Is Entrepreneurship Right for You? 9 Professional Assessment Tools
October 1, 2012
The road of entrepreneurship can be difficult at times, to say the least. Every successful entrepreneur has asked themselves at one point or another, “Did I make a mistake? Should I even be trying to start my own business?”
Now there is a personality assessment that will tell you the answer!
Alright, just kidding. It isn’t quite that easy. But there are a number of fascinating personality tools that can help you answer that question.
Taking one of these work-style assessments can do a lot more than help you choose a career path. They can help you identify strengths and weaknesses, hire the right people, and build better teams. As you gain self-knowledge, you will have more insight into how you can perform at your best, plus how you can help others excel, too.
Want to take an assessment for free? Simply leave a comment answering the thought-provoking question at the end, and you will be entered to win 1 of 10 FREE Prevue assessments or 1 of 10 FREE PAVF assessments. That’s 20 FREE assessments up for grabs!
1. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality, is one of the better-known instruments. About 1.5 million people take this tool each year, says Jennifer Selby Long of The Selby Group. Long has administered and interpreted more than 2,000 tests in her 18-year management consulting practice and is also a past president of the Association for Psychological Type International.
“The MBTI indicates your likely patterns in gathering information, making decisions, managing your energy, and interacting with the outside world,” says Long. “If you learn about your unconscious blind spots, energizers, and energy drainers, you can use this knowledge to gain an edge over your competitors.”
But be warned: MBTI is just one evaluative instrument. “The danger of using just one tool and getting just one opinion is that a person’s hard-wired personality is just one dimension of what a successful entrepreneur would be,” advises Malcolm Munro of Total Career Mastery. “It’s a good starting point, but without some advice around the results, it might mean some potential superstar entrepreneurs may not pursue the career, and wannabes jump in and quickly fail.” Munro’s advice? Seek a professional to help understand the 93-question MBTI assessment.
2. Prevue HR Systems
Prevue HR Systems measures abilities such as learning speed plus interests, motivations, and personality, says Nathaniel Barr, the company’s marketing coordinator. Companies such as Honda and 3M have used Prevue to find and hire employees.
When it comes to budding entrepreneurs, the Prevue assessment “can give you an idea of how you’ll respond, engage, and handle the stress of starting a business,” says Barr. And as staffing your company becomes critical to growth, incorporating an assessment into your hiring process can lead to smarter hiring decisions.
The Prevue team also believes its assessment may just improve the odds of a startup securing venture capital. “We’re finding that one of the biggest challenges of entrepreneurs/start-ups is getting venture capital or angel investors. Typically the area that receives the biggest scrutiny from a VC is the team. If you can prove to a VC that you have objectively evaluated your team in terms of their capabilities and fit, you’re more likely to receive funding,” Barr explains.
3. The Entrepreneur Equation
The Entrepreneur Equation is a New York Times bestselling book that provides “a bevy of exercises and assessments to help you assess your personality vis-à-vis entrepreneurship, as well as your mindset, timing and the particular opportunity,” says author Carol Roth. She has also put together an interactive online quiz to see how your personality compares with the popular profile of today’s successful entrepreneurs.
Why are personality tests so important to an aspiring entrepreneur? “Sometimes it’s hard for someone to see the forest through the trees. [Assessments] help individuals get in touch with what their core competencies are and how those may overlap with what’s needed to take on running a business,” says Roth.
And while personality is involved in your success, it’s not the only defining factor. Timing always plays a role, she says. “You may be averse to financial risk currently, but that’s something you may be able to overcome if you saved up enough prior to opening a business. Not all the characteristics are static.”
4. The StrengthsFinder 2.0 Assessment
The StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment by New York Times bestselling author Tom Rath—who leads Gallup’s workplace research and leadership consulting—identifies your top five talents and provides strategies to apply your strengths. When you purchase the hardcover book, a bound envelope gives you an access code to take the assessment online.
Jason McClain, founder and CEO of McClain Concepts, has built and sold over a dozen companies. He studied the book and discovered his strengths were “spot-on.” Turns out that McClain’s strengths include Activator, Ideation, Strategic, Command, and Positivity, which undoubtedly helped him build his companies.
Yet McClain knows that others have contributed to his success, so he uses StrengthsFinder 2.0 as part of his hiring strategy by requiring candidates to take the assessment. He believes “hiring people with different strengths creates a company with the ultimate corporate strength.”
