Business Resource Center

Considering a Business

Determine Your Entrepreneurial Compatibility

If you are unsure about whether or not you are ready to be an entrepreneur, online tests can help you determine your entrepreneurial readiness and aptitude. While the results of these tests cannot determine your potential success as a business owner, they can provide valuable insights about how you might engage in the entrepreneurial life. Self-examination and self-realization are the result of answering thought-provoking questions such as those found on these tests. They are also a great way to help you (and your loved ones) manage expectations about the road ahead should you transition into the life of a business owner.

The three online entrepreneur tests below consist of 20-40 multiple choice questions.

In addition to taking these tests, we recommend that you conduct your own research and talk to experienced entrepreneurs for a first-hand perspective on the dynamics of starting a business. There are many informative articles, videos, and podcasts available free of charge that can help you make a well-informed decision, and entrepreneurs are usually happy to talk about their experiences with those who are considering a similiar life path.

Generate Business Ideas

Perhaps you have considered working for yourself, but have a mental block when trying to visualize your “dream company”. Entrepreneurs start businesses for a variety of reasons. Some will realize that they can turn their hobby or interest (i.e. homemade goods, hand-made crafts or clothes, skillsets such as photography, working on cars, or cutting hair) into a profitable business. Others have started businesses by creating a product or service that solves a problem or inefficiency in society or the marketplace. Have you ever used a product or service and thought of ways it could function better? Maybe you have found a business idea!

You can generate business ideas by reading entrepreneurial magazines to learn about new technologies and the novel ways people are creating businesses across the globe. Entrepreneur magazine’s Business Idea Center is a great resource to help you match your skillset and interests with potential business options. Often, a person’s skillset may transfer between different industries, and the diversity of ideas and knowledge you bring to the table may possibly be used to create business opportunities.

If you are interested in commercializing a new technology, you can explore opportunities in licensing intellectual property (IP) by becoming familiar with technology commercialization (technology transfer) programs. These programs enable entrepreneurs to have access to technology developed at the national laboratories and universities in the state. For more information, visit the BRC's Technology Commercialization page

Vet Your Business Idea

Before you begin planning your business, you will want to vet your idea. There are a few important questions that must be answered affirmatively before spending any more time with it. This process is important because it reveals whether or not you are working with a potentially profitable idea that is desirable to a sizeable market.

You can ask…

  • Does my product or service solve a problem?
  • Is it something consumers would pay for?
  • Is it scalable (i.e. you can sell five hand-made scarves, but what about orders for 50,000) and repeatable (i.e. also called “sustainable”; for instance, you can only sell the moon rock that fell into your backyard once)?
  • Can it be sold in a neutral venue, such as a flea market, consignment shop, or crowdfunding website (see below for a description of crowdfunding) to determine market interest or lack thereof?
  • Does my product or service compete with other “solutions”? If so, is mine different enough to create value that others cannot?
  • What are my blind spots? (It is helpful to get feedback from a trusted advisor on your idea.)

The questions above are a few that are important, but you may discover others that are more relevant to your idea. Conducting your own research and asking your own questions is an important skill that entrepreneurs must develop.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a campaign you create for your product or service, post on a crowdfunding website (such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo), and promote to the general public. It usually involves a short video that explains your offering and shows people why they should be interested. These campaigns generally last one to three months and you set a monetary goal reflecting the amount you will need to develop your product or idea. Your campaign should be compelling enough that people “back” your idea through various tiers of giving, for which they receive a “reward” from you in exchange.

Many people have used crowdfunding as a way to both test demand for their products or services on the market and raise funds for their development. A great resource for developing a crowdfunding campaign is The Crowdfunding Bible, which is available online for free. It outlines the types of projects that are most suited to crowdfunding, how to set up a campaign, and the differences between the various crowdfunding websites so you can determine if this is a worthwhile option for you.