Professional self-assessment: analyzing strengths and weaknesses with practical examples
If you have decided to go on your own or are oriented to do so, you must know that there is a fundamental preliminary step to ensure the success of your new personal business: it is the so-called self-assessment.
Only once you have properly examined your strengths and become aware of your weaknesses, in fact, you could say that you are really ready to start your startup.
To take this potentially revolutionary step for your life, you must have specific skills and qualities or, alternatively, you must be able to acquire them in time. A practical approach, especially in the very early stages of starting a new business, is essential: you must therefore know precisely how to fill in a self-assessment form.
Self-assessment: what it is and what it is used for in the world of work
Before deepening in detail what are the skills and qualities you need to have to successfully start your personal business, it is advisable to clarify what self-assessment is and what it is for in the world of work, a practice that has now become increasingly common in different business and professional fields.
Specifically, it consists of a form that companies and employers can periodically request from their employees, in order to keep under control the various aspects that contribute to defining the productivity of their collaborators and to more easily identify possible critical issues. Similarly, the self-assessment form is, however, a very useful expedient also (if not above all) for those who intend to start their own startup. This is your case.
Despite the differences related to particular professional areas, objectives and results are the recurring aspects in every example of work self-assessment: generally, the self-assessment forms that companies submit to their employees are presented in the form of a questionnaire and contain some grids to be fill in, where it is possible to list the achievements. Feel free, however, to customize your self-assessment as you see fit in view of your new professional adventure.
To best draft your self-assessment sheet you need to take the time to analyze in depth what your strengths are (i.e. the skills and personal qualities that you can exploit for your business) and your weaknesses (i.e. negative aspects that could get in the way of the success of your business). Not only that: remember to take your interests into consideration as well, in order to evaluate whether or not these can be included in some way in your new exciting professional challenge.
Filling out the self-assessment form is an individual process, but you can also conduct it with the help of your friends and relatives: an external opinion, in fact, can help you objectify your experiences and create an even more faithful representation to the reality of talents and defects that characterize your person.
You must also know that professional self-assessment must also be contextualized over time. This is because, as Henry Ford said, one of the historic founders of the Ford Motor Company (still today one of the largest automobile manufacturing companies in the world):
“Success lies in having precisely those skills required in that instant”
This means that certain qualities of yours may prove useful in one circumstance, but not in others. The same goes for those who, at this moment, may seem too big flaws to you.
That’s not all: for the success of a business it is necessary to offer the right product at the right time, that is, precisely when it is required by the market. The self-assessment for work, therefore, to be truly effective, must also be accompanied by an analysis of the reference market and the way the competition operates, possibly even with the help of professional advice.
If you want to start your own business but want to move with caution to take the right steps for you, you can always start a side hustle (ie a business parallel to your employee job), then reducing “stable” working hours over time as your business grows. This time gained can prove to be very valuable to deepen all the aspects mentioned so far.
Now that you have a clearer idea of what it means to fill out a self-assessment form, it is useful to dwell on why it is necessary to do it: as already highlighted, this is a fundamental step if you want to set up on your own and successfully start your own business independently.
Looking back with a critical spirit, in fact, allows you to live your present and your future with greater clarity and, consequently, helps you make more informed decisions. Not only that: a correct self-assessment also allows you to have clearer ideas about what your goals and your future business model are.
More specifically, putting pen to paper your strengths and how you managed to achieve certain results or overcome any critical issues makes you more aware of your skills and helps you make the most of them in the future. Not only that, all this also increases your self-esteem, in a moment of your life when self-confidence is a fundamental spring to achieve all the ambitious goals that you have set for yourself by deciding to set up on your own.
At the same time, highlighting your weaknesses allows you to promptly recognize some obstacles that could arise between you and the goals you have set, thus giving you the opportunity to intervene in time in order to stem any possible problem.
It is therefore evident that it is necessary to draw up your own self-assessment form with the utmost honesty and the right amount of self-criticism (without, however, putting aside the right pride for the results you have achieved so far).
