Is Small Business for Me?
Assignment 1 is intended to assess you as a possible/potential/prospective entrepreneur! In Chapter 1 of your textbook there is an assessment titled “Do You Have the Right Stuff?…and below is a link to one (1) additional site. Please complete each of the assessments, review the results and “correct” responses (where available), and prepare a 2 page reflection of your outcomes. It is appropriate to include your personal thoughts and opinions regarding the applicability of these types of inventories as they related to small business success.
Do You Have the Right Stuff?
To discover whether you have the right stuff to run your own small business, take the test we offer in this section. Please don’t close this book just because we said the word test! Tests don’t have to be a pain in the posterior. In fact, they can be relatively painless (and useful) when you don’t have to study for them, there are no right or wrong answers, and you’re the only one who will find out the outcome.
Some words of caution here: This Small-Business Owner’s Aptitude Test isn’t scientific, but we think it’s potentially useful because it’s based on our combined seven decades of experience working as entrepreneurs, as well as alongside them. The purpose of this test is to provide a guideline, not to cast in concrete your choice to start or buy a business. The results will be most meaningful when it comes time to make your decision if you’re in the highest- or lowest-scoring groups. If you fall somewhere in the middle, we recommend more serious soul searching, consultation with friends and other small-business owners, and a large grain of salt.
Getting started with the instructions
Score each of the following 20 questions with a number from 1 to 5. We explain the scoring with each question and will explain after you complete all the questions what your score means. Determine the appropriate numerical score for each question by assessing the relative difference between the two options presented and by how fervently you feel about the answer.
For example, one question asks, “Do you daydream about business opportunities while commuting to work, flying on an airplane, or waiting in the doctor’s office, or during other quiet times?” Give yourself a 5 if you find yourself doing this a lot, a 1 if you never do this, or a 2, 3, or 4, depending on the degree of work-related daydreaming you do. A business, especially one that you own yourself, can be downright fun and all-consuming. For most successful entrepreneurs, their minds are rarely far away from their businesses; they’re often thinking of new products, new marketing plans, and new ways to find customers.
To make the test even more meaningful, have someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in or a strong opinion about your decision — such as a good friend or coworker — also independently take the test with you as the subject. We seldom have unbiased opinions of ourselves, and having an unrelated third party take the test on your behalf can give you a more accurate view. Then compare the two scores — the score you arrived at when you took the test compared to the score your friend or peer compiled for you. Our guess is that your true entrepreneurial aptitude, at least according to our experience, lies somewhere between the two scores.
60 to 79: You probably have what it takes to successfully run your own business but take some time to look back over the questions you scored the lowest on and see whether you can discern any trends.
Analyzing your results
The truth about a subjective test such as this one is that it can serve as a helpful indicator, but it won’t provide you with a definitive answer. We issue this disclaimer because the Small-Business Owner’s Aptitude Test is, in effect, a measure of the way you have acted in the past and not necessarily how you will perform in the future.
Your future as a small-business owner will hold many surprises. (Don’t panic! By the time you finish this book, you’ll be prepared for many of them.) The skills and traits that you need to cope with those surprises will ultimately determine whether your choice to start or buy a small business is the right one. What exactly are those skills?
Numbers skills: These skills include those related to borrowing money, accounting for it, and reporting on the financial performance of your company. (See Chapters 5, 10, and 14 for more information.)
Sales skills: As a small-business owner, you’re always trying to sell your products to someone — be it your customers, employees, or vendors. (See Chapter 11 for the skinny on sales.)
Marketing skills: All small-business owners must market their products or services — no one is exempt. (See Chapter 11 for details on marketing.)
Leadership skills: The small-business owner is the Grand Poobah of his venture. Grand Poobahs are only as good as the manner in which the business’s employees are led. (See Chapter 16 for everything you need to know about employer-employee relations.)
Skills aside, successful entrepreneurs also need to have or adopt several required traits:
Confidence: Small-business owners have to be able to coexist with risk and possibly debt. Capitalism offers its participants no guarantees; thus, the small business and consequently its owner are almost always at risk and sometimes in debt. Yet, the owner still has to sleep at night.
Intuition: Call it intuition or call it gut instinct, the small-business owner has to call things right more often than wrong, or he’ll soon be calling it quits.
Optimism: Successful small-business owners often see good fortune, not misfortune; upsides, not downsides; and opportunities, not problems. The small-business owner can always hire a devil’s advocate (that’s what lawyers and accountants are for), but the enthusiasm and optimism necessary to drive the vision must come from the entrepreneur.
Drive: Successful small-business owners are driven to create a product, service a customer, and build a successful business. Like the craving for chocolate, this drive doesn’t go away.
Passion: An entrepreneur’s passion is infectious. Your employees, your vendors, and your customers — everyone you encounter — should feel your passion and feed off it.
If you don’t have all five of these traits, should you resign yourself to always being an employee? In answering this question, you first need to recognize that being a good employee today also requires some of these traits, so owning a business isn’t your only option. Then you need to come to terms with the fact that if you don’t have most of these traits in healthy supply, you’re probably better off as an employee rather than a small-business owner.
On the online self quiz I scored
Medium-scale businesses: their employees are directly managed by the business owner and therefore their number normally do not exceed 6. They have a greater number of business operations daily and often have a significant number of clients and business contacts.
Medium scale businesses: freelancer, innovative manager, artisan, executive manager franchisee.