We’ve all heard of blind spots. When you’re on the road, the blind spot is the portion of the view obstructed by the frame of your car. If a driver ignores blind spots when driving, they might get sideswiped.There are also blind spots in business. No one can see the entire picture: parts of the view are obscured. Entrepreneurs don’t have the skills to do everything equally well. Most business owners have a set of talents that have been nurtured because they are good at them. People like doing things they are good at, and tend to spend more time doing them. Conversely, it’s easy to avoid areas in which we lack talents.
Nobody can do Everything Well
When we look at legendary business leaders, it’s easy to spot strengths and weaknesses. Virgin founder Richard Branson championed the company’s strategy and vision for decades, but he left the finance, HR, accounting, and development work to other people. Steve Jobs is usually recognized as a business icon, but Jobs left the software development to others while he focused on branding, design, and marketingIn fact, most successful entrepreneurs’ skills are not limited to running a company; they are also very self-aware. A successful business owner must know how to play to their strengths and compensate for blind spots by bringing in experts to run various parts of the organization.
Start by Identifying Strengths
What part of your business do you love? Why did you start this kind of company in the first place? What activities, no matter how demanding, inspire you to get out of bed, energize you, and give you the greatest sense of satisfaction? Business owners must ask themselves these types of questions to identify their strengths. This kind of self-analysis enables entrepreneurs to become more confident about delegating other responsibilities. After all, different people love working in different parts of a company. Some people are great at HR; others are good at accounting. To scale an enterprise, the owner mustfind employees who can handle every part of the company. A successful entrepreneur must recognize personal weaknesses and hire strong leaders tohandle those parts of the business.
Generally, the activities of most firms can be divided into four quadrants: Direction, Income, Systems, and Controls, or DISC. A business owner is probably very good at one of these quadrants. They might have skills in each of them, but the goal isn’t to master all four areas. Instead, an entrepreneur must identify experts to lead each of the four areas. Once the business owner knows where their strengths lie, they can admit that they also have weaknesses, and they need to accept help in these areas.
Business owners who are good at Direction are big-picture people. People who excel at Direction are usually good at long-term planning, competitive analyses, new product or service ideas, and sharing their visions with others.They enjoy creating a vision for the organization, an inspiring mission, and a ten-year plan that gets people excited.
Income people are the sales and marketing wizards who know how to find prospects and convert them into revenue People with strong Income skills tend to be relationship builders, networkers, salespeople, and account management pros, and they can close a deal.
Systems people like details. They are organizers and doers. Business owners who excel at Systems enjoy taking care of the things that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly–even if no customers call. These people create Systems for answering emails, managing IT, and handling accounting.
Entrepreneurs who are good at Controls like to create checks and balances. They analyze performance, but they also develop fail-safes in the form of insurance, legal counsel, a good credit report, and proper employee training. Business owners who are talented at Controls enjoy analysis. What percent of sales efforts converted into income? How long do people stay at your company? What does the average sale cost?
A Successful Business Masters Each Area of DISCoverY
While a single person won’t excel in each area of DISCoverY, a business must become expert in all four areas. A business owner must find leaders to head up each area. To scale, firms must find a leader to drive the Direction of the business. Another individual will lead the Income functions. A third expert will focus on Systems, and a fourth will handle Controls. Owners oversee all four areas. And it’s natural to gravitate towards spending time on one or two specialties. However, if an entrepreneur spends a lot of time in one or two areas, that means they’re spending less time in others. Even though a good business owner must accept that they’re not good at everything, they can’t afford to ignore other areas.
People change throughout their professional lives. Things that seemed difficult in the past can become easier over time. Business owners get better at all parts of the business as they grow and expand.That’s because weaknesses are not permanent qualities. A successful entrepreneur is always looking for ways to improve their faults or compensate in ways that eliminate the shortcoming. For example, absent-minded people use calendars, phone alerts, or assistants to remind them of tasks, details, and deadlines. With suitable systems in place, we not only compensate for weaknesses, but we also eliminate them.Business owners who struggle with long-term strategy hire consultants to help develop a 1-year plan. A good accountant is a surefire way to clean up slopping bookkeeping. An experienced sales manager knows how to rectify income issues. An effective COO can ensure all facilities are in good working order.
Conquer Stage 3 Before Moving to Stage 4: The Systems Stage
In Stage 3, the business owner must bring in some important people to shore up weak spots. Sometimes revenue won’t immediately jump to cover these new expenses, so margins may be lower in Stage 3. However, as the business team grows core competencies, the corporate structure gets more robust. This lays the groundwork for the incremental growth that comes at Stage 4: The Systems Stage. Want to find out more about the7 Stages of Small Business Success? Take a look at my best-selling book, listen to my podcasts, or watch for me as a featured speaker at your next big business event. And if you want personalized coaching from an industry leader, contact7 Stages Advisors for personal assessments, coaching, and recommendations.