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Lessons From Nigeria’s Tara Fela-Durotoye

“House of Tara” has become more of a household name in today’s Nigeria; especially with the numbers of amazing trusted beauty products that have come from their space in recent times.
The woman behind the great work, Tara Fela-Durotoye, is a pioneer in the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria.

In fact, TFD (as she is fondly called) is a woman of many firsts, including creating the first bridal directory in 1999 and establishing the first makeup school in Nigeria. She has graced many workshops, seminars and conferences and organized many as well, for entrepreneurs new to the game to learn. Hence, she has become a go-to person in Nigeria and African as a whole for the mentorship of entrepreneurs. Hers is a story that shows the beauty of starting new things or doing something that no one has ever done; within your sphere.
Today, We have 5 proven tips we have learnt from her story and we bring it to all entrepreneurs and in fact, everyone hoping to start a business.

Here are 5 things entrepreneurs can learn from her:

1. Don’t be afraid to start a new thing: At the time TFD started, bridal makeup was not yet what it is today. It wasn’t even close. As a matter of fact, there were several people who didn’t see why it should be paid for, after all, “is it not just make up”? Yet, she persevered, and the more jobs she did (some even for free) the more referrals she got, and today she’s more than just a makeup artist. So don’t give up.

2. Don’t underestimate the value of a structured environment: It’s great to be in business and make money. However, creating budgets and putting accounting systems and software in place is important as well. This includes the payment vouchers for petty cash and the likes, as doing things this way helped House of Tara to thrive. As your small business grows, look into creating departments to handle HR, Business Development, Branding, Accounting, etc.

3. Don’t stop learning:  Tara is a woman who never stops learning. She has taken several courses to equip herself as an entrepreneur and help her business, including the Owner-Managers program at Lagos Business School which shaped the direction of her business and helped her come up with a mission statement for her business and create systems and structures. She has also taken several courses outside the country. However, learning doesn’t always have to be in a classroom. She is also an avid reader.

4. Invest in people: Many entrepreneurs often worry about training their staff because they might leave, with the training! But the alternative is building a business with untrained staff. That isn’t a wise thing to do. In fact, wise entrepreneurs know which of these risks to take. Regular staff training sessions have helped Tara expand her business since the result is having people who not only buy into the vision but have the requisite skills to handle an expansion.

5. Prepare for your exit:  No serious entrepreneur is building a company that will die without them. An exit strategy is necessary, and, Like Genevieve Magazine’s Betty Irabor, Tara Fela-Durotoye is training successors. In the beginning, all she had was the makeup bag she took to brides’ homes to do their makeup, and then she opened her store. From a single store with 5 employees, House of Tara now has 15 branches and over 80 employees.

No matter how tough it looks, you have to start doing the right things from where you are.

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