When entrepreneurs start a business, the majority would think about developing a great product or service, ensuring that it is known in the market, exploring how this will generate an income, seeing how the business will grow and sustain its profitability from these products and services, hiring the right people etc. All of these are some of the typical fundamentals that an entrepreneur considers in order to build their business. When you look at some of these; they are all talking to the functions of the business; such as marketing, finance, human resources amongst many others. All of these are critical fundamentals to consider when starting any business with a good foundation.
However, there is one important fundamental that should be considered when an entrepreneur builds a business and that is: ‘’how to do you as an entrepreneur grow yourself to ensure that you remain an asset to your business?’’ sometimes this gets completely ignored. Although this is important; personal growth is often ignored in the process of building a business and may not be considered as a critical aspect of building a solid growing business.
Many might say that finances are the backbone of the business and cash flow the life blood of the business. I believe that the entrepreneur is the ‘’engine’’ of the business. This principle has been practiced many times, when potential investors want to invest in the business; they often say that they do not only look at the potential and performance of the business; what is important to them is the entrepreneur behind that business. This is where the saying: ‘’Bet on the jockey (entrepreneur) not the horse (the business/idea/product)’’ stems from.
As an entrepreneur, you are the most important part of the vehicle called your ‘’business’’, you are the engine that determines the destination of business, its performance, its speed, its effectiveness etc. In all vehicles, the engine is the most valuable asset and without it, the vehicle is worthless and nothing moves. The performance of this vehicle is determined by the quality of its engine and the quality of the engine is determined by how well it’s maintained. Therefore, personal growth can be seen as the process of maintaining the engine of the business as the most critical fundamental in the business. There are three critical things that every entrepreneur should consider to ensure that they remain a valuable asset to their business:
1. Gain an in-depth understanding of who you are
The process of personal growth starts with you getting a good understanding of who you are. This will enable you to know exactly what you bring to your business to make it a success and what you may bring to the business that could become a barrier to its growth. Self-Awareness refers to conscious knowledge of one’s own character, values, strengths, talents, capabilities, vision and desires. Successful entrepreneurs have a good understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and know how to master who they are and harness their inner strengths. This brings tremendous value to the business as the entrepreneur is able to align what the business requires with their strengths and to bring in others in their areas of weakness.
It’s important for every entrepreneur to know that the business resembles the character of the entrepreneur; therefore you need to know what character traits could create a barrier for the growth of the business and which ones would result in exponential growth for your business. If you want your business to succeed, you need to start the process of knowing and understanding yourself.
This can be done using different methods from formal to informal methods:
- You can do a 360 assessment of yourself by asking key people who know you well to give you feedback such as colleagues, clients, family, friends etc.
- There are various profiling tests available online which you can take to assess yourself.
- Spending quiet time regularly to connect with yourself to run through some of the things you are great at and those that require improvement.
- Seeing a mentor or coach is tremendously valuable in the self-awareness process.
2. Set personal development targets
When you know yourself well you are able to identify which areas require outsourcing, improvement, enhancement or advancement. In order for you to start the process of actively growing the most important asset in the business; you need to set development targets which will also incorporate the process you will embark on to develop yourself.
For example, you may know that you have poor people skills and as a result you lose your temper when dealing with difficult clients. You need to review this and decide whether this aspect of the business can be outsourced, improved, enhanced or advanced. If the nature of your business requires that you speak to clients daily, you may need to outsource the function to someone with good people skills. Therefore the goal might be: to find a Client liaison employee with great people skills. Should this not be an option for your business, you may need to improve this aspect of yourself and in this case the goal might be to attend communication classes.
3. Measure your personal growth
‘’What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get done’’~ Unknown. Every month you would review the performance of your business by looking at your income, your expenses, your profit, your cash flow, how much tax you have to pay etc. All of this is done to assess how your business is performing against your targets and this process is crucial to the sustainability of the business. It is also important for you to measure your personal growth against the personal development goals you would have set for yourself, to ensure that you are on the right track. Remembering that you too are an important asset to the business, measuring your personal growth would give you an idea of how far you are from reaching your targets and how much of an asset you are to your business.
It is important to always remember that as an entrepreneur, you are the most valuable asset in the business and the business will not go further than where you are at. Your personal growth plays a significant role in the success of your business. If you would like to see your business succeed, the process starts with you constantly asking yourself: ‘’I am an asset to my business?’’