Self Evaluation

The questions below are the kind that we suggest you ask yourself before trying to start a new venture. There are no right or wrong answers necessarily. Our intent is for you to think and plan before you jump into the abyss of venturing—a soft landing is vital.

If our questions stimulate new thinking, they have served their purpose. For more on our thinking see note at the bottom of this page.

Inventorship is as much art as science or business, and certainly involves more than just curiosity and resourcefulness. To be a successful entrepreneur also requires a temperament fit for the task in addition to the basic business skills. What follows are some questions we ask ourselves in trying to improve our own inventive processing.

What motivates me?

How do I motivate other people?

What motivates just about everyone?

How do I handle criticism?

How do I criticize others?
* Am I results-oriented?
* What are my most significant career achievement.

Do I shoot from the hip?
* Am I good at it?
* Am I creative?
* How do I know?
* What creative things have I done?
* What is the difference between creativity and resourcefulness?

Is my workplace
* Always neat?
* Order within disorder?
* Total Chaos?

How do I resolve conflicts?
* Between colleagues?
* With an employee?
* With me boss?
* Between genders?
* Between ethnic groups?

Am I risk averse?
* What percentage of my personal resources am I willing to risk on a new venture?
* How much equity would I share with partners?
* If I am not risk averse, do I have a clear idea why not?

Am I an activist?
* Do others see me that way?

How do I handle a dozen things at once?

How do I avoid making enemies?

Have I ever fired anyone?

How would I handle a partner who is counterproductive?

Am I a sharp negotiator?
* If so, what are my secrets?

Should form ever come before substance?
* If so, when?

How energetic am I?
* Why or why not?

What do I mean by multinational corporation?

Would I like to run a multinational corporation?
* If so, why?
* What is modernization?
* Do I understand of the cultures in those parts of the world I expect to do business in?

What makes teamwork work?
* Are most people team players?
* Given a goal, how do I go about selecting team members?

If I could retire, what would I do with the rest of my life?

Can most people be trusted?
* How do I know?

What is my leadership style?
* How important is it to lead from the heart?
* From a dedicated follower, haw far am I up the scale to a dedicated dictator?
* What has been my history in leading people?

In a debate, do I ever close down discussion?
* Why?
* How do you proceed from there?
* How do I deal with other people who do?

What is generally meant by leadership from below?

* Do I understand that term?
* Describe the potential problems and benefits.

What is creativity?
* What kinds of talent, thinking and temperament are required for creativity?
* Which is more inmportant, execution or creativity?

Am I now employed?
* If so, what would it take to get me started on my own?

Is my name on any patent? Do I own any?

Am I known by my friends and colleagues as a resource person?

What kind of traits in a partner would I look for in a new venture?

Have I ever started a business?
* Did it succeed?
* If so, why?
* If not, why not?

In what ways does a new venture differ from an established business?

Would I ever hire a relative to work for me?
* If so, why?
` * If not, why not?

What are the most important rules for running a business?
* How important are rules?
* How imprtant is an organization chart?

What was my biggest mistake.
* Did I handle it with grace and learning?

How do I handle mistakes by others?

What will the world be like in 2015?
* What do I expect to be doing then?

In a typical job situation, rank the importance of: skills, personality, character, other attributes.
* Discuss reasons.

Am I good at reading people I have just met?
* If so, discuss why.
* If not, do I have a partner who is?

Would making a career out of my hobby ruin it?

What are the most important traits for successful entrepreneurship?
* How do I measure up against my own ideals?

Do I know any entrepreneurs?
* If they are successful, what are their secrets?
* If not, why did they fail?
* What were the key features leading to whichever result?

Have I ever personally dealt with financial institutions?
* If so, in what capacity?

How do (or would) I respond if a business I started failed?

How do I identify people I who will help me start and run a business?
* How do I conduct job interviews?
* What topics and issues would I cover?
* What do I look for in the must categories?
* How do I find, identify, and hire the people most fit for the job?

The above is self-scoring; you are your own judge. Do you measure up to your own standards?


There is, of course, more to entrepreneurship than the above—like a need for independence, exploration or discovery--even dominance and desire to leave a mark. We do not deal with why we are driven here. Rather we review those aspects of entrepreneurship that lead to creativity, innovation and follow through.

Your entrepreneurship can be summed up as the whole of your creative makeup, character, business skills, how you relate to people and to yourself (temperament), and how you interact with a market economy that permits the individual to innovate and be rewarded for same. No book of "solutions" arising from experience will compensate for lack of insight into these matters.

In a similar vein, each personality is different, and how we deal with one is not necessarily best for all. Given that there are at least hundreds of traits of temperament, it follows that no one "bible" could possibly deal with all the possible situations and combinations that arise. Identifying and dealing with them effectively is often formidable and requires considerable experience with individual and group dynamics.

Given that business is a dynamic situation, constantly changing, the lineup that is best tactically for today may be obsolete tomorrow. Startups require flexibility in personnel lineup. Strategically, as an organization, you also must stay in touch with where we are in the total scheme of things. Demographic and economic trends change the landscape by subtle drift or outright paradigm shifts.

Tactics and strategy require similar thought processes but different foci and temperaments. To meet these certain eventualities, you need a learning organization, capable of fast foot work and change in a tumultuous sea. This challenge requires the best in everyone and the best from everyone.

By your individual involvement, integrity, candor and trust you can develop a feeling of oneness with colleagues, a feeling where you, by nature, debate each challenge in open forum and proceed in the best way you collectively know how. This does not always mean consensus. It does mean acting in the wisdom born of trust in others who know best about certain things when necessary.

If it becomes apparent that a mistake was made, it matters less that you made one than it does how you deal with it. You cannot change the fact that the mistake happened, but if you deal with it honestly and openly in effecting corrections if/as possible, you will gain much in goodwill from colleagues.

To learn from a mistake requires the root cause be faced and examined. Repeating a mistake out of "pride" or "protecting an investment" thinking is anathema. Rather, you must learn and profit from mistakes made. That usually means finding the real underlying cause and effectively dealing with it. Involvement, integrity, candor and trust lead to free debate and wise decision-making in learning organizations.

For a comprehensive check list see Exploring Entrepreneurship

If you are really serious, see Startupnation

> back to top