Let us now see, point by point, the various sections that make up the self-assessment form.
The analysis of the strengths in a self-assessment sheet focuses, in particular, on professional skills, academic skills and personal characteristics.
As regards professional skills, it is possible to mention, for example, the ability to manage a group of employees, to make decisions (even difficult ones) in a short time and to find timely solutions to any problems. On a more practical level, then, it is also necessary to know how to prepare a financial balance.
It is important to know how to follow the negotiation and negotiation phases with customers. In this last regard, you must know that, however original or ingenious your idea may be, if you want to turn it into reality but do not have the financial resources to do so, you must find investors who will grant you the necessary funds. Could you sell snow to the Eskimos? This is a big point in your favor: the ownership of language is, in fact, one of the decisive academic skills in this area because it can prove very useful to complete the work of convincing even the most skeptical investors.
In addition to the property of language, other academic skills to be necessarily taken into consideration when completing one’s self-assessment form are the calculation ability (for the aforementioned financial report, but not only) and any artistic skills.
Creativity, curiosity, determination and energy are, on the other hand, the personal qualities that combine to form the perfect startupper. Do you recognize yourself in this profile?
As already pointed out, emphasizing the aspects of yourself that could hinder your new business is also very important. Among the main weaknesses that could undermine your dream of successfully starting a startup, in this historical moment, stand out the inexperience in the installation of IT systems, the lack of knowledge in the software field and the lack of familiarity with the most popular social media (and those on the launch pad). More generally, as already mentioned, the lack of experience in accounting management also weighs on the self-assessment.
On a personal level, however, some aspects of character, such as impulsiveness, insecurity and superficiality, or specific needs, such as the need to look after their children or to live in a specific city, represent weaknesses. Analyzing your personal situation, also in relation to those around you, is therefore essential because it allows you to neutralize possible future problems.
Strengths and weaknesses are not the only aspects to take into consideration: your personal interests, in fact, are able to make the difference for the success of your new professional adventure.
Specifically, you need to be clear about what you like to do and what are the issues you are most passionate about, but also with who you love to spend your time with (as well as, of course, your family). Another crucial question you need to ask yourself is the following: what have I learned from my personal hobbies? Indeed, it is important to understand how you can leverage these skills in your new business.
Speaking of skills, it is useful to remember that we have already mentioned several times which are the most requested to successfully start a startup. Not only that: we also highlighted the need to carry out self-assessment with the utmost objectivity. In this scenario, the concepts of hard skills, soft skills and transferable skills come into play.
By hard skills, specifically, we mean all those skills and qualifications that have been acquired in a formal way and which, therefore, can be easily demonstrated through official certificates and quickly assessed. These include, for example, the educational and professional path, the acquired qualifications and language skills.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are personal skills developed spontaneously and which can be decisive for the positive outcome of a professional activity. Examples are creativity (can you think, as the English say, “out of the box”?), Proactivity and problem solving skills, that is, knowing how to solve any problems in the fastest, most effective and painless way.
Ultimately, a perfect self-assessment sheet must pay particular attention to what are commonly referred to as transferable skills. These are qualities linked to one’s character and acquired or perfected over time thanks to personal and / or professional experiences, which can be applied in different roles and work environments. Leadership or organizational skills are an example of this.
Very often, the decision to go on your own and start a new startup generates anxiety, especially if you decide to start a new professional activity independently in a totally different sector than the one you have always been used to. The lack of specific experience, however, shouldn’t scare you at all: transferable skills represent your secret weapon to achieve success even in a completely new and unknown field for you. For this, you must know how to best identify them in your personal self-assessment form.
Fill out the self-assessment form of your entrepreneurial skills through the EntreComp website, that is the Italian community that uses the European framework of entrepreneurial skills; The EntreComp (Entrepreneurship Competences) is the reference framework for entrepreneurial skills, a bridge between the worlds of education and work, divided into 3 macro areas consisting of 15 key skills, which develop 442 learning outcomes.