The Entrepreneurial Skills Matrix is an excellent tool for self-reflection. After completing this exercise, carefully analyze the results and set goals for yourself and your business. Think about the types of businesses or industries that would benefit from your current skills. Is your business included? Would your business struggle because of the skills you lack? What steps can be taken to leverage your strengths in support of your business, and create a plan to address areas for improvement?
As a first step, use the matrix to build self-awareness and an understanding that your business will need to have these skills within it, in some capacity. It’s important for you (the entrepreneur) to identify your strengths and then consider how to bring in complementary skills that you may not already have. Depending on your goals and stage of business, this could be through hiring full-time employees, contracting with subject matter experts, engaging interns, etc.
Completing this simple but important tool will prepare you for an informed conversation with your VtSBDC advisor and help you build a strong team. Before getting started, be sure to review the glossary of terms you’ll see in the matrix.
Desire: Being a business owner aligns with your passion, you constantly are thinking how you and your business can be bigger and bolder, in order to accomplish your vision.
Persuasive: The ability to convince others to believe in your mission and vision.
Energetic: Thriving on a busy schedule. You have the ability to multitask and enjoy having a lot of things on your “to do” list.
Self-Disciplined: You do not need outside forces to tell you what to do, you can hold yourself accountable and are intrinsically motivated to reach your goals.
Thrive on Ambiguity: You can create your own guidelines, in fact you prefer being able to make your own rules. You don’t allow uncertainty to derail your plans.
Perseverance: Hard times make you work harder, you will acknowledge and face a problem as it arises.
Responsible: You will get the job done. People feel comfortable depending on you because they know you follow though.
Problem Solver: You look at obstacles as an opportunity, you’ll take what you have and make the most of a situation. You put others at ease by working through a challenge.
Value of Money: In situations you start by thinking about the top and bottom line. You think in terms of financial payoffs and see the importance of thinking about financing at every step.
Independent: You are not afraid to take on a task by yourself. This does not mean you are unwilling to ask for help, but you are comfortable being autonomous.
Positive/Optimistic: You are not easily frustrated; you point out the good in each situation and rally others around your hopeful outlook about the future.
Areas of Improvement
Perfectionist: You are looking for everything to line-up perfectly. This shows you care, but it can cause you to fixate on tasks.
Impatient: “All good things take time” is not your motto. You want immediate payoff for decisions and everything to be quick paced.
Poor People Judgment:. You have a difficult time identifying the true character and skills of a person, which prohibits you from finding the right people for the right position.
Trouble with Criticism: You know it is important to see areas you can improve in, but you get bogged down and have trouble taking it objectively.
Lack of Knowledge: You don’t know what you don’t know. You are missing the vocabulary or ability to see industry trends and may be lacking ‘formal’ business education.
Passive Leadership: You are not one who likes to be in charge. You choose to let others take the lead if possible.
If you are having trouble filling out the Entrepreneurial Skills Matrix, consider starting with a guided strengthsfinder test. Gallup CliftonStrengths is a trusted, comprehensive option but you can also use one of the many free assessments available online.
As a busy business owner, you may feel like you don’t have the time to do this exercise; however, getting to know yourself is one of the most important investments you can make. Understand your skills as well as your gaps so you can build an effective team to support you. Once you’ve filled out the matrix, work with your VtSBDC advisor to learn how to best ‘flex’ your strengths.
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