How to Conduct a Self-Appraisal for Business Planning
If you are planning for a small business or are a sole proprietor of your own business — even if you’re an entrepreneur hoping to create the next Cisco — you still have one very important question to answer: Do I have what it takes to turn this opportunity into a success story?
You see some common traits among the CEOs who were multimillionaires before they turned 25 and the entrepreneurs cruising around in sports cars issuing orders on their cellphones while the value of their stock options soar: talent and hard work.
To succeed, you must exhibit both, and to be a high-flyer or, for that matter, to be self-employed, you need discipline, confidence, and the capacity to live with the uncertainty that’s part and parcel of being out on your own.
As a first step toward appraising your strengths and weaknesses, respond to the 20 statements in the following form as candidly as you possibly can. There’s no such thing as a perfect score. The point of the exercise is to identify your strongest and weakest areas so that you can capitalize and compensate accordingly.
As you review your responses, watch for the following:
Areas that receive poor ratings represent your weakest areas. Be alert for the need to compensate for these personal shortcomings.
Areas that receive excellent ratings represent your real strengths and the personal resources you can call upon when you start your business venture.
Not all personal strengths and weaknesses are equal contributors to business success. For example, if you plan to be a sole proprietor who works mostly alone, the ability to manage a staff doesn’t matter much, but self-motivation is absolutely essential. Or, if your business will depend on face-to-face customer service, interpersonal skills will be indispensable.
As you complete the form, place a star next to the top six traits that you think are most important to the success of your business. For the moment, ignore how you rate yourself in each of those areas.
If you’re weak in an important area, that doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes to turn your idea into a business, but it does unveil areas that will require extra work and compensation on your part.
For example, if you aren’t good with details, but details are important to the success of your business, this exercise alerts you to the fact that you may need to hire a personal assistant or cajole a colleague into tying up all the loose ends.
To see how your personal strengths and weaknesses apply to the needs of your proposed business, take the top six traits from the previous form and align them with your personal abilities, using a grid like the one shown.
Put a copy of your personal strengths and weaknesses grid into your daily organizer or post it near your computer. Having it close by constantly reminds you of who you are, the strengths you can draw on, and the areas you need to bolster as you begin the challenge of planning your business.