The first step in your assessment is to make an honest appraisal of your personal skills and education. You should list everything, especially if you are unsure what type of business in which you want to become involved. Don’t list any faults or doubts here. This is a place to remember all of the things that you know how to do well (no skimping on personal praise).
After you have identified your personal skills and education, focus on your business knowledge. If you know what you are interested in, list what you know about the field or industry. If you are well versed, simply outline the general areas. If you are not sure, you should list everything. Concentrate on specific business information rather than general life experience. All experience will be useful, but we can only use the business experience when we are making a decision about what skills you may need to develop in order to run your business.
Next, you should consider your limitations. While this can feel like a strange way to start planning your business, knowing your limitations will allow you to choose an entrepreneurial path that fits your needs. If you know what limitations you’re dealing with, you can plan for them and work around them. Here are a few examples – if you have poor hearing, it probably makes sense to avoid businesses that involve a lot of phone conversations or face to face meetings. If you have a disability and can’t drive, then don’t pursue a business that requires the frequent use of a car. I myself have a young child who I have to look after in the house, which is why I decided to start an online business and work from home (shameless plug: you can follow my entrepreneurial adventures at Mi Trabajo Mi Casa, where I discuss freelancing and online business – its in Spanish though!)
The next step is to evaluate your decision making abilities. When you own your business, you are in charge, and many decisions will have to be made based on what you think. Not all of these decisions will have to be made immediately, but some of them will have to. If your normal response is to give problem solving to someone else, then you will probably have difficulty with running a business. Reflect on your life experiences. Write down two situations where you solved a problem and the decision you made worked well. Then write down two situations where the decisions you made did not work so well. Be sure to write down what you learned from these situations.
Last, but certainly not least, identify your entrepreneurial skills. As we mentioned earlier, a lot of Successful entrepreneurs have a lot of initiative and also take risks, and they have learned from making their own mistakes. Taking a clear look at your source of motivation and your belief in yourself will help you to be prepared for the challenges that come with owning your own business. Probably the three most important factors on the road to Success are: the ability to be flexible, the willingness to change with the market as technology advances, and the ability to trust yourself. If you have all of these, you are more than halfway there.
Once you have completed your assessment, you may want to review all three areas to determine where you are at this point in time. By evaluating and understanding the whys and hows of what you have or have not accomplished up to this point in your life, you can better use this knowledge to your advantage, now and in the future. The following questions will help you do this. Remember, the more honest you can be in answering the questions, the more useful the information will be to you.
- What do you feel are your main strengths?
- What do you feel are your more serious weaknesses?
- How do you think someone else might answer the above two questions about you?
- What talents do you possess and in what situations have you been able to use them?
- How would you personally define the idea of having a job or being employed?
Now, things are already starting to make sense or you are beginning to have doubts. Either way, listen to your feelings and trust yourself. In the end, these are only tools for you to use in your evaluation process, nothing more and nothing less.