There’s an old proverb that states, “Businesses don’t fail, people do.” Sure, businesses are affected by strategies employed by competitors, market saturation, etc., but the ability to plan and adjust to market conditions is all a function of the people running the business.
A business is merely an extension of the people running it and mirrors the abilities of those individuals, although franchising does provide an added element of support and supervision which independent businesses lack. With any kind of business, however, if the people running the business are strong in one area and weak in another, the business will reflect this. This correlation is even more apparent when it comes to small businesses.
As a businessperson, you have to know what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can compensate for your shortcomings. To determine your strengths and weaknesses, you have to evaluate the major accomplishments in your personal and professional life and the skills you have acquired that have allowed you to complete these tasks.
To perform this evaluation, you should do the following:
Create A Personal Resumé: Start by listing your professional experience. For each job you’ve held, write short descriptions of the various duties you were responsible for and the degree of success you experienced.
Next, list your educational background and any extracurricular activities you participated in during your scholastic career. Finally, write down your hobbies.
List your personal attributes: Are you personable? Do you feel comfortable around other people? Are you self-motivated? Are you a hard worker? Do you possess common sense? Are you good with numbers? Do you have effective verbal and written communications skills? Are you well-organised?
What to consider when personal planning
If will also help as part of your personal planning efforts if your detail:
Detail your professional attributes. Write down the various management roles and tasks within a business such as sales, marketing, financial planning, accounting, advertising, administrating, personnel management and research. Beside each function, write down your competency level – excellent, good, fair, or poor.
By putting together a résumé and quickly listing your attributes, you will have a fairly good idea of what your likes and dislikes are and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Once you know these things, you will have a good idea of the qualities you will bring to the business and the areas that may require training or assistance.
If you don’t think that’s important, think again. The track records you and any partners have established not only play an important part in determining your strengths and weaknesses as they apply to business in general (and specifically any franchise or business opportunity you are researching), but they are also determining factors in obtaining financing.
Setting Objectives. Many people go into business to meet a set of personal goals they’ve established for themselves. For some people, it’s as simple as having the freedom to do what they want, when they want, without anyone telling them otherwise. For other people, achieving financial security is a major personal goal. Whatever the goals, clearly setting personal objectives is an integral part in the selection of a business that is going to be right for you.
How to form goals
When forming goals, whether personal or business-related, they work best when broken down as follows:
Specific and Detailed: Whether your goal is to start a business, raise capital, or lose weight, you must be very specific.
Positive and Present Tense: A financial goal is not to pay bills or get by, but to be financially secure. This is set with a specific minimum of at least X amount of dollars in a given period.
Realistic and Attainable: If you set a goal to earn $100,000 a month and you’ve never even earned that in a year, this goal is not very realistic. Some people may not be able to conceive complete financial security, whatever that may mean to them. You should begin with a “first step”, a percentage increase you feel comfortable with that is within the realm of reality. Once your first goal is met, you can project larger ones.
Short Term and Long Term: Short-term goals should include the above characteristics and be attainable in a period of weeks, months, or one year. The long term can be much greater, but it should still be very realistic.
The only one who can set these parameters is you. You must decide what is a realistic time frame and what is not.
What do you want to achieve?
You have to decide what exactly you want to achieve by going into business for yourself. Most people set objectives according to specific areas in their life that are crucial for survival and self-satisfaction. The most common are:
Be your own boss: One of the foremost reasons why people go into business for themselves is they have what they think is a great idea and are tired of working for someone else. In other words, they’ve built up certain areas of expertise and want to “call the shots”. If you are the type of person that likes to have complete and total control over the direction of the business, you need to consider this issue when setting management responsibilities, especially if you are dealing with partners.
Income: Many people go into business to obtain financial security, not only for themselves, but for their families as well. When setting financial goals, consider what you would like to make during the first year of operation and each year thereafter, up to five years.
Lifestyle: This encompasses several areas that relate to your personal life. These areas include travel, physical labour, work hours, investment of personal assets, and location. When setting lifestyle goals, you need to consider whether or not you want to do a lot of travelling, whether physical labour is a priority or even something you can do, what type of hours you want to work, the amount of personal assets available for investment into the business (such as your house or car), and how close to the business you want to be located.
Type of work: It’s no secret that the more you like your work, the greater satisfaction you will derive from your efforts and the more successful you’ll be. When setting goals for type of work, you need to determine whether you like working outdoors, in an office environment, with computers, on the phone, with a great number of people, and so on.
Ego gratification: Let’s face it, many people go into business to satisfy their egos as well as their bank account. Owning a business can be very ego-gratifying because of the perception other people have of you. Owning a so-called glamour business such as a software development firm can be even more ego-gratifying. You need to decide how important ego gratification is to you and which industries will fill that need.
Once you’ve set your personal goals, you can prioritise them according to the importance you place on each. This will help you examine your entrepreneurial desire and how it relates to other important aspects of your life.