Recently, I was asked by a fellow coach if I had any assessments that I use to help clients determine whether or not they’ll make successful entrepreneurs. What my coach friend was referring to was an assessment that could help one gain an understanding of whether or not their personality is an indication of their success as an entrepreneur. In other words, an assessment that would tell the person taking the assessment whether or not they have what it takes to go into business for themselves and be successful at it.
My coach friend was looking for such an assessment specifically for one of her clients. I wrote out my answer in an email and sent it back, but later I realized that my email response might make a good blog post. So here it is…
To answer your question, I do not have any entrepreneurial assessments. However, I do have some thoughts on the subject, which could be an informal assessment:
Does your client have a passion for the idea/business they’re thinking of starting?
If they “think” it would be a good idea, but don’t have a real passion for it they’re motivation will wane in the long run and it may not be a good fit. Unlimited passion and motivation will keep one going when there are not-so-glamorous things to be done (admin work, cold calls, etc., but the necessary parts of running, growing and maintaining a business).
Is there a decent market for your client’s idea/business?
Basically, is the product/service something that is in demand, or does it fulfill a need for a large enough group of individuals or businesses that have that challenge? Is there a lot or a little competition for others in that market…
Either way has it’s advantages – a lot of competition means it’s harder to market yourself…you’ll need to stand out and build value in what you do over the other competition, but a good deal of competition usually means it’s a proven business idea, so you’re on the right track.
Little competition could mean that what you offer is not yet proven in the marketplace, in which case that’s an opportunity to be the first in that business category, or there may not be much of a demand for it, in which case you may have to revise your positioning/marketing approach. Ultimately your client has to make these decisions for him/herself…no assessment is going to magically give the answers (maybe some indications, but I don’t believe you need an assessment to arrive at a similar answer).
Are they starting a business from scratch or buying/growing an existing business?
I ask this because if they’re starting from scratch they may not want to jump ship on their day job until they have the foundation of the business in place and have a couple of victories proving the business’ potential success prior to jumping off (it’s just a tough economy right now, and with that said, that’s my conservative approach). If it’s an existing business and there is more opportunity to hit the ground running, if your client were to leave their day job, then that may be a different story.
Again, it ultimately comes down to your client’s gut-check…are they willing to take the risks involved with being an entrepreneur, do they understand those risks? Are they still willing to try even if the worse case scenario pans out? If it were not to work out have they thought through a potential exit strategy? Also, on the flip side, is the client prepared for success (sometimes fear of success can get in the way, too)? If the answer is yes all around, you might have a winner.
Recommended reading for any entrepreneur looking to start a business: The Knack by Norm Brodsky, Bo Burlingham (affiliate link). I love Norm Brodsky’s approach to a business plan – crunch the numbers to justify whether or not you have something viable then fill your passion and executable ideas in around that.
Posted by: Nick Venturella