When entrepreneurs start down the path of building a new enterprise, they often follow textbook criteria: They turn to feasibility assessments that analyze the underlying business concept. The savviest among them use ever-more-quantitative measures of market opportunity, technical capability and financial scalability.
But aligning opportunity with personality is arguably more important. It's not uncommon for entrepreneurs to pursue a business built around their interests and yet fail to take stock of their own personal traits. These are crucial to determine an individual's potential "fit" with the day-to-day needs and demands of operating such an enterprise. The reality of this mismatch tends to set in much later -- after hard lessons and some serious soul-searching.
A few years ago, my work with the Small Business Development Center put me in contact with a personality-assessment tool that guides individuals toward specific business models, all based on their personal values and characteristics. It was intriguing -- but in retrospect, not surprising -- to apply principles of relationship matchmaking to the entrepreneurial realm.
Users primarily have adopted FranNet's Business Evaluation and Suitability Test (BEST) to help people identify key personality traits and then use those as primary deciders when shaping options for possible franchise ownership. Having completed prior personality assessments myself (Myers-Briggs and DISC among them), I'll admit I didn't expect any profound insights from this new model.
When I received my own report, I discovered my skepticism was completely unfounded. My BEST results offered some clear, subjective guidance to outline options that hadn't been evident to me before. Even more telling, I immediately connected to these concepts.
The BEST assessment provides insight into five key areas to provide the perfect match.
- Values Set and Motives: A measure of an entrepreneur’s motives in the consideration of a business as well as the core values that determine his or her ideal desired outcomes in both life and business. When values and motivations aren't aligned, it’s likely the person will end up regretting the decision to pursue the business.
- Work Style: A view into personality aspects that are pertinent to running a business, including managing time and resources. For example, a fast-paced, task-oriented work style may not translate across all industries and with all personalities. Equally, an introvert may struggle with enterprises that require a good deal of interpersonal interactions.
- Focus Preference: A measure of how a person reaches decisions and solves problems. It's incredibly important to assess one’s comfort threshold so that limit can guide and support decisions made in various business scenarios.
- Leadership Style: An identifier of personal leadership style and the ability to develop and support others. This includes establishing working processes and can help align an entrepreneur with her or his ideal employee structure. A person who tends to prefer autocratic scenarios and being solely responsible for all decisions might not be a good match to work within a franchise agreement that imposes rigid guidelines for executing tasks.
- Meta Programs: A measure of primary strategies or filters that people use to communicate, assess information and make decisions. Some people are "toward thinkers" who prefer to focus on achieving goals and taking actionable steps. Others favor more unstructured or ad hoc approaches. Meta programs further identify if a person is an "internal" or "external" processor of information and how the target enterprise may or may not align with his or her communication preference.
FranNet and America's Small Business Development Center (ASBDC) how have partnered in FranFitSBDC. The initiative offers BEST to SBDC business advisors at no cost as part of an overall program to analyze a client's business concepts. FranFitSBDC also provides complete support and training to help align entrepreneurs with the perfect business model for their personality and optimal working styles.