In our article Recipe for Business Success, we covered required skills and methods to supplement or defer when funds were tight during start-up.  Several people asked for a tool to assess the skills and develop specific plans to cover.  We like simple so we came up with a simple series of steps.

  1. Inventory required skills – Determine which skills will be needed through the early stages of your business (first two years). We suggest you break down in 1/2-year segments.We will label them 1:“Entry”, 2:“Assessment”, 3:“Preparation” and 4:“Launch”.For each segment, list the skills that will be required during that stage.  If you’re having trouble identifying the skills, think through all of the tasks and deliverables during that stage and then for each, identify the skillset required to complete.  Combine the skillsets or separate based upon possible sources of those skills (e.g., family member, accountant, etc.).
  2. For each stage, list the skills in a spreadsheet along with your assessment of how proficient you and/or your staff at in that skill. It should look something like this:Skills Radar Chart Data
  3. Highlight the skills and skill assessment and select “Insert”, “Radar Chart”. The result should look similar to this:Skills Radar Chart


Through this exercise, you highlight where the voids are in the early stages of your small business.  Now you can determine which of the skills can be deferred as described in “Recipe for Business Success”, learned through free resources like SCORE, or plan to outsource those skills based upon your available budget.

You will find that a couple of early hours invested in this skills assessment exercise will avoid surprises later and provide you sufficient time to acquire the necessary skills ahead of when they will be needed.

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Dan Gillingham is a retired executive, business owner and is currently volunteering as a small business counselor and mentor with SCORE

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