Do you daydream about being your own boss or running your own business? Does the change of seasons give you an itch to be doing something different?

If you’re thinking of starting your own business, discover more about yourself by taking inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. What do you do well? Where can you improve? Which traits are in your favor or could be an obstacle? Take a step back and do an objective assessment. To help you get started in your self-evaluation, here are several traits to look for in yourself:

·         Adaptability - Do you prefer a stable, predictable environment and have trouble switching gears when needed? Are you flexible when faced with unexpected issues or a crisis?

·         Communication – Are you effective in getting your point across to different types of people? Can you tell when you need to change a verbal instruction to a hands-on one?

·         Enthusiasm/Passion – How do you maintain your spark? Is it automatically there when you wake up? What do you do to promote peak interest or recharge?

·         Perseverance – Would others describe you as a hare or a tortoise? Do you start off strong then snooze? Do you keep plodding even when the task looks un-doable? Will you go the extra mile?

·         Teachability – Are you willing to learn from others instead of pursuing an unproductive strategy? When you make mistakes, do you ask for advice or help?

·         Lastly – you have to know when to throw in the towel and not go down with the ship.  We see all too often a client will take out a HUGE loan but the plan falls apart maybe with a weakening economy or the need in the market is just not there.  Being able to recognize that the ship is sinking is a big step in saving yourself.

Of course, one quality we have to make sure we include is “being a hard worker.” There’s no substitute for elbow grease. Be prepared to work long days, wear many hats, and receive no pay for the first 18 months or so. Make sure you’ve invested wisely to be able to afford this.

This month, we had the opportunity to hear from Emerson Russell, CEO of ERMC here in Chattanooga.  He shared that as a youngster he got a job cleaning bricks for a penny apiece. He did such a good job and was so efficient he earned $6 per week. Half of this went to his mom, then he saved $1.50 and could spend $1.50. He now offers business services in more than 10 different fields and his company has over 5,000 employees. He stressed various key to success, such as: be willing to take risks; you need to like the challenges of day-in-day-out work; be honest with your clients; hire employees who want to do the job better (not just do the job); and know that relationships are 95-98% of your business.

Hopefully we’ve sparked your interest in self-discovery as you work toward your dream of entrepreneurship. Check out these additional resources for further reading:

What Color is Your Parachute? By Richard Bolles Learn more here. “The author coined the word “parachute” to mean choosing or changing a career, because back in 1968 people commonly said, “I'm fed up with this job - - I'm going to bail out?”;  Bolles' rejoinder at that time: What color is your parachute? later became the playful title of the book.”

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath – See the “34 talent themes

Do you have recommendations we haven’t mentioned? Add your ideas below!

Lynn Talbott, MBA, PHR, has over 20 years’ experience consulting with entrepreneurs of small to mid-sized businesses in the HR and office management capacity.  Her specialty is Office/Human Resource Manager coaching and training and finding practical solutions for bookkeeping errors and HR blunders.  Lynn has helped manage over 50 business start-ups and many of those companies continue to rely on her expertise today as they continue to grow.

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