Lesson 1: Starting the Evaluation Process

As a small business owner, it is important to start identifying the barriers you currently face in the world of entrepreneurship. Therefore, in this lesson we will generate an evaluation process to start to tackle these barriers. This evaluation process will assist you in recognizing areas, such as your perception and motivation, that affect goal achievement. Often underestimated, perception and motivation are critical parts to the process of business planning.

Perception, Motivation, and Self-efficacy

Perception and motivation often help determine how you create a viable business plan. In addition, your perception of how well you will perform, and the actions you ultimately take, are also critical parts to the business planning process. These two areas are connected, and intrinsically central to the concept known as "self-efficacy".

Self-efficacy is described as the “self-judgment of one’s ability to perform a task in a specific domain”. Essentially this theory supports the belief that your perception is instrumental in determining your motivation to succeed. Utilizing the theory of self-efficacy requires you to start asking key questions, such as: “What is my belief system?” and “What is my perceived ability to conquer recognized barriers?”

The Role of Agency

Now that we have discussed the theory of self-efficacy, and how it relates to business planning, we also need to introduce the bigger concept of agency. Agency is defined as "your ability to act independently", and make your own choices. Essentially, agency looks at your ability to exercise your own free will.

It is imperative to note that without a strong sense of agency, your ability to act is limited. The principle of agency is relevant to you, as a business owner, because it reveals your current capacity to take action. This ability to take action is based upon four key factors. In addition, it is important to remember that the principle of agency, and these four key factors are also instrumental in determining your motivation to succeed.

The Four Factors of Agency

Now, let's identify the four key factors of agency: intentionality, forethought, self-reactiveness, and self-reflectiveness.

Intentionality: The first factor is intentionality. Intentionality is the representation of a future course of action that one plans to perform.* Essentially, intentionality equals your ability to be proactive, and intentional in your endeavors. This intention requires that you create a plan of action. This plan of action reflects your intent to accomplish a specific task, and not merely ponder it. Intentionality is a critical component to business planning, as it indicates your ability to be purposeful, and deliberate in your actions.

Forethought: The second factor is forethought. Forethought provides the self-motivation, as well as guidance for one’s actions in anticipation of a future event.* Essentially, forethought equals your ability to be forward thinking, and prudent in your future plan of action. Forethought is important, as it is the driving force in carefully considering actions that prove fruitful in your endeavors.

Self-reactiveness: The third factor is self-reactiveness. Self-reactiveness is the performance comparison with the goals and standards that direct your actions.* Essentially, self-reactiveness is your ability to evaluate your performance against the overall achievement of your goal. It is necessary to review choices made and acted upon, versus choices considered, but not acted upon. This comparison will allow you to evaluate your progress, in relation to your actions, and the goals you have set. Self-reactiveness is important as it is the necessary element in ultimately advancing, and finally achieving your goals.

Self-reflectiveness: Self-reflectiveness is the capacity to reflect upon oneself, and the adequacies of one’s thoughts and actions.* Essentially, self-reflectiveness is your ability to reflect and ponder on your motivation. It is important that you reflect on your motives for each action step that you have taken. Self-reflectiveness is critical, as it determines the answer to "why" you are taking specific action steps in your business.

Summary Points

In conclusion, we have learned the importance of various concepts, as it relates to barriers we face in the world of entrepreneurship. Let's look at some main summary points of this particular lesson:

  • Perception and motivation are important factors that ultimately assist you in creating a viable business plan.
  • Self-efficacy is described as the “self-judgment of one’s ability to perform a task in a specific domain”.
  • Agency is defined as "your ability to act independently", and make your own choices.
  • The four key factors of agency are: intentionality, forethought, self-reactiveness, and self-reflectiveness.
  • Intentionality is the representation of a future course of action that one plans to perform.
  • Forethought provides guidance for one’s actions in anticipation of a future event.
  • Self-reactiveness is the performance comparison with the goals and standards that direct your actions.
  • Self-reflectiveness is the capacity to reflect upon oneself, and the adequacies of one’s thoughts and actions.

(*Michael Orey. “Self-Efficacy.” Introduction to Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching, and Technology Boundless, 26 May. 2016. Retrieved 19 Jan. 2017 from https://www.boundless.com/users/233409/textbooks/introduction-to-emerging-perspectives-on-learning-teaching-and-technology/learner-centered-theories-shorts-2/motivation-16/self-efficacy-102-14497/ is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

(*Morehouse R (2015) A Case for Psychology as a Human Science. J Psychol Clin Psychiatry 2(6): 00096. DOI: 10.15406/jpcpy.2015.02.00096is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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