Small Business Idea Assessment

How To Identify Your Calling

Your next best small business idea is just around the corner.

There are literally thousands of different types of businesses in the marketplace. Each business fills a certain need that the marketplace is demanding.

In some ways, this is good because it gives you unlimited choices for the type of business you can start. On the other hand, it may be overwhelming to try to sift through all of the different possibilities and choose the right one for you.

In order to make this process easier, we have included a step-by-step procedure for narrowing your small business idea options.

First, let's start with YOU. Your search for the right business idea will be aided by learning the necessary steps to take so you can best assess your interests, skills, abilities, knowledge, and talents.

Once you have determined what you are interested in and skilled at, we can take a look at the marketplace to see what is being demanded by the consumer.

Small Business Idea Assessment

Basic ideas for your business most often come from the following sources:

  • a spin-off from your present occupation
  • existing hobby or special interest
  • an answer to the question, "Why isn't there a ...?"
  • identified shortcoming in the products or services currently offered
  • a new or different way of using ordinary things
  • an observed need
  • a technological advance or changes in society or social custom

To help in your search for the right small business idea, take the following steps and assess your interests, skills, abilities, knowledge, and talents to help you determine what you are best at.

Part 1: Assess Your Interests

Your interests are simply your likes and dislikes, your preference for one thing and your dislike of another. Begin by writing down what interests you. Start with broad categories.

  • What are your hobbies currently? What were they when you were younger?
  • What school courses did you enjoy when you were younger?
  • Were there any jobs that you really liked or got a lot of satisfaction from?
  • What kind of sports and recreational activities have you participated in and enjoyed?
  • What do you do in your spare time? What would you like to do if you could?
  • What do you consider to be a lot of fun?

Once you have created your list of interests, identify anything that you particularly dislike doing. List these activities below your interests along with the reasons for your dislike. Your interest inventory is not a rigid indicator of what you should do. It is only a starting point for helping you learn the range of your interests.

Note: It is important to not confuse interests with abilities and skills.

Once you have completed this list, review the activities and interests you have identified and look for patterns. Do any factors appear consistently? If so, circle them.

Part 2: Building Your Skills Inventory

The key to picking your business idea is knowing and being able to articulate all the different skills you possess. The word "skills" is being used in the most general sense possible. You are not looking for skills which you and you alone possess in all the world. It is sufficient that you have the skill to any degree. You are looking for any skill or talent you may have exhibited during your lifetime. You will need to really open yourself up when making your list.

After you have developed your list, circle those skills which represent your strongest abilities and which you take the greatest pleasure in performing.

Now see whether a pattern exists that can lead you to explore what your small business idea should be. Write down any patterns that appear.

Part 3: Recalling Your "Power Stories"

Everyone has memories of times in their lives when they felt particularly "strong" and "on track". It may be the time you gave your first speech, or the day your child was born, or it may be the time you reached a goal you had previously thought impossible.

Whatever it is, these are the times when you felt the most proud of yourself, the most accomplished. We call these memories "power stories". Whether or not anyone else is aware of these times in your life is irrelevant. The important thing is that they matter to you.

Recall a list of seven personal power stories. Divide a sheet of paper in half. On the left side of the page, write down each of your power stories. On the right side, list the skills and talents you used in each story. What skills and talents reappear in each story? Circle those.

Part 4: Building Your Special Knowledge Inventory

List any special knowledge you have acquired according to the following sources:

  • Learned in school, college
  • Learned on the job or by actually doing at home or work
  • Learned from seminars, workshops
  • Learned by reading avidly
  • Learned by talking to people

You should list as many special types of knowledge as you can think of. Circle the 5 types that you would like to use to roll out your next small business idea.

Part 5: Self-Estimates

On a scale of 1 (low) to 7 (high), rate yourself (as compared with other people) on each of the following traits. Be as objective and accurate as possible. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. Try not to rate yourself the same in each ability.

___ Clerical ___ Musical ___ Teaching ___ Managerial
___ Technical ___ Scientific ___ Mechanical ___ Empathic
___ Building ___ Numerical ___ Sales ___ Artistic

Then list your top 4 traits with the rating for each.

Part 6: Dividing Up Your Time

You need to decide, as a future business owner, how you want your time to be spent. Divide the following categories in terms of percentages of time per week based on 100%. Try not to give each one the same percentage.

  • With People:
  • With Information:
  • With Things:

Part 7: Why Do You Want to Start Your Own Business?

Write down all of the reasons why you want to start your own business.

Part 8: Determining Your Priorities

As you begin combining your work and family responsibilities, make sure you know what your priorities are. Begin by listing any current time commitments and then estimate how much time you spend on these regular activities.

Think through your priorities. What activities must you continue? What can you let others do? What activities are expendable as you divert attention to your new small business idea?

Now that you have completed your personal assessment for helping to determine your small business idea, try to pull the information together to see whether a clearer picture has emerged.

This is important so that you can gain a sense of what type of small business idea would best suit your skills, knowledge, business goals, and your reasons for wanting to start a business.

You most likely will begin to see a pattern that leads to a specific small business idea or to a general category of business such as service, retail, or manufacturing.

SPECIAL NOTE: We highly recommend you take a few minutes and check out the many diverse and profitable online/home based businesses being created right now using a highly effective product called Site Build-It! Yes, this is the same tool we used to create this site!

Good luck in making your small business idea, your PASSION, a profitable reality!

Business Planning Tools & Resources

Business management articles provide an excellent resource for every team leader and small business owner. Take action on your small business idea today! Download our free business planning tools to achieve your business development plan.

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