Entrepreneur Self Test – Are You Ready?

Entrepreneur Self Test – Are You Ready?

You can’t sing.

In some of the earlier days of the show “American Idol,” talent judge Simon Cowell would ungraciously dismiss candidates who, well… they really could not sing well enough to make a career of it.

Simon was needlessly brutal, but he wasn’t wrong. But what happened next was oddly fascinating. The candidates would argue that indeed, they *could* sing well enough to make a career of it. “I just know it!” It all made for good ratings, but honestly, my heart ached for the humiliated candidate.

The good news is that the qualifications for Entrepreneurship aren’t as binary.

You have attributes, habits, and natural inclinations that shape your unfair advantage as an entrepreneur. But they also predict where you’ll need the most help.

You see, most of us (especially me) are, wait for it…


We work on what we want. We work on what motivates us. And we (OK I) avoid all else like the plague.

I mean, it’s amazing the excuses and ‘tasks’ I come up with to avoid writing a blog post. Like this one. I code useful utilities. I check the stock market. Set up my calendar. Call Mom. Exercise. Log new product and business ideas. All good things, right? But the blog post? It sits until the next day. Same for the accounting side. Same for managing employees. Corporate governance (board minutes anyone?). The list goes on.

But if I have a class to teach? Oh boy. All engines on full. Hyper focus. I love love LOVE teaching and seeing the light go on when a new entrepreneur or founder ‘gets’ a concept. It’s like a drug.

And so it is for you. You have attributes, habits, and natural inclinations that shape your destiny as a founder, CEO, or executive.

And if you start a business, you might hate what you end up doing every day.

Or you might love it.

Avoid it.

Hire someone else to do it.

How can you know? Well you can make some educated predictions.

And this is what’s covered in Chapter 1 of Backward Entrepreneur (and I’ll cover enough here to, hopefully, be useful whether you have the book or not).

When I teach session on entrepreneurship, we’re sure to answer at least four important questions. The first two are “How crazy do you have to be to become an entrepreneur?” and “What will the the sign that you’re successful?”

Here are the other two, that I usually put up on a slide, and pause long enough for attendees to soak in the meaning.

Upon success, will your role still consist of doing what you love?

Can you sustain the mundane until you can pay someone else to do it?

Like in my employment interviews, the goal is to predict if you’ll be happy in your role. Makes sense, right? But so many don’t want to know. But you can know–or at least get a reasonable prediction.

Your Unfair Advantage – Your Superpowers

In business, I like to use the term unfair advantage to describe the attributes, habits, and natural inclinations that position us to dominate our markets and succeed where others struggle. Understanding your own attributes, habits, and natural inclinations is step one in identifying and nurturing your personal superpower, your unfair advantage.

Of course, it should go without saying that our unfair advantages shouldn’t be used to harm others or break laws. Suppressing others, or “crushing the competition,” is not a style of business — or being — I’m advocating.

Let’s agree that our goals range from sustainability all the way to winning a majority market share. Winning in a fair market is honorable. Harnessing your unfair advantages (and you do have them) can be a valuable force for good that improves your chances to excel, succeed, and sustain your business venture in the long run.

Backward Entrepreneur

Top 10 9 Entrepreneurial Attributes

Ranking your entrepreneurial attributes is an important first step. Decisiveness, Passion, Risk Tolerance, Focus, Vision, to name a few.

Actually, you know what?

I’ll list them all here, defined as we use them in the Chapter One assessments, so you can know ahead of time:

  • Persistence is the tendency to tirelessly try, try again, with different methods, until incremental advances are no longer evident.
  • Focus is the ability to choose which efforts to invest in, suspending all others — no matter how attractive.
  • Vision is the ability to reliably forecast a scenario that few others can predict.
  • Passion is a contagious enthusiasm that fuels persistence and influences others to see your vision.
  • Adaptability is the ability to change vision or direction when credible data requires it.
  • Risk Tolerance is the ability to continue to brave calculated risks as you refine your processes to learn what works and what doesn’t.
  • Persuasiveness is the ability to influence others either one-on-one or en masse.
  • Self-Confidence is the tendency to trust your evaluation of your own strengths and decisions.
  • Decisiveness is the tendency to choose a course of action in a timely manner, based on the available data.

Yes, that’s nine and the headline says 10. You won’t have all of them, and knowing which you don’t have will help you shape your ventures.

Natural Inclinations

Then we move on to natural inclinations. Our natural inclination is to work on what we love… what brings us joy and a thrill of life. These positive inclinations can be called our passions. But it’s also natural to avoid work or activities that bring us pain or discomfort. Maybe they’re boring, or tedious, or maybe they cause us anxiety. I love to teach receptive students. I can’t help myself, I just love to pass on things I’ve learned in conversation, classes, engagements, or any place I meet eager founders. What are your natural inclinations? Hint: What were you doing when you experienced joy, or a thrill of life, or “Flow?” Performing? Practicing hospitality? Writing code? What activities are distasteful or bring you anxiety? Managing employees? Reading contracts? Now map those to the business activities that are likely associated with your product or idea. You may need to shape your business around these.

Lastly, habits, unlike your attributes, are learned behaviors or tendencies that you’ve settled into or have intentionally developed. Because they can be learned, they’re powerful tools for overcoming weaknesses and helping you grow into your potential. I’ve correlated four habits with the most successful entrepreneurs. Two of them are continuous learning, and sharing knowledge.

If you already have your copy of Backward Entrepreneur, test yourself using the exercises in Chapter 1: Self-Assessment – Are You Ready? And read some stories about how others responded to the same questions.

The Backward Entrepreneur establishes self-awareness before investing heavily in entrepreneurship.

Its’ not ‘pass or fail’ but if you’re missing some the attributes, natural inclinations, or habits needed for your venture’s success and need to supplement those at some point, wouldn’t you want to know now?

Jump into Chapter 1 and do the exercises!

Once you’re done though, I have a hunch. That you can sing.

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