Take a Start-Up Self Assessment

Few of us would willingly cross a busy intersection with blinders on, and yet plenty of new entrepreneurs do something just as crazy: they enter the marketplace with lots of zeal and enthusiasm, but without first doing a self-assessment. An honest self-assessment may be the most important key to future entrepreneurial success. What's an honest self-assessment? That's one of the questions I posed in a recent interview with Colleen De Baise, the small business editor and author of The Wall Street Journal, Complete Small Business Guidebook. De Baise shared five of the most important questions that every entrepreneur needs to consider before launching a business:

  • Passion: How enthusiastic am I about my service or product? How you feel about it will affect your ability to promote it to customers and investors.
  • Risk tolerance: Launching a business is inherently risky. How well am I likely to handle the uncertainty I encounter along the way?
  • Comfort level making decisions: Am I decisive or indecisive in my decision-making? Am I self-confident, or do I second guess once I've made a decision?
  • Ability to multitask: If I'm a company of one, a sole proprietor, I'll be responsible for a whole host of duties, from sales to inventory. Am I comfortable taking on each of those positions?
  • Able to avoid burnout: For many successful entrepreneurs, the tendency to work 24/7 can be irresistible. Can I resist the workaholic urge, and maintain good health and good relationships with my family and friends?

Most entrepreneurs recognize that launching a business is inherently risky, but an honest self-assessment can put entrepreneurs in a stronger position to weather the uncertainties of operating a new business. 

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