Having noticed the struggles new business owners face in the business world, Tolani Thomas-Allinson decided to launch Halisi Consults which has been able to help over 200+ small businesses to grow and thrive through her business plan services. Let’s read up on her success story!
Tell us about yourself
My name is Tolani Thomas-Allinson. I am the Director at Halisi Consults. Halisi Consults is a Business Development Consulting company and our goal is to help small businesses and startups to launch, grow and thrive through our business plan services and our marketing services as well as our investor readiness services we have been able to do so for over 200+ businesses to date. My interests are: I like to work out, network, and meet people as well. I’m very passionate about growing my businesses and helping businesses in Nigeria grow as well.
What does your Business do and it started?
Halisi Consults is a Business Development Consulting company, we help small businesses, startups and medium-sized enterprises to launch, grow and thrive through our business plan services, our marketing services and our investor readiness services. We have done it successfully for over 200+ businesses. I started the business because I saw that there was a problem with businesses getting started. A lot of new businesses don’t have help and according to research a lot of small businesses start and in 5 years they fail, so I started the consulting business to combat this problem and help businesses grow beyond the 5-year mark that they have been given and we have successfully done that for over 200+ businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, India, UK, US, Dubai, UAE as well. We have helped businesses that are scattered all over the globe essentially and we have been doing that for 5 years now. I realized that small businesses need as much help as they can get and a lot of consulting businesses are focused on the big (corporate) businesses and there were not a lot of people helping small businesses at the time when I started. So that’s the reason why I started the business. That’s why we are here today.
How do you solve your client’s challenges?
We solve our client’s challenges by providing them with the necessary tools that they need to grow their business, providing them with the necessary tools that they need to raise funding or talk to investors or materials that they can send to investors. So we help them with business plans, financial models, pitch decks and also intros to financial organizations that can fund their business. We also help them with marketing strategy, marketing campaigns and lead-generation activities that can help them get more clients as well. This is how we solve our client’s challenges.
Who are your ideal customers?
Our ideal clients are growing businesses, start-ups and medium-sized enterprises. We help them through our different services like our business plans, financial models and investor readiness essentially. We are industry agnostic, we work with a wide range of different industries from agriculture to aviation to fintech to fashion etc. We have had over 200+ clients in these different industries. Our ideal clients are entrepreneurs growing a business, trying to launch a business and wanting their business to do better.
Can you describe/outline your typical day?
My typical day: I wake up in the morning, I read my bible and I pray. If it’s a gym day ( I go to the gym about 3 to 4 times a week), I go to the gym as early as 6:30 am. I come back and get ready for the day. My work daily starts at 8:30 am/9.00 am. I look at what I have to do for the day or what the business objectives are for the day and assign them to my team members, if is a marketing-focused day, consulting-focused day or administrative-focused day, I assign tasks that need to be done to different team members. I have meetings with clients/investors till late in the evening and I close by 6 pm. Right now I’m working from home in London but when I’m in Lagos, I work from the office, 3 days a week and 2 days from home. That’s typically how my ideal day goes. Client meetings, meeting with staff, a little workout, and prayer in the morning. I like to live a well-balanced work life.
How has been an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Being an entrepreneur has improved my family life because I choose my hours and it also gives me the room to be able to attend to anything that is going on and essentially be able to balance work and life.
Being an entrepreneur has helped me create more balance between my family life and work.
Being an entrepreneur is just like any other job, but with being an entrepreneur, you are answering to yourself and you make your schedule, so it is really up to you how you want to balance work and life. So being an entrepreneur has made it very easy for me to balance my family life with work.
What motivates you?
Several things motivate me. First of all, I’m very motivated to help make a difference in the Nigerian business landscape by helping businesses launch, grow and also thrive in their business. I’m also very motivated by giving back; helping businesses, being able to effect change, see change and add value to these businesses.
I’m also motivated by the women that have gone before me. Women like Ibukun Awosika, Folorunsho Alakija, Oby Ifejika and so on. These women inspire me to do more every day. I’m constantly inspired by those who have gone ahead of me like I said and I’m doing my best to also be a motivation to other women that are coming after me as well. Being able to drive change, being able to impact lives, being able to impact businesses and adding value at different levels are my motivating factors.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is unfulfilled potential. What bothers me the most and keeps me up at night is that I’m not living my life to my fullest potential and I’m not making the best of the season that I am in because life is in seasons, you need to understand where you are in life and how you can make the best of the season you are in to be able to progress to the next level or next stage of your life.
How do you define success?
Success is defined by being able to make an impact and being able to make a difference in the lives of the people that work with you, that live with you, the lives of your family, the lives of the clients that you have, the lives of the business owners that you work with.
