Five Effective Ways To Manage Business Flaws
Managing a business demands a wide assortment of skills. There is no one person capable of competently wearing all the hats. Since everyone has weaknesses, there should be a strategy to make your deficiencies less damaging.
There are many ways to cope with your flaws. You must study well what is suitable to your situation. To give you a head start, here are five of the most effective strategies to overcome weaknesses:
Learn enough so that you would not be fooled. It is dangerous to be totally ignorant. You should at least know enough so that those who wish to deceive you would think twice lest they be discovered. This advice may run counter to the old saying, usually attributed to Alexander Pope, that “a little learning is a dangerous thing.” But there is a vast difference, as the old saying refers to your thinking that you are already an expert on the subject. This attitude breeds overconfidence and irrational decisions.
On the other hand, it is very much desirable to have enough basic knowledge to know the broad outlines that compose a topic. For example, you do not have to be a certified public accountant in order to know useful facts from financial statements. The ability to understand the important aspects of financial statements is indispensable for anyone in business. It is possible even for the worst number hater to know enough about financial statements to get by. You do not always need to be an expert to be able to make some simple conclusions. In the case of reading financial statements, even a short course on bookkeeping and accounting would go a long way to make you sufficiently proficient.
Avoiding the effort to study a crucial subject would leave you at the mercy of your adviser. Even if your adviser is honest and loyal to you, there are many situations where the decision not to study may not be favorable.
Hire or outsource work to an expert. Consider the feasibility of avoiding your weakness altogether. If you can afford it, having another person do tasks that you are incompetent in may be the only solution. In fact, there are many cases wherein you should pass on a task even if you can handle it well. It may be that your time is better spent doing something else. If it would be too costly to hire a qualified expert, you may find it feasible to outsource the task instead.
Have a partner that would complement your skills. Many successful businesses were built by partners with different strengths. Usually one is strong in the technical or management side, while the other is great at doing sales and marketing. There are many advantages to this setup. Since both of you have substantial ownership of the business, motivation is not a problem. In the case of small businesses, it would be difficult or not financially viable to hire a person with the level of expertise needed. But the offer of a partnership is a strong incentive to attract even the most brilliant expert as he knows there is a strong chance he could strike it rich.
Allocate time and effort on where you will get the most value. Regardless of whether it is a strength or a weakness, you should focus more on where there will be the best return on your effort. This is contrary to most people’s advice that automatically advocates dwelling on your strengths. While this may be correct in most cases, there are also many situations where this is not ideal. Sometimes the weakness may be the bottleneck that is holding up your progress. You must try to quantify the advantages and disadvantages of each option instead of just relying on common wisdom.
Check if technology can help you overcome your weakness. There are so many possible uses of technology in your career or in business. Just to get you started on your own needs, let me cite a few examples.
I have an acquaintance who hates driving in traffic to meet other people, but she has to market her products. She was able to do this by learning Internet marketing so that she could get clients without leaving her home. Her sales were so strong that her company could not keep up with the demand.
Another instance where technology helped was with a friend who was very weak in computing. Unfortunately, his business requires him to make numerous complicated price estimates in a few hours. Since the industry has thin profit margins and is extremely price sensitive, a slight miscalculation would lead to large losses if the price is too low, or loss in sales if the price is too high. Recognizing the significance of the problem, he had a programmer make a customized program to automatically do the computations. Although the price of the software was not cheap, he was able to recoup his investment in a few months as he was able to profitably close double the number of clients.
While everyone has weaknesses, ignoring them would make you look like an ostrich putting your head in the sand instead of facing your fears. A little research would reveal that there are so many effective ways to overcome your flaws.
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-6, Sunday, July 21, 2013. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.