5. The PAVF Assessment
The PAVF assessment, a proprietary personality tool administered by Career Coaching International, describes “how you are wired,” says Tim Ragan, a principal at CCI. Each letter stands for one of four personality types or groupings; P = Producer, A = Analyzer, V= Visionary and F = Friend. Ragan highlights the fact that PAVF results incorporate work related terminology. “We use terms such as ’producer‘ and ’visionary,’ which most people understand. Other tests use more esoteric descriptors such as ‘sensing’ and ‘judging.’”
Another benefit of PAVF is the straightforward results: a lay person can interpret how they fit in with their co-workers. Ragan observes, “It‘s not just about your personality, but how your personality meshes with the personality of the rest of the team and company.”
Ragan also cautions against using one test to determine one’s fate. “It’s an approximation… It’s useful for starting good conversations about how people like/want to work, and why they may be having issues with their careers, bosses, work teams.” He reminds entrepreneurs that there isn’t one “right” personality for a small business owner.
Teamability focuses on roles and measures how people will connect with others. “Team spirit is no longer a mystery,” says CEO Dr. Janice Presser, who created the product with Dr. Jack Gerber at The Gabriel Institute.
Their proprietary assessment reveals “how people will perform when working with others to solve problems, overcome obstacles, and achieve common goals,” Dr. Presser notes. “Teamability reports are positive. They will tell you the way in which you will best contribute.”
Survey-based tests don’t always directly measure what happens when someone is involved in a team activity. “This is why Teamability offers a valuable perspective on individual work style preferences, job satisfaction, and also on the structure and development of teams. It gives specific, actionable information to managers, helping them align job responsibilities with a person’s best mode of team contribution.” The basic Teamability course is online and is free, including an individual report.
7. Professional Dynametric Programs
Professional Dynametric Programs (PDP) is the primary tool used by the strategic consultants at Vision Alignment to coach executives in leadership development, communication style and hiring practices. According to Patty Azar, chief strategy officer of Vision Alignment, “This survey not only tells them who they are, but also how they must act to drive success. It shows them the impact of not being their authentic selves and the toll it can take professionally and personally.”
Azar echoes the sentiment of the other consultants. “No decision should be made based on only one tool.” Azar also cautions against assessments which empathize your short-comings in an effort to get you to try to overcome them. “People should build and work based upon their strengths – NOT based upon overcoming their weaknesses.”
8. The FourSight Thinking Profile
The FourSight Thinking Profile deals with your problem-solving and innovation style, says Susan Robertson, an innovation consultant and principal of Ideas To Go. Robertson says there are 4 phases necessary for successful problem-solving—Clarify the problem, Ideate potential solutions, Develop the chosen idea, and Implement the action– and each of us has a preference for one or more of these phases. “Understanding your preferences will help you avoid the pitfalls of potentially spending too much time and attention on the phases you prefer and short-changing the other necessary elements that may not come naturally to you.”
Robertson stresses how best to use assessments and interpret the results. “My philosophy would be that you should use them as tools to help guide you in how you approach what you want to do, so that you do it as effectively as possible and so you’re aware when you may need to confer with someone who has different strengths. You should never let these assessments dictate what you can or cannot do.”
9. Smart Work Assessments’ Self-Employment Profile
Smart Work Assessments’ Self-Employment Profile is a personality assessment that provides insight on how your characteristics influence your success in a self-employed career, says Douglas Garner, partner at Smart Work. It includes a complete analysis of the key characteristics that most influence entrepreneurial success and then recommends your unique self-employed career strategy.
Some of the distinguishing characteristics highly correlated with entrepreneurial success include: one’s inherent need for structure and systems, interest in learning, managing rejection, and prospecting. The Smart Work Self-Employment Profile “recommends your unique self-employed career strategy and development plan by ranking inherent characteristics against the requirements of the four major self-employed career options: agent/representative, consulting/contract, small business and franchises.” For example, if you are a person who craves and thrives in a structured environment, owning a franchise may be a good fit. On the other hand, if structure feels stifling and constricting to you, then operating a franchise will feel limiting and frustrating to you.
Personality assessments may not be a crystal ball, but they do provide profound insights into who you are as an entrepreneur and as a person. The results from assessments will equip you with tools to grow, strengths to develop, and direction when considering a change in your career path. And best yet, they can even help you answer that nagging question, “Is entrepreneurship right for me?”
Don’t forget! We’re giving away a total of 20 personality assessments (valued between $10 and $200 each). Entering is easy – all you have to do is answer this question in the comments below in the next 48 hours:
What question do you have about yourself that you would like to answer with a personality assessment?
Plus, the first 10 people to write a blog on their website in response to this post and include a link to it in a comment below will automatically win!