Aligning Your Personal Vision with One for Your Business
Every entrepreneur brings different skill sets to the table when planning their business. Self-evaluation is often a difficult but essential step in the journey to successful business ownership. Let’s look at how an entrepreneur’s personal vision for success interacts with their vision for the business.
Your Personal Vision
Identify your passion.
First, what are you passionate about? What truly interest you? What will keep you up at night, thinking and working, long after you should be asleep? In my work as a consultant with the KSBDC, I often start to ask very critical questions if I don’t see this passion in a potential entrepreneur. Aligning your vocation with your avocation is one of the most satisfying things you can do.
Identify your skill sets in this field.
Once you know what your avocation is, you need to decide how personally qualified you are to pursue it. You may have a passion for one thing, but lack the inherent skills that would make this an appropriate choice for your vocation. It’s time to ask yourself some hard questions. Are you naturally intuitive and insightful when it comes to working with others? Do you have an analytical mind that can spot problems and come up with solutions? Do you have the people skills to convince people you have the answers to their questions? Taking a long, hard look at yourself is an essential first step in starting a business.
Assess your training/education.
Once you’ve identified your inherent skills and talents, it’s time to investigate how well you’re prepared to go into this field based on your formal training and education. It may turn out that your natural skills are enough to qualify you to jump into a profession with both feet- for example, dog grooming does not require a degree or certificate- but in many cases you will need to have a credential, academic or trade, or some sort of formal proof that you are qualified to do what you want to do.
Evaluate your experience.
Likewise, experience often matters- sometimes even more than a formal education. As has often been noted, Bill Gates never graduated from Harvard. Instead, he took his talent for programming and his experience experimenting with computer languages to found his own software company, Microsoft. The rest is history.
Assess your lifestyle goals.
How you want to live your life is a big part of your vision. Are you willing – or even eager- to devote 60+ hours a week to your business? Or is your ultimate goal to leave the running of your day-today operations to someone else while you relax on your sailboat? Do you want to work out of your home, or do you wish to establish a corporate presence that employs multiple people? The more you can articulate this aspect of your vision, the more prepared you will be later to identify the actual goals and milestones for the business.
Articulate your financial dreams.
Finally, there is the very important question of money: you may simply be hoping to get enough to support yourself (and your family) and save sufficiently for retirement. Or you may be more ambitious, and have visions of accumulating real wealth. Whatever your goals, it’s best to articulate them upfront as part of your vision so you can plan your business accordingly. These financial dreams will translate into reality-based financial projections in the written business plan.
Understanding that these are hard questions to ask of ourselves, I’m here to help as you walk the journey of entrepreneurship. I have a simple checklist of questions for potential entrepreneurs that I’m happy to share with you. Please shoot me an email or give me a call and we’ll set up a time to get started! Contact Vallorie Henderson, Management Consultant at the Louisville SBDC, (502) 625-0123or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In February, Vallorie spoke at Mayor Greg Fischer's press conference about Louisville Forward's Craft Entrepreneurship Program. In partnership with Etsy, the city offers the program to empower artisans to discover pathways to entrepreneurship through an online marketplace.
Louisville SBDC Consultant Vallorie Henderson with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
April is a recent graduate of the program. She creates hand-crafted children's clothing. Through funding by KIVA, she was able to acquire the equipment and materials she needed to turn her talent into a small business.
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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of SBA. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact your local service center to make arrangements.