Running your own business – what does it take? There are lots of books and quizzes that invite you to measure yourself against their set of standards. Ultimately, the test is the hoops that an actual business makes you jump through.
The paths to success or to disaster are unique to each situation. But let’s suppose you are preparing a business idea, or have recently jumped in to your own business. Here are questions that can spotlight risks you can minimize. You, yourself, may be more of a risk than you know. How well are you doing with the five areas: Plan, Advice, Problems, Resilience, and Trust?
Answer “Yes”, “No”, or “Not Sure” with one point for each. Then add up how many “Yes”, “No” and “Not Sure” responses to get your Entrepreneurial Quotient (EQ).
A) Can you come up with an idea for a business?
B) Have you set that unique idea into a system for running the business?
C) Have you created a marketing plan that provides a profit?
You need both the inspiration of a marketable idea and the structure for making it available and profitable. A few resources are Jennifer Basey Sander and Peter Sander Niche and Grow Rich, and Tim Berry’s The Plan as You Go Business Plan.
D) Do you push away most advice and criticism?
E) Do you have a systematic way to evaluate an idea that challenges your basic
beliefs about your business?
F) Are you generally able to identify whether you are hearing genuine advice, your own self-satisfying rationalization, or someone’s manipulating you for their own purposes?
G) Would too much pride or ego keep you from implementing an idea that came from someone you didn’t like?
H) Are you good at identifying underlying problems and not being distracted by surface problems?
Here is an example of a store owner missing the real problem:
As a local liquor store owner told me, profits were down. He though it was related to the circumstances of people being unemployed. Well, it was really a poor system of inventory control which made employee theft easy.
- Is your attitude to problems:
Of course, there will be problems, so let’s clear them up?
J) Is your attitude to problems – Oh not another problem; why is this happening to me; I just can’t keep up with this.
K) Can you give examples of how you have already bounced back from negative
L) Would you be swayed by others telling you to give it up?
M) Do you have a strategy to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move ahead again and again and again?
N) Do people trust you?
O) Do people trust your product?
P) Do people trust your leadership?
Employees who feel that you don’t know what you are doing may act as if they are not motivated, or loyal. They may jump ship or find other ways to undermine you to see who is boss; which of you is smarter?
Q) Do you trust other people?
If you don’t trust anybody, why are you in business? If your image of the customer, your supplier, or your employee is that he or she is an adversary, ready to pull one over on you, why are you in the business? Small businesses are a community activity. Your business is about your relationship with people. It is ultimately about optimism, values and respect. Where these exist, we find that people like doing business with you and you have a real edge for success.
How did you do? If your answers were “Yes” (14), with “No’s” (3) only for D, J, and L – Bravo, you have key inner resources to make a success. EQ = 100 on your way.
With lots of “Not Sure” (4 – 10), you are being honest and will want to think more about strengthening yourself. EQ = more thought needed. Lots of “No’s”? (4 – 10) EQ = Are you sure you want to do this? Think about how those attitudes or habits of mind can trip you up. Seek advice. This EQ is only one of many views of what it takes to succeed. Keep reading, talking to successful owners and striving for excellence.
Bravo for creating a business, which adds to your net worth and to your community. Success comes from your steady intention adapting to constantly changing circumstances. Add a sense of humor and something illogical – call it luck, magic dust, or whatever. I’m cheering for your continued success.