, and respect. Kinda felt I deserved it!

23ab44d7d32d4eab143834e0fd301d94 gifSoon, I made myself into believing that I could be better than my colleague, faster even and more appreciated. I had this insatiable appetite for success, and to achieve it; I wanted to do all the work by myself without him helping so he wouldn’t take all the glory —crazy, right?

I made myself into believing that I could be better than my male colleague Click To Tweet

Once, we had a workload to be executed by three people, one that was to be finished in a week! It was as if a spirit possessed me. I told myself, “no going home” and informed the rest of my colleagues that they needn’t worry. I was going do it all by myself and be through in two days. Their reply was as expected, they asked if I was sure I could do it. This angered me so I replied, “I am a woman not a weakling.”

I threw myself into it; I wanted to show the rest of the department that I was not as fragile as they had painted me, and I was stronger than I looked. I felt I needed to erase all doubt.

What I taught would take 2 days turned into a tiring and exhausting week. A part of me wanted to give up and and to ask my colleagues to finish up but, I didn’t want that. Once I finished the job , I had everybody’s attention as I intended. Yet, I had reached burn out. In my life, I had never felt so tired like I did after that week, I felt so drained.

cookie-sigh gifBut that was just the beginning, from then on my workload increased. In my head, I was screaming so hard but unfortunately, this became my new reality; heavy workload in very tight deadlines. I wasn’t prepared for that at all! All I wanted was a little attention and respect, I didn’t want to faint at the hallway.

What I didn’t realize was:

It was okay to ask and accept help

Asking for help doesn’t make you feel less of a person. It doesn’t reveal to the world that you are helpless, it shows that you are human, not a robot. Everybody has their breaking limit.

For me, it almost cost me my life before finally realizing that I had limits. Really, ask for that help, it won’t cost you anything, not even your pride or dignity.

It is better to be a team player

Team players never get too tired or exhausted. Do you know why? They work hand-in-hand with their subordinates. All you need is to be there and supervise the job; you don’t have to do it all.

Most people tend to have an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) when it comes to their jobs, they want everything perfect —which can be so amazing but still don’t overdo it, or else, you might break.

index gif
Competition with a male counterpart is overrated

I know you are a strong and determined woman, there is no disputing that —but you don’t need to lose yourself in trying to prove to everybody that you are stronger than a man. There is no need!

Forget competing, just make sure you give your best shot at your job, that’s really all there is to it.

Case study: How your business can stand out from the competition

shehive joburg she leads africa competition
Competition is a “necessary evil” of doing business, here's how to make yours stand out Click To Tweet

If you’re in business, competition is something you can’t do without. In other words, competition is a “necessary evil” of doing business. It does not, however, mean that competition in your business area is a bad thing.

On the contrary, when there are several competitors in your niche, it shows that you’re on the right track and that there’s money to be made there. What you must do, as a business owner, innovator and Motherland Mogul, is figure out how you can stand out from your competition.


You need to ask yourself: “If I must have competitors, how do I make sure I’m able to stand out? How can I be visible to my potential customers and clients? How can I meet my revenue expectations?”

In this article, I’m going to share with you a quick way to combat that. I’ll be sharing two case studies of how companies were able to stand out from the competition by thinking out of the box.

Ask yourself the following questions if you want to stand out from the competition Click To Tweet

Guideline: How to stand out from the competition

First things first, look at the top 10 companies/competition in your industry. Make sure you take note of the following:

  • What are they offering?
  • How do they offer it?
  • What are their price points?
  • How is their customer service?
  • What is their packaging like?

Then, ask yourself:

  • What are their strengths?
  • What are they doing that you should emulate?
  • Do they have any weak spots?
  • Is there something they are doing that you can do better?

Finally, determine how you can leverage all this information to be different. Ask yourself:

  • How can you do things differently without undermining the value of the products and services you sell?

#MotherlandMogul tip: Sometimes, all it takes is improving the experience your customers and clients get doing business with you.

 Got it? Alright, now to the Case studies.

Case Study #1: Rebecca Minkoff Stores

 I stumbled across an article about Rebecca Minkoff in Inc. Magazine. If you prefer the tl:dr version, here’s the story in a nutshell.

Rebecca Minkoff launched her brand of ready-to-wear accessories, handbags, and footwear in 2005. From the start, she knew it won’t survive as a regular store. So, she set out to create the perfect shopper experience.

When shoppers enter flagship stores, they are greeted by a digital touchscreen wall that displays the latest runway selections, offers style suggestions from Rebecca Minkoff herself and can even take drink orders.

