Name: Ruka Sanusi
Business: Alldens Lane
City, Country: Accra, Ghana, and Lagos, Nigeria
Website URL: http://www.alldenslane.com/
Ruka Sanusi is a must-know name for any up-and-coming African entrepreneur, particularly women entrepreneurs and CEOs. The owner of Allden’s Lane – a boutique business strategy, consulting and coaching services firm – she is a business savant with over 20 years of experience in international consulting with premium clients within multiple business sectors and across the continent. Based in Ghana but operating also in Lagos, Nigeria, Alldens Lanehas a unique focus on providing executive and business coaching to female entrepreneurs in Africa’s small and growing business sector. Through Alldens Lane, Ruka provides women in business with business direction, balanced support and thought provoking business performance and growth analytics, from which they can grow and transform their businesses – and their lives.
Ruka’s bravery in leaving a high level position in a global organisation to pursue her own personal vision is a story that truly inspires us. We were curious about her startup journey and how she continues to break boundaries and glass ceilings for herself and other African women entrepreneurs and CEOs. We sat with Ruka to dig deeper into her personal and professional story.
- Ruka tell us a bit about you. Was there any significant event in your past that has shaped your life and career choices?
My parents always advised us to offer the world our best, to make something of our own lives and leverage our education for good. This has stuck with me since childhood and been a great guiding light.
- What are you most proud of?
Having the courage to leave a successful career with a notable global corporation to pursue a personal aspiration was a major step for me. It has been a journey of personal growth and I am definitely proud for taking that first step, even when I could not see the entire staircase.
How did you come up with the idea to start your business? Was there an “ah-ha” moment when you launched your company?
I was constantly approached by female friends who ran their own businesses for strategic support and advice on how to operate and grow their firms using international best practice. Though professional and well-educated, with some of these women having previously worked with high profile corporations themselves, their businesses were often founded on a passion or a hobby, and they lacked the requisite business management and operations skills to really leap frog their businesses. It was always a hard slog for them – with the initial flame and joy of starting a business rapidly receding.
And therein was the ‘ah-ha’ moment.
I realized there was an opportunity to offer business advisory support, business coaching services and executive thought leadership events to small and growing businesses run by professional women entrepreneurs.
The fact is that because many of these women had previously worked with notable corporations,they are au fait with the whole ecosystem of advisory services and executive events etc. They understood well the notion of professionalism and international best practice. They knew that they needed capable support, but they just could not afford to procure those services from the available established and expensive professional services firms. They needed and wanted the comparable quality of business advisory support, but focused on their small and growing business needs and their smaller budgets.
- Give us some insight on how you raised investments and funds to start and grow your business (self-funded, loans, grants, investor etc).
The simple answer is bootstrapping – from my savings and investments. As is the case with many people growing their businesses, it takes a massive amount of personal financial investment to fuel your vision.
- What are the biggest barriers to women-owned business in your country? Do you think the attitude toward female entrepreneurs is changing in your country?
The face of business leadership is changing – there is now more acceptance of women as business leaders across the globe and Africa is no exception. As women we need to demonstrate that our business leadership is meritorious and impactful on industry, stakeholders and society at large.
- What advice would you give to women in your country who are interested in starting a business (Resources? Tips? Tools? Services etc)
Don’t be lazy about preparatory work. Spend some time thinking deeply and strategically about your business, your business why, who you will serve, how you will serve them and with what kind of staff, third party suppliers, and at what price.
- What’s the best advice you’ve been given that has stuck with you?
Live a purpose driven life – be transformational as opposed to merely transactional.
- What have you learned from your success and failure that you’ve experienced during your business?
Both success and failure can be momentary and, as any business evolves, it will experience both success and failures. That is just a fact of life. The key is to focus on the why, the transformational power of your business and have this as a driving force in how you lead and operate your business, so that success can be impactful and sustainable, as opposed to transitory. This is what the most successful businesses have been able to achieve.
- How do you see your business evolving in five years?
I envision Alldens Lane having Africa-wide reach and impact, providing a wide range of products and services that creatively and dependably support professional women entrepreneurs and growing businesses across the continent.