Brainstorming business ideas around the table with friends is fun. When it comes time to make some decisions, there’s a number of questions that need to be asked and answered honestly before diving into the deep-end. Take a personal inventory before you plunge into the entrepreneurial world and start with our short questionnaire.
Can I make my vision a reality?
Don’t be discouraged if you didn’t jump up and shout “Yes!” Questioning yourself is an important part of your first foray into entrepreneurship. After you get out of your comfort zone, you’ll find that your reactions to new ideas and businesses will change.
If you answered “Yes” to the question, grab a pen and start drafting out your business plan. If you answered “No,” then you have a choice. Either drop your idea and move on to the next phase of your life or ask yourself the next question.
How can I become the person that makes this vision happen?
With that question, you begin some important momentum toward your goal as an entrepreneur and small-business owner. Figuring out what kind of personal growth will arm you with the ability to obtain your goals will make you a better person, entrepreneur or not.
What’s your next step?
Read up on other entrepreneurs and discover what their first step was. Depending on your idea, it could be business planning or market research. Look at start-ups in related fields and how they moved their idea forward. Classes and workshops can give you some idea, but the best step will depend on your idea, your experience, and the resources available to you.
What are the most important skills I could contribute to a business or field?
The more honest you are in answering this question, the more likely you will succeed in your business. Many people look at a task and say, “That’s easy, I can do that,” when the truth is that they will struggle with it. Perhaps your strength is in organization. Or sales and marketing. You may be the visionary type who can talk with people for hours about the business, but you have little interest in the details. All areas of the business have to be covered. Taking an honest personal inventory is an important key to unlocking your potential and what you’re going to need for your future as an entrepreneur.
What do I know about the details? Do I need to hire an expert?
Some small-business owners learn enough about bookkeeping so they can manage that part of their business. Others hire a bookkeeper. Some will write their own website content, while others contract it out.
There are some skills that take a while to learn, and having a resource to help in the meantime can make a big difference. If you feel that your negotiating skills are weak, you may bring in someone with experience talking to suppliers. If you’re new to using social media, hiring a consultant to make sure you’re using them correctly for marketing can be critical to success. Entrepreneurship is ultimately about adaptability and bringing in talented people can be the ultimate learning experience for your future projects.
Where do I go if I need help?
This is a question to ask about every facet of your business. When you’ve done the research to answer this question, you’ll have a huge set of resources to pull from. You will refer to this with every future business idea that you consider. And throughout your life as a small-business person, you’ll be adding to your list.
Time to re-evaluate
When you have honestly and diligently worked through each of these questions, it’s time to ask yourself again, “Am I the person that can make this vision happen?” With the knowledge that there is a big difference between making something happen and doing all of the work, you might be comfortable answering “Yes.” With that, it’s time for you to take that next step.
After you’ve filled out your personal inventory, leave us a comment about what you learned. Did you find it was hard to be totally honest about your skillset? Or did we go too easy? Help us make the next iteration of this list even better.
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.
Follow Adam on Twitter: @thebizguy