Test Your Small Business IQ
By Jennifer S. Croft

So you think you want to run your own small business… do you have what it takes to be successful?

The beauty of self-employment is that you don’t have to have a Master’s Degree from an elite business school or even an Associate’s Degree from a local community college. You don’t need to have access to a giant line of credit or even $5,000 in the bank to take the plunge.

This is America! You can start any kind of business you want, any time you want. Keep it simple, and you can start tomorrow.

There are, however, certain traits that most thriving entrepreneurs share. Take the following short assessment test and see how you compare.

Please note: As you answer each question, do it quickly. Don’t give any question too much thought, just go with your first, gut-level reaction. Answer with a “yes,” a “no,” or a “?” and at the end of the 25 questions, you’ll see how to score yourself.

Self-Employment Assessment Test

1. _____ Are you a quick learner?
2. _____ Are you self-motivated?
3. _____ Are you healthy –  emotionally and physically?
4. _____ Do you possess an extra amount of common sense?
5. _____ Do you love to learn new tasks and ideas?
6. _____ Do you have a high tolerance for risk?
7. _____ Do you enjoy doing sales?
8. _____ Do you constantly like to meet new people?
9. _____ Can you juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities at the same time?
10. _____ Do you regularly set and accomplish personal goals?
11. _____ Are you willing to sell your product or service?
12. _____ Do you have a spouse or friend who will take an interest in the business?
13. _____ Can you live with high levels of uncertainty?
14. _____ Are you resilient?
15. _____ Do you make good decisions quickly?
16. _____ Are you good with money?
17. _____ Do you love to work?
18. _____ Do you thrive on competition?
19. _____ Do you have will-power and self-discipline?
20. _____ Are you a good leader?
21. _____ Do you get things done on time?
22. _____ Can you live without an income until your business reaches breakeven?
23. _____ Do you have skills and passion for the business you’re considering?
24. _____ Are you resourceful?
25. _____ Are you willing and prepared to work long hours in the beginning?

Scoring The Test
To score your readiness, give yourself a point for every “yes” and a half-point for every question mark. A “no” answer counts as a zero.

Total up your score, and see how you stack up. For the best chances of success, ideally, your score will be 20 or more, but there’s no empirical formula.

What To Do Next
Instead of focusing on the overall score, go back and look at the questions that prompted uncertainty or a negative response. These will determine what type of business you should start and how you’ll compensate for your shortcomings.

For instance, if you responded that you’re not a good leader, you’d be better off starting a business that won’t require hiring employees; or if you know you’re not good with money, you’ll need to partner with someone who is or hire a bookkeeper and meet on a weekly or
monthly basis.

If you don’t like sales, don’t open a business that requires a constant sales effort; and if you don’t have a high tolerance for risk, don’t venture into something risky.

If you don’t make good decisions quickly, don’t make decisions quickly – slow down and take your time; and if you can’t live without income for an extended period of time, choose a business that will produce income immediately or start one in your spare time.