Dr. Jeff Cornwall has an excellent post about the importance of self-reflection for entrepreneurs.
Beyond understanding if entrepreneurship is the right path, self-assessment helps entrepreneurs better define the ideal size and scope of the business before it even begins, by integrating their personal financial, family and other personal goals into the mix.
I even find that successful entrepreneurs with multi-million dollar companies benefit from self-assessment and self-reflection. Often they have lost track of their own goals and aspirations as the business takes on a life of its own. Many talk about becoming servants of the business rather than the business serving their needs.
Here are some of the questions that I encourage all potential and all active entrepreneurs to think about from time to time.
What gets you excited, gives you energy, and motivates you to excel?
What do you like to do with your time?
What drains energy from you in your work and in your personal relationships?
How do you measure success in your personal life?
What do you consider success in your business/career?
What are your specific goals for your personal life?
What are your goals for your business/career, including income, wealth, recognition and impact on your community?
What do you want to be doing in one year? In five years? In ten years? At retirement?
This is very important stuff. It's easy to sit back and say "I want to own my own business." We too often associate that with lots of money and the ability to set our own hours. But it is a tough road. Startups have more time than money, so instead of hiring more people you usually end up doing more yourself. Once you get things going, you have to transition from "working in the business" to "working on the business," and that isn't easy. Of course no one will ever do as good a job as you will, so it's hard to let go. But keeping focused on the things that set you on the path in the first place will help you stay on the right path long term. And that will make you successful.