Then, each item contains an RFID tag that detects when a shopper enters a dressing room. When the tag is scanned, an image pops up on a mirror with suggestions for complementary accessories.

Talk about innovative. Rebecca Minkoff really did create a unique shopping experience.

How to be innovative and come up with new ways to stand out from the competition Click To Tweet

Case Study #2: The Trunk Club

 The Trunk Club is a subscription service for male fashion. Here’s how it works. When you subscribe, a consultant gives you a call and talks with you to find out your “style”. Then, each month, you get a trunk box (miniature size, of course) containing selections for the month. Each item is packed attractively and have price tags on.

As the consumer, you have the choice to take what you want and return the rest. Whatever you don’t return, they bill to you. If  you can’t imagine how this would work, check out this guy here as he receives his first trunk box.

Bottom line is this. The Trunk Club is another innovative way of standing out from the numerous online shopping sites out there.

That’s it.

Go through the guideline above again and begin to come up with new ways to stand out from the competition.

One last thing. The two examples I gave happen to be in the fashion industry, but there are many companies out there in various industries being innovative and coming up with new ways to stand out from the competition.

Now, it’s your turn to think outside the box. Go on, I know you can do it!

taraji-clapping-gif#MotherlandMogul tip: What cool innovative ways have you seen companies use to stand out from the competition? How can you replicate them?

It’s time to stop comparing, ladies

She has so many likes on Facebook/Instagram…

We started this job together but she has left me behind…

O my God, did you see her wardrobe…

Everyone likes her, she is the life of the party…

She had a BellaNaija wedding, how will mine be…

The boss just praised her work again…

The cute guy I like has eyes for only her…

Just wait a second!

Why don’t you stop comparing, you have no idea of the back story.

Comparison may be human nature but we have to decide on whether it’s to be positive or negative. Positive comparison motivates us as well as our object of comparison to do well. Negative comparison, on the other hand, tries to hinge our happiness or progress on the object of our comparison.

This is absolutely dangerous and could affect our performance in everyday life. Did you know people only show what they want you to see? No one uploads selfies that don’t flatter them.

Why should you then get depressed because Bola is on vacation in Dubai? Why should you lose your appetite because Sefi got 500 likes and 30 shares on Facebook? Why should you feel like a loser because Joyce started a business and you are tied up in a job you hate? Why should you compare your behind-the-scenes with someone else’s highlights?

Thomas J. DeLong, a professor at Harvard Business School, noted a disturbing trend among his students and colleagues —a “comparison obsession.” He writes, “more so than ever before…business executives, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals are obsessed with comparing their own achievements against those of others…This is bad for individuals and bad for companies. When you define success based on external rather than internal criteria, you diminish your satisfaction and commitment.”

So what can we do to stop this ugly trend?

Change the object of comparison

Start comparing yourself to yourself. Oh yes! Measure your today against your yesterday and your plan for your tomorrow. Did I just lose you? Hopefully not.

After measuring, if you do not like what you see then you know you need to get to work. One step at a time. However, if you do like what you see, keep on your grind as you are well on your way to greatness.

Understand we have different callings

Your calling might be teaching and another person, acting.  It is highly unfair to compare your teaching experiences and perks with that attached to acting. Doing this would only steal your joy and halt your progress.

Come on, we don’t want you unnecessarily depressed. Instead, use your time to engage in rewarding activities to boost your chosen career path.

Celebrate your accomplishments

You are unique and have a lot to offer your environment. Focus on that and celebrate how far you’ve come. Be genuinely happy for others and appreciate your own milestones. Gratitude for where you are on your journey would take you further.

Dear Motherland Moguls, instead of unhealthy competitions, let’s begin to empower one another. Starting today, redirect your thoughts and keep your eyes only on  your path.

Competition, what competition? Why collaboration might just be your strongest asset

Collaboration is a game where everyone wins. You build your network, expand your audience and strengthen your brand.
As ambitious women, chasing our dreams is part of what gets us up in the morning. While it is important to protect our ideas, we have been taught to keep our distance from the competition while studying their progress.
It’s easy to believe that ‘there can only be one’ and do everything humanly possible to be That One. But actually, there isn’t only room for one. There’s room for everyone who is tenacious and passionate enough to pursue their goals, and collaboration plays a huge role in that.
Still not convinced? Read on to find out why collaboration might just be your strongest asset.

Collaboration is a source of inspiration and support

Even the smartest, most connected and experienced people in the world don’t know it all. Through collaboration, you get to bounce ideas off people who truly understand your industry.

