Monday, April 3, 2017

Know your weaknesses, play to your strengths

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. I do. You do.

The question is not do you have weaknesses. The questions are:

1) Do you know what they are?
2) What do you do about them?

If you are brutally honest with yourself you will acknowledge those things where you are not that strong. In my work with budding entrepreneurs one area they are consistently lacking is... wait for it... Finances. Oh, they are great at their craft. They are passionate about their idea and their business. They KNOW it will help save the world, or at least make it a little better.

But when asked about the numbers they become meek and unsure about their business. Sometimes they will admit this, but often they ignore it as an area where they need help. The advice I give them is two fold. First, learn how to understand the numbers. Develop that weakness so it is not so weak. Look at the numbers every day until you can speak and listen to what they mean intelligently.

Second, build a relationship with a good, trusted accountant. Get to know that person and understand their language. Learn how to talk with them.

For some people, the numbers are their strength. To them I say, Awesome! But, I then ask, what are your growing edges? Where do you need help? Could it be marketing? Could it be people skills? Could it be recognizing new opportunities?

Know what your area of need is and find a way to strengthen it. Build up your own skill, and build a relationship with someone who can assist. Hire them if necessary.

Ultimately, this is about self understanding. Self Knowledge. Successful entrepreneurs are very self aware. If you are not sure what your are ask a trusted friend. As your business associates. Ask people you trust where you need help. Also ask them what they perceive your strength to be. Ask them to be honest with you.

But do not only trust them. Go to an objective source. Below are two books I recommend. They can help you go through a process in which your strengths (and conversely, your weaknesses) are highlighted. Once you understand what you are good at, you can focus on that and have other people take care of those things where you can use a little help.