Success for me is fulfilling potential, you see that you are capable of doing something and you go for it and accomplish it, that to me is a success.
It’s not necessarily money or awards or position.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
My favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur is being able to add value and be able to have an idea and make a move towards that idea and see the idea grow. Being able to start from just ground zero literally and build up something that impacts lives and is changing people’s lives, and people’s businesses everywhere. My other favourite part about being an entrepreneur; it doesn’t hurt that there is no limit to how much money you can make, you decide your destiny, you decide to invent yourself, invent this business idea and make the best of it and grow it to a point that you never imagined
If you had the chance to start your career all over again, what could you do differently?
If I could start my career all over again, the only thing I would do differently is probably not to spend as much time second-guessing my business ideas because the only way to test if your business idea is great is by actually going into the market and executing that business idea. So if I were to start my career all over again, I would spend less time second guessing myself and doubting that it will be successful and just believe in the strength of the idea and go for it and be more courageous than as crazy as an idea sounds, so long as there is a market for it and there is an audience for it, and customers are willing to pay for it, you should just go for it. These are the things I would change.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
The top three skills an entrepreneur needs to have are these:
1. People skills: A lot of people underrate them but people skills are so important because they will help you;
– First, motivate your team,
– Second, convince your customers,
– Third, it will help you manage tricky situations.
If you have people skills you will be good at sales which is very important as an entrepreneur because you need to be the first salesperson in your business before you hire a team
2. Accounting skills. You need to understand your numbers. You need to have good accounting skills, if you don’t understand your numbers or if you don’t have good accounting skills, please as soon as possible, hire someone who does because is very important as you are growing your business that you are not running at a loss and you are not overspending on certain things or having leakages etc in your business.
3. Self-belief: It is more like an intrinsic skill and is not really a hard skill. You have to have self-belief. A lot of entrepreneurs struggle to believe in the strength of their ideas and it is natural because we are all humans but as an entrepreneur, you have to have self-belief because that is what will carry you through the hard times and carry you through executing your business ideas and growing your business as well.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
This may sound very conceited but my greatest inspiration is me because it’s just very exciting to see how far I can go, how much I can accomplish, how much change I can bring about and how much value I can add and it has been an interesting journey so far, being able to make a change in organizations, make a change in businesses and lives of the entrepreneurs that we work with and just seeing our goals manifesting is an amazing feeling. So I’ll say my biggest inspiration is being able to see the future and being able to implement things that create the future I want and that inspires me every day when I wake up knowing that I can make strategic decisions and execute a plan and a new future will be upon us, that inspires me to go for it every day.
What advice would you give to people who want to become entrepreneurs?
The best advice I can give to anyone that wants to become an entrepreneur is to, first of all, do your research on the idea, test the market, and try to get a couple of customers first of all before you quit your day job and give up everything to become an entrepreneur because as much as a lot of businesses succeed, we don’t hear enough about the failures and I think that confuses people and gives a wrong perception of what it is to be an entrepreneur. Do your research first, and understand that there is a market for this thing that I’m selling. Before you take the big leap, research, implement, and test out for six months before you leave your day job to become an entrepreneur and if you don’t have a support system, please look for one. Join networking groups, join societies that can take you through the motions, that can encourage you in your downtimes and also help you with introductions to clients, and things like that. So just make sure that you are prepared for whatever may come and also make sure that the business idea that you have, has already been validated before you make any drastic changes. So that’s what I would say to anyone that wants to be an entrepreneur today.
What is your favourite book?
I read about two books monthly. One of the books that I have read recently which is a timeless classic for entrepreneurs is HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE by Dale Carnegie. It is a really interesting book and I think that everyone that is trying to start a business or anyone that is trying to build a career should read it. Another book to read that is great is ATOMIC HABITS. I always talk about this book, in fact, I actually gave out this book to a few people recently and it is a great book to read. Another great book to read is ZERO TO ONE by Peter Thiel, another great book to read as well as PSYCHOLOGY OF MONEY. I read a lot of business books so I can go on and on about different business books that I think you should read as an entrepreneur just to get yourself in the game.
If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?
If I was to write a book about myself, it would be called FINDING PURPOSE AND BALANCE. I think that perfectly defines my journey till date because my starting Halisi Consults was essentially me finding purpose in being able to help entrepreneurs launch and grow and also balancing it all is me being focused on having a balanced life that is balanced between work and life.
Please share the contact details you wish to be made public
Anyone that wants to reach me can send a DM to me on my Instagram page @tolanithomas. I’m happy to talk to any entrepreneur that wants to connect.