Who runs the world? Tech.


To start a business? Take inventory of your entrepreneurial skills

Almost every business start-up checklist that aspiring entrepreneurs will read deals with “must-have” information on legal issues, money management, sales, marketing, and operations. In fact, success as an entrepreneur not only depends on your knowledge and effective execution of these fundamentals, but also requires a constant commitment to continue growing and gaining knowledge in these areas. Fortunately, there are many resources available to small businesses in the form of professional services or public agencies available to help us increase our own skills in these areas at affordable prices. As we work to improve these technical business skills to manage day-to-day operations, it doesn’t take long to realize that these skills, while essential, may not be enough to get your business off the ground. succeed.

What could be missing? Maybe it’s that other, less talked about business startup checklist, the one that talks about the actual success behaviors needed to manage and grow your new business. Skills or traits like judgment, confidence, agility, and creativity are some of the critical intangibles that are difficult to measure, nearly impossible to outsource, but critical to the success of a new business. For most of us it is relatively easy to look at the numbers and tell if cash flow is good or bad or to look at a marketing plan and tell if it worked or not. On the other hand, however, it can be difficult for many of us to admit that we have limited knowledge or a weakness, especially if we fear that admission will force us to give up our dreams of owning a business. The fact is that we can significantly improve our chances of success in new businesses if we take the time to take inventory of our skill set and put strategies in place to improve as many skills as we can and seek help and support where we struggle.

For most of us, much of this self-discovery will take place once your startup is underway. In other words, we will learn on the job. Our hope, of course, is that it happens soon enough to avoid serious consequences. However, with a little introspection and an honest assessment of our preferences or behaviors, we can examine our own trends and take corrective action early.

The following simple, though unscientific, assessment is a way of taking stock of our skills in some of the required non-business technical areas. It is based on the well-accepted principle that has been used successfully in job interviews for years: that past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior.

Create a spreadsheet with five columns and label them as follows:

Column 1 – Ability or Trait – List the following 20 traits that are generally considered skills for starting new businesses. Feel free to add others that you know are important.

Yo. agility

ii. Confidence

iii. Courage

IV. Creativity

v. decision

saw. self discipline

vii. good concept

viii. flexibility

ix. hard worker

X. Leadership

xi. Multitask effectively

xiii. networking ability

XIII. Objectivity

xiv. Openness to new ideas.

xvi. political cunning

XVI. Resilience

xvii. entrepreneur

xviii. Interpersonal skills

xix. risk tolerance

XX. Visionary

Column 2 – Rating: On a scale of 1 to 10, rate yourself on each of these business traits: “1” means you are concerned about your strengths and “10” means you are confident that your skills are strong in this area.

Column 3 – Example: Identify the best example from your past that demonstrates your strength regarding the entrepreneurial trait or skill in question.

Column 4 – Strategy – Define an action plan to address your deficiencies in any business trait where your personal score is less than 6, especially if you consider it important for the start-up of your business.

Column 5 – Sensitivity – To help focus and prioritize your efforts, rank business skills and characteristics based on their relative importance to your business. For example, if you sell widgets over the Internet, interpersonal business skills, which are always important, may be less important than the agility to keep up with Internet marketing trends. On the other hand, if you run a home daycare, agility within very strict government regulations may be a bit more difficult, and therefore you may choose to focus on your networking skills to maintain and win new customers.

Column 3 is possibly the most important. It forces us as entrepreneurs not just to say how good we are, but to identify specific examples to demonstrate how we have performed in the past. If you’ve rated yourself highly (6 or higher) and can’t identify great examples in your past to support that rating, you may need to reconsider your self-assessment scores.

Once you have completed the exercise yourself, ask someone whose opinion you value or potential business partners to complete a similar table with their observations about you and others. Comparing the results should give you a good idea of ​​which skills you’ve mastered and which are potentially weak areas you might need to address to improve your or your team’s chances of success. Brainstorm possible solutions and be open to the fact that it could come in many forms. One entrepreneur may choose to join business groups to share ideas, another may decide to create a board of advisors. No path will fit all or all business models.

Facing our fears head-on will significantly improve our chances of success when starting a business. The last thing we want as our businesses start to grow is to discover that our skill bank is about to run out and take this personal inventory long ago. Start taking stock of your business skills today!


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