Why do I need to know that?

As an entrepreneur we find ways to save money and often the upside is that we get to learn how things work along the way. For example I recently learnt how to build a website, I was pretty determined that I wasn’t going to pay someone 3 grand to create something that I felt didn’t need to be too fancy, it just needed to say what we did. The upside was that I learnt how it works, I also learnt that I didn’t want to do that again! Our new site is so much better, and I got help – you can tell, right?

Well, there are things that I can’t learn, there are things that I really, as much as I’d like to cut corners and save money, I know it ultimately won’t save me money. We see a lot of business owners do this, for all the right reasons, but what we really need to focus on is why?

As a business owner there are just some things that, once we’ve given it a crack, we need to be honest and say, I don’t know about that, but often we forget to face that fact that this should mean: “so I think I should find someone who does”. I think I should cut myself some slack and accept that I don’t need to know that – I just need to know someone who knows how to do that. We see a lot of business owners trying to do it all – why should you be good at everything??

Why do people specialise? Why do businesses that are a niche inside a niche succeed? Quite simply because they know what they are good at, and they focus on that, and it’s what the digital age has enabled, we can find a dietitian that specialises in allergies to foods with night shades – image the size of the Yellow Pages© if we listed these things today….

As business owners this provides great opportunity to help us lighten the load, however business owners are their toughest critics and often really expect too much of themselves. Let’s take an example of preparing your business strategy: there are a million free templates for this, and some of them really are great, where things come unstuck are with industry terms that as marketers or strategists we ‘get’ them, but as with your industry terms, they don’t make a lot of sense to other humans. Exhibit A: a SWOT analysis, this is our way of saying: what are you great at (Strengths); what are your competitors better at (Weakness); what have you yet to maximise within your business (Opportunities); and, where are you at risk from your competitors or industry changes (Threat)…. Simple? Even as I write this and read it back, I’m not sure it’s that easy to explain without talking specifically about your business, working through both pairings together. So the point is, if you took the time to understand the theory behind this principle, how would it impact your business; are you better off finding an expert and working it through together – if it’s of interest to you to learn, then give it a shot, but consider if it is the best use of your time?

Sit down today for 27 minutes (set a timer) and think about what you are good at? Write it down. Note down what you like doing within your business and what you don’t enjoy. Write out what you don’t have a clue about, that you think you should. Then, review your list, think about the other people in your team, what are they good at? What can you hand over to them? What do you want to learn about and find a course/event/coach who can help you learn more. Be clear about what you really need to outsource – who can help? Who are the specialists? And what return would you expect if you spent money on these people, products or solutions?

Come back to this list tomorrow and discuss it with your team – make it happen!

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