Is it not interesting that we spend majority of our time studying other people, reading about other people and then pay little attention to ourselves? Are you aware that you are the most important product of your business? Studying about others that inspire you, others doing amazing things in your industry, is definitely valuable. But I believe you should spend a considerable amount of time studying your most important product; you. Why? Getting to know yourself is your path to freedom. It liberates you as you start to identify your strengths and become aware of your shortcomings.
I mean, why do you want to be like the next Aliko Dangote or Jeff Bezos when you are wired differently? Why do you want to keep sitting in a cubicle of an office in an organisation that is shutting down all your big bold ideas when you are built for innovating global solutions? And if you are wired differently but determined to be the next “one of those aforementioned guys,” then you want to have your answers as you dig in and investigate your most important product of all, you.
Knowing your shortcomings, and using it to your advantage as you will have to look within is one of the positives of doing a self-assessment audit. You can then adapt to who you want to become. Not everyone wants to be the next Aliko, or Musk. And that is fine. While others are clinching their fist determined to be the next business tycoon on the front cover of Forbes magazine.
A good friend recently sent me a WhatsApp message and part of it read “build a business. Nobody becomes very wealthy as an employee. Do not be fooled by the motivational talk of your boss. Lol.” Problem with statements such as this is that someone built to function in a structured system will read this wrong and then hit a brick wall in the quest to becoming “very wealthy as an entrepreneur in the market place.” Satya Nadella is worth over $350 million (about Shakira’s net worth) dollars while Ebenezer Onyeagwu, CEO of Zenith Bank basic salary as of 2021 was $553,000 dollars. How many entrepreneurs or composers of such WhatsApp chain messages are worth or earn that much that you know?
Please be discerning and sift what applies to you per time. Good news is that your entrepreneurial inclinations will not be stagnant. It evolves overtime. For me, the ultimate destination you should aim for is purpose. It is also misleading to attribute entrepreneurship to just building wealth alone. Some people do it for significance, history, impact, service, or being an instrument for change.
We are all wired differently. And like leadership, entrepreneurship skills are not innate. You can learn these skills if you invest time in getting to figure out who we are. Then you can decide who we want to become. There are people that are comfortable working on their own. No structures, no employees, just them. They are called Solopreneurs. Like entrepreneurs they identify a problem and look for solutions. For example, a freelance graphic artist who has several agencies on a retainer. His tools are his expertise, software packages, a laptop, data, and his registered business. An introvert but incredibly talented graphic artist, he is simply fine with his current status. His fees are just enough to sort out his bills and some extras.
And then you have the Intrapreneur. These are people that think and act like owners. They get uncomfortable with the status quo. They build a new business, lead a new initiative, grow new revenue streams, and figure out incentives that reward them for generating growth and bringing innovation. And when they do it well, they become indispensable, and in some cases, the company offers them equity to keep them around or reward them accordingly.
Entrepreneurs on their own part, found and build businesses, assume all the risk like hiring people, acquiring equipment, sourcing for funds, building systems. From Jeff Bezos, Innocent Chukwuma to Mike Adenuga, the list goes on. Entrepreneurship may have the biggest financial reward, but it also has the most casualties. Which brings us to examining who you are so you can find the path that suits you.
For clarity purposes, this is for you if you are still deciding on your path or contemplating leaving a job to start a business. Or you have started a business but currently anticipating going back to work and the only thing holding you back is shame. I want you to see that with the right company, becoming an Intrapreneur may be the right path for you. Perhaps you are running your own company and would love to attract and reward Intrapreneurs that would help build growth. Or you could even be a Solopreneur and you are starting to realize this path is not sustainable in the long term.
You also want to choose a path that puts the odds of winning in your favour. Therefore, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses and identify a market you will have an inherent advantage. As a Solopreneur, you can only go as far. It is not a sustainable plan. If intrapreneurship sounds like a plan, then you need to be very strategic. And if you are going to be an entrepreneur or stay as one, you need to be ready to face the highs and lows of managing business ventures. Here are a few things you can start doing right away.
- Pay attention to Self-awareness
- Get feedback regularly & act accordingly
- Be discerning (Not everything you read or hear is meant for you)
- Use your pain for gain
- Focus on the now (the most successful entrepreneurs have mastered the art of balancing focusing on the now and future opportunities).
- Start building your interpersonal skills (nothing built to last is executed alone).
Lastly, I encourage you fill this self-audit form so that you can begin to understand how you are currently wired and how to conquer shortcomings that may be holding you back. The key to this activity is to be very honest. “To thine self, be true.” This is not about finishing it quickly to catch the Liverpool game. Or about getting a perfect score to boost your ego. The goal is for you to reflect and make the session become a catalyst to enabling a breakthrough for you. Once you have completed the audit, urge others to do the same. Nothing beats achieving a life breakthrough and inviting others to do the same.