It’s a “great way to make sure that we all keep moving forward and nobody gets left behind”, fashion-travel blogger and life-stylist Fisayo Longe tells us. Building a business or high-powered career is definitely not for the fainthearted, and even the toughest of us can benefit from support from other people who get it.

WELL-DUNN-Season-3-Ep-1-Jourdan-Dunn-Joan-Smalls-Chanel-Iman (1)Collaboration strengthens your skills and expands your network

Collaboration also helps build your technical skills by sharing knowledge with those in your field. My fellow writers and enterprise enthusiasts constantly share videos, articles and books aimed at improving skills from strategy to copywriting.

But if you keep all your aspirations under wraps, people won’t know that you may benefit from what they have to give. Sharing educational resources creates a ‘pay it forward’ culture that leaves you better off in the end.

Collaboration also brings you closer to people that it might have taken you years to meet. After all, “people who know talented people are always more useful than a single talented person with no connections,” says producer, writer and radio presenter, Phoebe Parke.

In my experience, I’ve met CEOs, entrepreneurs and leading creatives through people in my industry, such as life-coach and business manager Seun Awolowo


Collaboration enhances your brand and grows your audience

One key challenge that all businesses face is expanding their customer base/audience. Again, collaboration is part of the solution. It’s one thing to present your own product, but when another brand or business is doing this, you become even more legit.

It “adds to your reputation as someone who knows what they’re talking about”, Phoebe says. In blogger Fisayo’s experience, her audiences have grown through friendships with fellow bloggers like Melissa Holdbrook, and “Freddie Harrel [who] invited me to be part of an event she was organising recently that made me almost a thousand pounds. My presence there pulled a bigger crowd which was also great for her”.

Collaboration creates scenarios where everyone’s a winner and gets a share of success.

“Think about what you have to offer, not what you have to gain and collaboration will come easily”, Phoebe advises. Even those at the top of their game collaborate. As Fisayo points out, “life coaches like Brendon Burchard and Ariana Huffington have grown their audiences significantly and made millions of dollars through collaborating with each other.” If collaboration works for them, it’s probably going to work for you too.

Collaboration celebrates your uniqueness

Finally, never forget that you have something unique and distinct to bring to the table. The truth is, you are your only competition and you owe it to yourself to improve with each day.

No one has walked the same path as you or thinks exactly the way you do. This is a principle that Seun applies across all her areas of her career from life-coaching to the corporate world.

As the saying goes, “no one is you and that is your super-power.” Have confidence in yourself, your abilities and what you have to offer. Fisayo puts it like this, “when you are proud of what you have created and you really believe in your content”, collaboration becomes second nature. 

How has collaboration helped your career or your business? Let us know in the comments section below.

3 reasons you are your only competition

Every day, we are surrounded by images and individuals that remind us that we need more, need to have more and do more. In business, this pressure often comes from our competition.

Sometimes our competition can be intimidating. They can make us feel as though our ideas are too small or that we will never be as good.

However,  it is not really our competition that is the issue here. It is our fear of reaching heights of greatness that we never thought of as possible.

Over-analyzing our competition can distract us from what we should be doing and where we should be going. We become accustomed to the falsehood that because someone else is winning, we must be losing.

Use competition to inspire and enlighten rather than disenchant yourself. Often those who see the most successful competitors in their industries as inspiration strive to do better in their own businesses.

Use your competitors as catalysts for change and sources of motivation. They are not there to limit your success. There are enough opportunities to succeed for all of us. At the end of the day, you need to compete with yourself and here are three reasons why it’s important.

1. It will stop you from comparing yourself to others

Naomi Campbell

I think sometimes the anxiety that comes from seeing your competitors excel makes you  question whether you are doing better than other people or not. What really matters is that you’re doing what’s best for you.

Do you feel like you are succeeding? Have you determined what success means to you?

2. It will keep you focused on your goalsCreed

If you stay focused on what you are doing, and your own journey, you will inevitably keep improving. Focus on your business goals will result in growing success.

The minute you take your eyes off your goal, you lose sight of why you started it all in the first place!

3. It will give your business the attention it deserves

Chrissy Teigen

Your competitors can be a great source of information. You can learn from them, but limit the time spent researching their movements and give your business your full attention.

Treat it as you would a romantic partner. If you give it all your love and attention, you will reap the rewards of a great business life!

Stay focused on what you want to accomplish in life, and strive to do better than the goals you have set for yourself.

Be your own best competition.