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We have just one more article to go in this series: 'Business and Life Mistakes to Avoid.' The series has continued to attract interesting feedbacks, especially from those who have been able to track it online at We hope the ones we are treating to day would also help you to avoid potholes and landmines in your business and life adventures. Someone once said that experience ( your own experience) is not the best teacher. I agree with him. There are some experiences that the victims may not live to appropriate. Message: Let the experiences of others be your teachers. It is better.

Mistake 14
I went to my first financial mentor a shortly before he travelled to his new base abroad, to give him updates on a few things. We discussed extensively on many issues, but the one that attracted his attention had to do with how an individual should calculate his worth when entering into business arrangements. I saw that he was very agitated. He reached out quickly for his Holy Bible and copied this scripture (Psalm 49:20) on the magnetic board: 'A man who is in honour, yet does not understand is like the beast that perish.'

My mentor got back to his seat and fired: 'I will be alarmed if you repeat this error. In fact that is my major problem with you and most knowledge workers. The greatest tragedy that can befall a man is for his adversaries to know his worth more than he does himself. Should I believe that you did not pick my message when I said that your most important asset is your brain and the knowledge you have accumulated over time? You are not into buying and selling! I have seen many creative, highly talented persons short-changing themselves for life in deals they should have had upper hand.

I would ask that you should go and read the story of the founder of When he was taking his company to the stock market for the first time, he came up a with pricing that looked outrageous to the investment analysts working with him on the outing because they believed the pricing did not reflect that his company was actually in debt. He maintained his ground insisting that he was into intellectual business, not buying and selling. He won ultimately and he was proved right. By now you should know that you are a knowledge worker. When you are entering into a business arrangement with people that involve your area of expertise, you should first put commercial value on your knowledge, which should be quantified in terms of shareholding. That is your own capital!

I have counselled quite a number of creative people who were in that situation before. My advice on this is that you should quantify your intellectual worth and let that be calibrated in naira and kobo. I believe your intellectual assets should fetch you not less than 35per cent of the value of the company, irrespective of whatever cash you eventually decide to contribute to that business. What I am saying is that your intellectual asset is your own cash contribution and this should be documented and agreed to by all the people involved. Be ready to work out of any arrangement that devalues your intellectual worth, which is cumulative of the experience you have gained over the years.'

My mentor ended the discussion after those words. I believed he was containing his anger: 'I believe we should talk properly on this tomorrow', he said as he went downstairs to attend to other visitors. I trust you would meditate on the thrust of his suggestions.

Mistake 15
I had gone to my business coach one afternoon for updates on an issue we had discussed. That would be the third time we would be discussing that issue and my concern had always been what people would say. He was a bit angry when he discovered that I was still repeating the same excuse. My coach said: 'My friend let me share this secret with you and I suggest you learn it by heart. You will only start to really live the moment you don't rely on what people say or would say to take your decisions. The truth is that the public has no opinion; it is what you eventually do that would form their opinions. If you fail people would have opinions, and likewise if you succeed they would also have opinions. That means your happiness or sadness would depend on how people perceive what you do. That would be a horrible way to live a life. I was like that before.

When I needed to close a line of business that was not fetching money, I was very concerned about how the public would perceive it. But one day I just asked myself how many dead bodies would be on the roads as a result of closing down the business. Once I found that the answer was that nobody would attribute the death of a person to my closing down the business, I just shut the business and created another one that has become a phenomenal success. The day you realise that in this journey of life, you are alone, that is the day you start to live. You would be deceiving yourself to imagine that people would take the tough decisions on your behalf. I can only advise you, I can't follow you to where you would execute the decisions. You would be missing out big time in life if you would let what people say to influence the actions you would take. Just be fair to other people and get a clearance from you conscience. Move once this is in place'. That is quite instructive!