By Rieva Lesonsky
I don’t mean to be brutal, but there’s something you’re no good at–and it’s time to face up to how that might be hurting your business.
Let me explain. As business owners, we typically start our businesses based on a passion for something we love to do. Maybe it’s a hobby, an interest or a job we used to do for someone else and now want to do for ourselves. But while we may be good at that thing we have a passion for, we typically aren’t good at all the other elements that are needed to turn that passion into a business. You might be the world’s greatest lawn-care genius, but that doesn’t mean you’re the world’s greatest bookkeeper.
Since few of us are good at everything, the key to small business success is identifying what we’re not good at—and doing something about it.
Here are some key areas that are essential to business success—and where you might have a weakness:
- Accounting, bookkeeping, taxes
- Legal, incorporation, compliance, contracts
- Sales, lead generation, CRM, closing
- Marketing and advertising, market research, marketing strategy, creative
- Management, HR, hiring, operations
- Strategy, business planning, partnership, business development
- IT, website design and development
Of course, the first step is to acknowledge where your weaknesses are. Some of them may be obvious to you; others may be blind spots. Ask people you trust, whether that’s your employees, business partners or friends and family, for their honest opinions. Then listen. This might require letting go of some long-held beliefs. If you’re convinced you’re the world’s greatest salesperson, but everyone you ask says otherwise, it’s probably time to admit you might…stink.
The good news is that today, it’s easier than it’s ever been to fill in your weaknesses. While in the past you might have had to hire a full-time accountant or HR person to manage these areas, you can now choose from a wide range of options. Yes, you can still hire in-house staff. But you can also outsource to a consultant (either local or across the country), use simplified hiring tools like online job boards, or develop a team of “virtual” employees without having to spend money on office space or equipment.
Of course, another approach is to learn how to handle all (or at least some) of your weak areas yourself. You can take a class at a local community college or adult education center, enroll in the many webinars you’ll find online, or visit your local SCORE office or Small Business Development Center to get free, expert help that can make you an expert in just about every area of your business. And that is good.