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I have now looked at the various ways to find an idea and have chosen the type of business I want to start. I have come up with a business activity I like and in which I feel I can succeed. I have then looked at myself, as an entrepreneur, and am now satisfied that I have what it takes to become a business owner. My next step is to look at myself again, I must look at my strengths and weaknesses, to see if I have the required endurance, persistence and stamina for success in my own business.

Before proceeding any further, on the road to my dream, I must face myself and ask some hard questions on my personal abilities, my family and my environment. These questions must be asked and answered truthfully, as they will not go away, and can spell the difference between my success or failure, later on. These questions are not a psychological test but they will teach me honest self-assessment. I am doing this for myself, not for others.

Business is conducted in reality. Looking at myself, as a businessman, is one of those realities. If I cheat, I am only cheating myself.

1. What kind of a person am I? What kind of a businessman will I be?

a) Am I determined to succeed at all cost, in business? How do I react to disappointment, obstacles, unforeseen difficulties, heartbreak and frustration. Do I keep on trying, regardless? or do I give in? Am I willing to start over, if necessary?

b)   Do I have a tendency to put things off, to procrastinate? Can I make quick decisions, even if I don't have all the facts? Do I tend to delay, before doing the things I know must be done? Do I always make excuses or tend to blame others for my shortcomings?

c)   Do I tend to distrust advice, am I a know-it-all, do I want to be right always? When I don't know, how do I find out? When I get advice, do I consider it or reject it, without consideration? If I am wrong, do I admit it or do I blame someone else? At work, how do I accept justified criticism? How do I react to my wife's or my friends' suggestions? In business, no one is expected to know everything. It is very important to have an open mind to suggestions, new thoughts, criticisms and advice. A closed mind is a short-cut to failure. When I must make a decision, if I do not know what to do, am I ready to seek and accept advice, even if it means that I must change course?

d) Am I a hard worker, not afraid of long hours? Am I prepared to put a lot of "sweat equity" into my projects, at work or at home, or in planning and starting my own business? As an employee, am I the "9 to 5" type? Am I able to put in the extra effort and time to do an outstanding job or am I content to "just earn my pay"? Do I accept that the boss works harder than employees? Do I tell myself: "If I worked for myself, I would work much harder"? Am I really sincere in saying this?

e}  Is my choice of business compatible with what I like to do? My choice was made to use my talents or only because I envy someone doing well in this business? Do I feel comfortable with my choice? Will the business and I go well together? Am I choosing a business I know nothing about? Is there, between me and the proposed business, a basic incompatibility that could jeopardize my success? If I am allergic to certain chemicals, I should not choose a business involved with painting, pesticides or insecticides.

f}   Am I in good physical shape? The Romans used to say: "mens sana in corpore sano - A healthy mind in a healthy body." If I am not in good shape, can I exercise to get into shape? Do I participate in sports? regularly or occasionally? I must realize that my mind will function better, if I am in good physical condition.


2. How is my mental attitude? Am I nervous, impatient, depressive, do I like people, am I a loner? Mental attitude means just that, as it will influence the way I will manage my business, later on. If I notice certain weaknesses, I will heed them, as I do not want to choose a business where I may be unhappy or one that I will be incompatible with.

a)    I am nervous. Can I start a business in the handling of explosives? Can I work with precision?

b)    I am impatient. Can I really run a daycare centre or a home for the aged? Can I tolerate a partner? Employees? Clients?

c)    I tend to be depressive. I will choose a business where I am not exposed to the problems of others. It will be particularly important that I choose a business that I like.

d)    I dislike to be around people. Maybe gardening or some physical type of business is more suited, for me, than a boutique or a sales agency.

e)    I am a loner. Will I be able to get along with employees or colleagues? Should I avoid a partnership? A service business is probably more suited for me than a business where I will need employees or associates. Do I like or need people? How much human contact in a regular business day do I honestly require? My business must reflect my choice. Do I have, in myself, a talent or a strength that is essential to my well being and that I must not neglect?

f)    Conversely, is there, a weakness that could jeopardize my future success? Can I work around it?

The foregoing questions about myself are not comprehensive and only I know what questions are relevant to my project. From my answers, I will find my strengths and push them, I will also find my weaknesses and look for solutions. I can compensate for my weaknesses by seeking a partner who has the strengths I lack, or, I can train myself to minimize these weaknesses and turn them into advantages.


3. What does my wife think of my project? My family? My relatives? My wife, my children and my relatives are my most precious assets in life, I must consider their attitude.

    a) Have I consulted my wife on my project? Is she 100% behind me on this? Does she have some misgivings or reservations? Have I really explained my project to her? Have I taken her advice? Am I ready to do so? How do my wife and I get along? Great? Poorly? Are we on the verge of separation or divorce? If we do, how is it going to affect my project? What does my lawyer say?

   b) What about my children? Are they old enough to help? Will they?

  c) My relatives? What do they think of my project? Have they offered help, advice, criticism?

    d) My friends? What has been their reaction to my project? Positive or not? Have they offered help? Could I count on them?

The purpose of these questions is to detect problems, before they occur, and to look for solutions now. I will avoid "unhappy surprises", later on, when I may be more vulnerable or too busy to take proper action.

Problems I have detected now will not go away, so I may as well protect myself, while I can. Later may be much more costly and may spell my failure. This is called "Success Insurance".