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Self Assessing your Abilities to Start and Run a Business

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Self Assessing your Abilities to Start and Run a Business

To be successful in a new business venture, you should start with a self assessment of your abilities, likes and dislikes. There are many areas where your past experience will be of benefit in your new venture. This self assessment is a sort of "get-to-know-myself" of abilities, likes and dislikes which you always knew were lurking in you, but never really found out about!

Up to now, you did not have to put those qualities into a context, but now, when you start your own business, they very well, become vital to your survival.

Self Assessment
Don't think of this as some psychological test or some other evaluation method. It simply provides you with an organized way to find out what you offer and what you are willing to contribute in terms of ability and effort to a new business venture.

Many people find talking this over with a trusted friend a good idea. That might help them to crystallize what they want and who they are, in terms of their business abilities. The key contribution, a third party will make, is to help you see things better. His function is not to push you into a specific direction or really give you advice. But, it should be a mixture of a devil's advocate and someone who encourages you. It is the new thoughts, he/she might plant in your mind that are important. You should, if they come about, pick up these thoughts and develop them further.

In order to get a useful discussion, you might want to create a sort of question and answer session. You prepare the questions beforehand and ask the other person their views. Be very specific with these questions, and don't get defensive when the other person says something critical. Instead, encourage him/her to explain to you, why he/she thinks that. Don't defend yourself, you are not in a competition and you do not have to justify yourself, just listen and absorb. Take notes and, be sure that after the session you go over the ideas and comments that have been voiced.

You don't have to communicate details of the business you are intending to pursue. You can keep the session general about the business, but, very specific about yourself and your perceived abilities!

Before you start your business venture, you should set aside several sessions with yourself, about knowing yourself! The self evaluation should cover your personality, as well as your objective technical abilities needed in running the proposed business. In the end, you should have a fair idea about how well you know yourself and how well you use any abilities, as well as how you cover any short comings, you have.

Probably, you have a fair idea about, what you want to do, and the area, or sector, in which your future business venture should be active. Matching your abilities, be these technical or personal through a self assessment, to the demands of the business sector of your choice, is a key ingredient that lowers your risk and improves your chances of success. It does not, by necessity, mean that, if you lack a certain skill, you cannot enter a specific business area. Obviously, you can! Provided you have the resources, to buy in that skill. But, to remain within realistic boundaries, you are unlikely to enter a business area, where you are from the start, handicapped by the absence of an essential ingredient!

To guide you through a self evaluation, we have made a small checklist, which will help you to remain systematic in this task. You can add on things which you might think are important or are specific to the business sector you are intending to enter.

Ten Points to Start your Self Evaluation
What is my Goal? Self Fulfillment? Earn Money, because I need to(?), or work because I want to work? Make a ranking of these and other factors in your order of importance!
What are my strengths and weaknesses? (if you really need to, take a know-yourself test in a Career Book!). This is your perception of things! Make a list of five to ten points on your strengths and weaknesses. Rank them according to your perception of importance. And then make a ranking on how you perceive other people might see their importance! Try to integrate the session you had with your friend and his/her views about your abilities.
Where, or about what, do you have your highest confidence levels? (list five items and see, whether they match your strengths!)
Make a list of activities (jobs, work etc.) that you would like to do or that are important in your proposed business venture. Then match that list to your Strengths and Weaknesses and your level of confidence in what you bring to the table.
Make a list of places where you would like to work (You can have dreams, but be realistic about it - "I would like to work on the moon", does not help you very much!
What impact will starting your business venture have on your surrounding (family, friends, hobbies etc.) Think hard about that and write it down, because you do not want to make people close to you and around you unhappy!
Ask friends or former colleagues (or your former bosses) you worked with, what their perception of your strengths and weaknesses are , i.e. what were or are you good at? This is an expansion of the idea we touches on in the blue field above. But here it is more related to your job skills than your personal traits. Again, be careful in evaluating these comments, because often people will tell you what they think you want to hear! Remember, you will get the best assessment if you listen to them and don't interrupt them, to justify yourself, when they say something negative about you!
Based on the above, start to match job functions needed in your business venture with your abilities and skills! If you feel you cannot do something, you will have to find a way to cover that later. But for the moment you simply identify the issue.
Look at individuals or companies that are similar to your intended venture, and what skills the leading have or have not. Then compare it to what you bring to the table.
The final phase is in bringing all these point together and identify how they will affect the way you start your business. Remember, especially the start up phase will be the one where you are most likely to have the least available resources to "fix a problem" from a lack of ability or a personal shortcoming!

Although, the internet provides a large number of avenues that offer business entry with minimal funds. Don't be fooled by the idea that it will be easy. Any start of a business, on or off the internet, needs your full attention and all the skills you can master. It is therefore essential that you know yourself, that you know what you can, and what you cannot do well!

Knowing yourself, will be half the start-up battle won!

There are areas in which your personality, experience and skill, as well as seriousness of purpose are key elements that drive an activity or are the essence of a job and a new business venture. Obviously, that should apply to every task, though sadly, it does not.

Here are some books that should help you in assessing yourself. You have to be careful in this area, since many books tend to be "trend-books", i.e. those that want to push you in the authors direction, rather than give you the ability to find out about yourself. We tried to stay clear of the former. Try to stay clear of authors that attempt to "sell a life style", whatever that means!

Some useful Books from amazon you could consult

The above is only a small selection of books available on the topic. Sometimes reading someone's biography, will help you determine, some of your abilities and skills. But remember, while we are not all Napoleons or Katherine the Great, there might be a Custer lurking in many of us!

The next step will be to look at "Starting your own Business"

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