I have wondered it myself…is the U.S. destined to relive the same tragic ends as the Roman or Soviet Empires? With the growth of other countries’ GDPs potentially overtaking that of the U.S., does our national debt erode our own GDP? In a recent Forbes article, Teresa Ghilarducci notes that the size of our current rising national debt (currently at 105% of GDP) is not the real issue, but rather the type of debt that is rising. She argues “Good debt (such as building schools, infrastructure, etc.) makes us richer [, but] Bad debt (such as is used to cut taxes for corporate stock buybacks and affluent household spending) makes us poorer.” During our country’s present expansion, our debt should be falling and not rising. A falling National Debt prepares us for the next recession and its recovery.
What can save us? Successful entrepreneurial activities! Entrepreneurs create wealth where none existed before, don’t cost taxpayers any money, and the Government doesn’t have to create the businesses. Taking innovation from concept to profitable business is a driving factor in creating new economic energy in any country. But although innovations abound, only 5% of the 750,000 U.S. patents issued in 2017 were brought to market. In an opinion article published in The Washington Times, “A Way Out of the National Debt” Mitzi Perdue looks at how Gallup’s new Builder Profile 10 (BP10) Assessment can help entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs understand their innate Builder Talents and motivation to fuel their business success, spurring the U.S. out of its National Debt dilemma.
Like the CliftonStrengths/StrengthsFinder Assessment, Gallup created the BP10 Assessment tool to chart each individual’s ranked value of 10 different successful Builder Talents. It also gives us insight into the role that an individual might play on a start-up team. Talents such as Profitability, Confidence, Determination, Selling and Risk tend to equate with the CEO role (Rainmaker), while talents such as Delegator, Independence and Relationship are generally used with the COO-type roles (Conductor). If you are a solopreneur, you might find that your mix of talents runs the spectrum in each role, but you will likely find that you will need outside consultants to help you attain some of the goals of your company, at least until you start scaling. But, unlike the CliftonStrengths/StrengthsFinder Talents, business Builders must account for all 10 BP10 Talents to have a successful business. Gallup also packages the Assessment with eight additional Tools that help Builders create self-awareness, recognize opportunities, activate on their ideas, and build their teams.
In Gallup’s research and as Perdue states in her article, early identification and education of specially gifted young entrepreneurs are key for building their Builder Talents as they grow, just as the STEM community identified and educated specially gifted students in Grades 8 – 12 beginning in the 1990s. Early identification and mentorship for young, high-potential entrepreneurs will help us tame our national debt and GDP woes in the future. But how can we help existing entrepreneurs now? Data for 2014 published in The Wall Street Journal shows the disparate ages of small business owners at startup:
- Ages 50-88 Percentage of Startups: 51%
- Ages 36-49 Percentage of Startups: 33%
- Ages 35 and Under Percentage of Startups: 16%
While nurturing young, high-potential entrepreneurs will likely change this picture in the future, the point is that people start businesses at any age and business Builders of all ages can use the help that Gallup’s BP10 provides. I am counted as part of the 51% stat and I will tell you that I needed the help of Gallup’s BP10 to understand the good attributes that I bring to my business, as well as those things I fall short on – all of which are needed for business success. In reading my individualized BP10 reports, I found that I needed a partner for sales and marketing, and retaining profitability – a Rainmaker. But I also found that I have great talents in Determination, Independence, Relationship, and being a Disruptor – things that I can focus on to make my business excel even further, as long as I have fixed my Profitability talent appropriately.
As CliftonStrengths/StrengthsFinder’s Don Clifton asked: “What will happen when we think about what is right with people rather than fixating on what is wrong with them?” which became the impetus for the Strengths movement, now, let’s turn the phrase a little: “What will happen when we think about what is right with entrepreneurial Builders, instead of what is wrong with them?” Will I focus on those things that are in my lower talents when I build my business? No – but I will definitely find ways to manage around them by gaining either knowledge, skills sets, or a partner who is capable in the areas I lack.
Unfortunately, the stats on business start-ups and their failures are rather dismal – while 9% of all American businesses close each year, only 8% are opened (Gallup, 2014). What would happen if we changed this narrative? What if we could help business Builders succeed by knowing their innate talents and weaknesses and then helping them find ways to navigate against these odds by using BP10 Coaching? This could change the fabric of the World’s economy. I so believe in the abilities of Gallup’s BP10 and its eight Tools to change this story that I became a BP10 Coach to help fuel this initiative.
Using Gallup’s BP10 Assessment to strengthen existing business Builders now is some of the best work that we can do to create economic growth in a nearer term, while we are creating the infrastructure to build younger entrepreneurs’ abilities at the Jr. and Sr. High School levels. For current business owners and leadership teams, figuring out where they are strong, as well as where they are weak, will help them navigate the challenges of building profitable businesses and exceptional teams. This also allows these current business Builders to become awesome role models and mentors for that next generation of Builders coming up through the school systems – an added bonus! BP10 fuels Business Builders, who fuel their Companies to succeed, which fuels the Economy, which fuels GDP and reduces National Debt, which fuels the World. We don’t want any country to follow the demise of the Roman Empire! Gallup’s BP10 can help start this upswing.