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Are You Ready to Start a Business? Find Out With the Small Business Assessment Tool

Budding entrepreneur? How do you know when you are emotionally and financially ready to take your big business idea to the next step and make it a reality? The Small Business Assessment Tool, presented by the US Small Business Administration helps ease you into the decisions that surround getting your business started.

Naturally, a lot of thought needs to go into the process. You need to come up with a business plan, get it registered, and seek financing (which are just a few considerations). However, what comes into play goes beyond that. The Small Business Tool assesses your entrepreneurial preparedness by judging personal characteristics, skills and experience, and general readiness.

The questionnaire consists of a number of "yes" or "no" questions, beginning with "Do you think you're ready to start a business". Not to state the obvious, but you'd have to think if you're on the US Small Business Administration site, and flirting with taking the assessment, the answer is a resounding "YES!" I also couldn't help but think that other questions were a bit redundant, asking if you like to make decisions and if you are a self-starter. Clearly you've gotten as far as the questionnaire, so you have enough initiative and drive to research your business concept (and come up with one in the first place).

That aside, the SBA is not trying to dissuade you from pursuing your dreams. Whatever the results of the assessment, it provides you with helpful resources to become better informed and prepared about all aspects of running a business. It recommends free online training, provides links to business related regulations and compliance, and points you towards business centers that can help. The information is helpful, and crucial if you are serious about becoming a business owner.

Based on my experience with the Small Business Assessment Tool, I don't think that the results, positive or negative, should be the main factor in determining whether you are ready to become an entrepreneur, and open up shop with your own small business. Many of the questions were not directly relevant to me, being a freelancer with low overhead costs and no payroll. Depending upon your business idea, you may find that the results do not speak to your skills and concept directly either.

What comes next? Build upon your skills, do your research, and make sure you have the support of your loved ones since you will likely be making some financial sacrifices in the beginning. Only you can truly determine if you're ready to take the plunge and establish your small business. What else is there to say, except good luck?

Visit the Small Business Assessment Tool on the Small Business Administration website, and tell me what they had to say about your business aspirations.