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Modupeola Adenji : Must-Have Skills for Entrepreneurs in 2024

Modupeola Adenji, MD /CEO TEM Nigeria.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what got you into entrepreneurship?

I am a wife and mother as well as a trained lawyer.

I have always been entrepreneurial at heart, which has led me to delve into various ventures over the years. I remember when I was working almost 20 years ago in an oil and gas where I was dubbed "iya laje" (business woman) because of how they saw me do various businesses at the time.

One of my collegues who owns his oil and gas firm today told me he chose to set up his firm because of how I encouraged him them.

He had 3 daughters and at the time and whenever we closed he would go straight home and wait for his pay at the end of the month. He said I stopped him one day after work and said to him, "how are you going to keep up with 3 children without extra income?" He was quite a brilliant man by the way...he didn't respond. He said, I laughed and told him, "your salary isn't going to do much for you with a wife and 3 children. You need to network, go out and find can do it" and we spoke about the business and how to start it and today , I believe he is doing quite well.

The funny thing is...I can't remember that conversation.

I appreciate talent and love to see results which I think sometimes make me appear impatient.

I think I got the trait from my mom. I saw how she would see business opportunities in almost any situation and pursue them I'd she thought it was viable.

What are the top three skills you think are crucial for entrepreneurs today?

Tenacity , productive and result oriented.

How do you think the role of technology has impacted these skills in recent years?

The role of technology has significantly impacted tenacity and a result-oriented mindset by providing tools and resources that enable individuals to track progress, analyze data, and optimize strategies. Technology allows for quicker feedback loops, access to vast amounts of information, and the ability to collaborate remotely, all of which can foster resilience and drive toward achieving goals. Overall, technology has reshaped the way people approach goals, emphasizing efficiency and adaptability in the pursuit of success.

But the thing have to be personally own these skills. Technology will not work itself..we have to be apply ourselves and have the will to achieve our goals with the use of technology

Could you share a story with us about how you used some of these skills to overcome a challenge in your journey?

I remember when I wanted to start TEM Nigeria, and I wanted to partner with an industry expert. I contacted a UK company, one of the leading experts in the business, and I was told "no" over and over. I kept at it because I knew their expertise was needed to deliver at the level I wanted .

Many people told me to start without them.. even the UK company told me after some time that they had been warned via various communications not to do business with Nigerians.

Anyways, fast forward 10 years. Instead of going to the Uk this time, I decided to fly in their MD and show him what sort of opportunities we had in Nigeria. I took him around Lagos and had him visit banks, law firms, hotels and other offices, etc, to see that we run structured legitimate organisations back here.

He signed our franchise agreement after the 3rd day of that visit, and here we are.

I was later told by one of their senior executives a few months into our partnership that one of the reasons they chose to work with me out of all others was my tenacity.

In your opinion, how important is it for entrepreneurs to adapt to changing trends and what do you see as the biggest trend in 2024?

It is extremely key and that is why one of my favourite books is "Good to Great" by Jim Collins just have to go with the times.. innovation is key.

Also, sustainability and social responsibility are becoming increasingly important to consumers, so businesses that prioritize environmental and social impact are being embraced globally especially with the Sustainable Development Goals by the United


What's one common mistake you often see new entrepreneurs make, and how can they avoid it?

No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. I still make mistakes but learn from them. I would say hiring the wrong person is a mistake even the big corporations make as well.

Some people look excellent on paper and can't deliver on the job, which frustrates the growth and productivity of any business.

The greatest assest of a company is not just the team or staff as they say but the right team.

How do you keep learning and growing as an entrepreneur?

I am no where near where I want to be which means the opportunity for me to keep learning is still there.

You need to keep an open mind to be willing to learn as you grow. Take risks..not careless ones .Read and listen. Know how to deduce what makes sense and what doesn't..there is a lot of noise out there.

I recently had a conversation with someone and I learnt one needs to be mindful of choosing what sort of work you choose to engage in as you grow.

Not all transactions are for you even if it profitable. As you grow you need to determine your path and stick to it. Choose your path and distinguish yourself such that you make a name for yourself. I am still learning..

Finally, what advice would you give to someone just starting their entrepreneurial journey in 2024?

It's not easy. Nigeria, especially today, is more difficult than ever, but all you need to do is start. The most successful people I know today did not have it easy starting their journey. But guess what, the experiences and challenges have moulded them and pushed them to where they are today.


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