Many times people think that unleashing their entrepreneurial spirit requires stepping out on their own. Wrong! You can do it right in the workplace and become an “intrapreneur.” Troy Nash, a United States Air Force veteran, is the first African-American principal at the top commercial real estate firm in Kansas City’s history. Newmark Grubb Zimmer is a leading commercial real estate firm in the world.
Passionate about education, Nash earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics, a master’s in political science, a joint J.D./M.B.A. from the UMKC Bloch School of Business and School of Law, and a Ph.D. in education from St. Louis University.
He has been able to advance in his career, from success as a city councilman; serving on the board of directors for entities such as People to People International and Arvest Bank, a $14 billion financial institution; as a gubernatorial appointee to the $2.2 billion Missouri Housing Development Commission; and as a developer for a $3 billion project in the Kansas City region—Village West, the largest tourist attraction in the state of Kansas, Sprint’s Worldwide Headquarters, and most recently the $1.3 billion facility for the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Below, Nash shares eight key actions that have helped in his climb:
1. Strenthen skills: We are all born with natural talent. It is up to each of us to cultivate that talent. The responsibility lies within each of us to reach for the top regardless of your camp.
2. Face fears: Do not be afraid to fail. Many people allow “could” to keep them imprisoned by mediocrity. Rely on your instincts and inner voice. Excuses are the sound of noise. You may not see how to get there, but you have to keep climbing.
3. Climb with purpose: You have to climb with a clear head. It is important to control what you see and hear. What goes into your mind will come out of your mouth. Do not listen to the naysayers. Success starts in your mind. Wealth is produced by your mind. Commit to lifelong learning to improve your business and your skills.
4. Innovate: Sure they are watching you as you climb the ladder. However, the people who are watching are passive. You must actively pursue your career and business. It is important to always do your best. Be open to discover new processes and ways to win. More importantly, understand what success looks like to you. That is why the ladder is invisible—because it is formed and fashioned by each person.
5. Be prepared: Take time to research your target market. Understand what your internal and external customers require. Go to your meeting prepared. You need to know as much as possible so you can serve the customer. Everyone has a customer! Show up and be on time. Your actions are speaking and displaying respect or a lack of respect. The details matter when your focus is on being at the top of the ladder. Respect people and they will take you seriously.
6. Expand education: Preparation through education is invaluable. Whatever your level of education, seek to attain an even greater certifiable level. Knowledge makes you sharp and sets you apart–there’s no getting around it.
7. Develop a broader perspective: Seize the opportunity to look past your own parameters of comfort to the wider world. Cultivate your thinking by exposing yourself to travel, by networking across industries and across cultures.
8. Consider community: Never lose sight of the opportunity to proactively build up the communities that build you. Volunteer your time and your service corporately and individually. Share your time, influence, and mentorship. Help others reach their goals.
Marquita Miller is the founder and CEO of Five Star Tax and Business Solutions — a full-service accounting firm in Kansas City, Missouri. A small business expert contributor on CBS & FOX morning shows, Miller is a published author, business strategist, motivational speaker, and well-known advocate of entrepreneurship. A recipient of Kansas City’s Influential Woman and Woman Who Means Business award, Miller is also a conference speaker and workshop facilitator for TD Jakes Ministries. www.marquitamiller.com. Twitter:@MarquitaMMiller www.facebook.com/MarquitaMMiller