starting business research

Starting a Business? You Need to Research Your Number One Asset

Latest posts by Donna M. Cooper (see all)

Your successful business model might take the form of a side hustle or full-time freelance work. Perhaps you’ve decided to invest in a franchise, or you’ve created an app for today’s hot on-demand marketplace. There are lots of options, and no doubt you’ve given your choice of business and business model lots of thought. But how much thought have you given to the common denominator to all these entrepreneurial models? You!

In launching your startup enterprise, you must examine the single most important factor in your eventual success or failure (yourself!) just as thoroughly you examine your options, opportunities and risks.

I will go so far to say that your assessment of your own capabilities and limitations should be just as thorough as your evaluation of such business fundamentals as market demand, startup costs, access to financing, competitive landscape, etc.

Not only can a thorough self-assessment help you decide the type of business or business model to launch, it will contribute to your eventual success.

Here’s an example: Say you’re an idea person but you have trouble implementing your great ideas. This self-knowledge will help you plan accordingly by compensating for this tendency, for instance, by partnering with someone with strong execution skills or working with a mentor or professional coach to focus on strengthening your own implementation skills.


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Using assessments for business success

As a coach of both established entrepreneurs and startups, I’ve found that personality profile and assessment tools are the most efficient and effective way for my entrepreneurial clients to gain the self-awareness they need to pave the way for success.

Used skillfully, assessments help you better understand your own personality, especially those traits most likely to impact your success as an entrepreneur, such as your communication style, how you make decisions, your capacity for dealing with conflict and change, and your preferred work style.

This self-knowledge will help you:

  • Leverage your own strengths for the maximum benefit of your business,
  • Identify weaknesses and areas where you need to invest in your own growth and development, and
  • Determine where and when you need to tap others to complement your strengths and weaknesses.

Assessment feedback also provides a foundation for setting meaningful goals and designing effective action plans for you and your business.



Self-knowledge helps you build strong business relationships

One area where assessments can be particularly helpful for entrepreneurs is in understanding and developing their communication and relational skills.

Both skills will be critical when you set about creating partnerships, building a supply chain, developing marketing opportunities, putting together a team of employees, and more. Each of these areas depends on strong relationships, which is why so many entrepreneurs point to their relationships as the building blocks of their business success.

There are many personality profile and assessment tools on the market. Let’s take a look at two respected assessment tools that you can use to gain a clearer picture of the assets you bring to your business venture and the areas you may need to strengthen or supplement.

Myers-Briggs: Learn your personality type

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a self-report questionnaire that reveals both your personality type (there are 16 possibilities) and how you prefer to do things. With this knowledge in hand, you will learn to recognize patterns, gain confidence and learn how best to present your ideas.

Here’s an example: Your Myers-Briggs type might indicate that you like to talk to others when gathering information, that you love to do research, that you tend to make decisions based on gut instinct or feelings, and that you are most comfortable when things have been decided or resolved, rather than left up in the air.

These traits suggest that you might be someone who doesn’t know when to stop researching and as a consequence has trouble setting realistic timelines or meeting the timelines you quote to your customers. Unresolved, these are both issues that will harm your customer service, your reputation and ultimately the success of your business venture. However, if you are aware of these characteristics, you can make adjustments so they don’t negatively impact your business.

DISC: Understand your behavioral style 

The DISC assessment will give you detailed feedback about your natural and adapted ways of behaving in work and life situations. DISC identifies four behavioral styles: dominance (how you see the picture and your level of drive); influence (how you engage with people); steadiness (your pace and consistency of engagement); and conscientiousness (how you approach action).

Your score in each area will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses in business and even predict how you will behave in given scenarios. For instance, if you score low in conscientiousness, you may be more comfortable with the brainstorming stage of developing your business plan than with the implementation stage. That’s important information that you will need if your business venture is to succeed.


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Get help when you need it

Of course, self-knowledge only gets you partway to where you need to be. You may need or want to partner with a mentor or a professional coach to assist you in leveraging the information gained from an assessment to benefit you and your startup business.

I urge you to take advantage of these powerful tools. Time and again, I have seen profile and assessment tools make an outsized impact on my clients’ professional and business success. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of self-knowledge in your startup success.

The landscape of entrepreneurship is littered with examples of amazing business startup ideas that failed simply because the entrepreneur behind them overlooked this critical step. Having a clear picture of your strengths, weaknesses and areas where you need to grow will help you avoid this fate.

Remember, you are the common denominator in your entrepreneurial venture.  Be sure that you know you just as well as you know your business!

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