If you’ve progressed from the stage of literally being a one man business, you’ve probably started hiring staff. Finding good staff is a task in itself, but getting them to stay on board to ensure you don’t have an unnecessarily high turnover is going to take skill. Here are a few skills you need to manage your staff effectively.


  1. Interpersonal and relationship-building skills

This skill is probably the most important one you’ll need as without the ability to relate with different types of people, you’ll make a crappy manager. You have to be able to deal with each staff according to their varying personalities and needs as well as be able to build healthy and authentic relationships with them if you want positive results.

2.Communication Skills

Communication skills are essential as they’re the primary means of getting information across to your staff. You’ll need to ensure you can communicate in a way that is clear and concise as well as direct but not dictating. Make sure that you’re carrying everyone along and your written, verbal and non-verbal communication is coherent to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding. It is also pertinent to always remember to actively listen.

  1. Problem-solving

Whether you like it or not, problems will arise and you as a manager of the people must know how to deal with and resolve such problems. Always be pragmatic in your approach and solution focused. Also be confident as if you panic, employees lose confidence in you. Be diplomatic when proffering solutions and avoid outright favoritism and bias.


The point of hiring staff is assumedly to get people to do things that you can’t or don’t want to do, so if this is the case, why not allow them to actually do it? Some people aren’t so good at not being in control, however if you want to do a good job at managing, you’re going to have to learn to give people tasks and trust them to do it.


  1. Planning and strategy

In order to manage anything, you’re going to need a plan. The same applies to managing staff. You’ll need to look at planning meetings, evaluations, team building activities and any other elements you’ll need to ensure operations within the organization are seamless.


These 5 tips should get you on the right road to managing staff which is a vital part of a thriving business.


Entrepreneur in Focus: Mark Essien of Hotels.ng


The African business ecosystem is brimming with opportunities and you just need to find what works. However, not every market is a good one, so you need to be keen enough to spot the difference.” Mark Essien

Once upon a time, making money online was a distant dream, however in this digital age it is a dream that has come true for many. If you’re computer savvy and able to either solve a problem or provide people with content that is educational, entertaining, or informative, you could build the business of your dreams right from your laptop. Mark Essien has fallen into the above category by doing the same thing that all of our entrepreneurs in focus have done; solved a problem and met a need. If you haven’t already heard of the success known as Hotels.ng, it is an online hotel booking agency that has managed to collate the numerous hotels in Nigeria enabling people to make reservations online.

Born and raised in Akwa Ibom, 31 year old Mark picked up his fascination with engineering from watching his dad build various machines growing up. He eventually went on to study Computer Engineering/Robotics in Germany. While working, he learnt programming and developed a file sharing company. After finalizing his studies, he decided to return to Nigeria after his studies to build Hotels.ng to fill the gap in the market for online hotel booking.

The first amount of funding they were able to source was $250,000 in seed funding from Jason Njoku’s spark in 2013 with which he used to grow the platforms hotel listings and expand their customer base. It has recently secured an investment of $1.2m from international investors EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund, a seed-stage technology fund, and Omidyar Network, the investment vehicle of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Hotels.ng makes money by charging hotels referral fees and making commission on each booking. Mark made the Forbes list of 30 youngest entrepreneurs in Africa in 2015 so we know that we can definitely learn a thing or two from him! Are top takes from Mark’s journey are;

-Taking time out to plan

-Finding funding when you cannot do it alone

-Mastering you skill

-Being consistent I your approach

It’s always great to see Nigerians use their skills to fill a gap in the market an owning it. Seeing as he’s employed over 100 people now, it’s also encouraging to see the job creation that arises from their entrepreneurial ventures which creates opportunities for young, bight and promising Nigerians.

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