I was the go-to person. When anyone had a question at my last job, they would always come to me.
Having been there for many years I knew the ins and outs of how the company operated.
My boss coined me “Swiss Army Knife” because I could do it all. I was a jack of all trades.
It was a good feeling to be the go-to person for most things, but, as I grew in my career I started noticing everyone on my team, and others around me, had a specialty. Whereas, I was the catch all.
Don’t get me wrong, having my hands in everything was great for personal growth and development. Not to mention it was the perfect time to figure out what my strengths or competitive advantages were. But, I really wanted to focus on my specific areas of expertise. Not just be a jack of all trades, master of none.
Focus on your core competencies – you are your own business
Like a business focuses on their core competencies; you must focus on your competitive advantage or strengths.
Ultimately, you have your personal brand and it must be treated as you would treat any business you were representing.
By focusing on your competitive advantage or your overall strengths you will distinguish yourself with a unique selling proposition over the competition.
In other words, by leveraging your strengths you are intrinsically enhancing your key differentiators from the competition. Otherwise, there is no distinction between you or the other guy.
Similarly, it’s hugely important to differentiate your business from your competitors in comparable markets.
If you can’t differentiate yourself or your business, what would stop customers from doing business with your competition…? Nothing.
Companies must focus on their core competencies to survive in business.
Don’t spread yourself to thin… become an expert, not a generalist
The most common advice for small business owners is to learn to delegate the menial tasks or things that aren’t their strengths. When we think of delegation we often think of hiring an employee, contractor, or agency, but delegation can also mean automation. In fact, automation is often the most cost-effective and efficient way to delegate.
With an automated solution handling a routine process, you’ll save time that can be invested into focusing on work that aligns with your strengths.
Meaning, by spending time on menial tasks or not focused on your core competencies you are wasting time as a result of focusing on too much.
You need to get back to what’s important.
The core business and the key strengths of your business.
AKA the key money maker for the business. Not the tasks that will ultimately cost the business money. Time is money.
Time is valuable – focus on your high-value jobs only
How do you know you have lost focus and are moving away from your core competencies? Economics.
Specifically, by looking at the opportunity cost of you doing a certain task over someone else.
So, let’s say you are a photographer. You are responsible for doing shoots and post-production (eg. editing). Your total rate for shooting and post-production is $500.
It takes you 4 hours for the shoot, but post-production takes you 8 hours. This is your cost of good sold (COGS); the cost of the materials used to create the good along with the direct labor costs used to produce that good.
Given the above your average hourly rate would be $41.67 per hour ($500/(4hrs+8hrs)).
Now, let’s say you find someone who is much faster at post-production and is willing to do the job for $50. So, you have two choices (your opportunity cost) either continue to do post-production or outsource it.
If you were to outsource post-production that would free up 8 hours of your time allowing you the time to do 2 more shoots, since they only take you 4 hours. This would bring your hourly rate to $125 per hour ($500/4hrs). But, since you are outsourcing post-production you need to subtract $50 from your $500 rate. Bringing your total hourly rate to $112.50 per hour (($500 – $50)/4).
So, would you rather make $41.67 per hour or $112.50 per hour?
When you break down the economics of outsourcing in certain situations it is a no brainer. Often times though, business owners try to do everything, and sometimes that does makes sense. However, all too often economics is overlooked.
Don’t just think about pure tangible costs. Consider what your time is worth.
It is crucial, especially in the early stages of starting a business, that you focus on the core competencies of your business, rather than spreading yourself to thin.
Make the best decision for your business and your time. Don’t try to be a jack of all trades if it doesn’t make sense.
Get focused today. Use a platform that will allow you to put the spotlight back on your business and it’s strengths.
*To learn more on customizing your business’s solutions, read our Escaping the Clouds white paper