Consider these types of business owners:
One is dynamite at cold calling. While most cringe at the thought, he loves it and has a high success rate.
Another is a whiz at designing and engineering new products that can solve customers’ needs.
One is a master at networking. She uses her skills to connect with people and draws business to her company.
Another is a genius at finding ways to solve problems that would otherwise kill deals.
What do all of these people have in common that makes them excel at what they do? They have found a way to tap into their greatness.
You’ve probably taken one of those assessments that determine your natural skills and talents. Years ago, we developed our own method of assessing how natural skills and talents fit in with a business and use the term Natural Business Abilities to describe those traits. They are your areas of greatness, where you’re gifted and excel, that come very naturally to you and make you feel energized. When business owners are focused on these areas, they have greater success, enjoy their work more and have more energy.
To tap into your Natural Business Abilities, you must first understand your four levels of skill:
Things you’re terrible at doing. You should never touch these things because you’re rotten at doing them.
Laddie and computers are a great example. He lost untold hours of productive time over the years by trying to fix computer problems himself. He almost never managed to solve the problem, and ended up frustrated and upset. He finally admitted he was terrible at solving computer issues and now calls our IT guy whenever his computer has an issue. If you’re spending time doing things you’re terrible at, find a way to stop doing them now.
Things you’re average at doing. You can do these things adequately but it takes you a lot longer than it would take someone else and you’ll never be all that great at them. They can waste a tremendous amount of your time with only average results.
We recently talked to a business owner who was spending a large amount of time trying to manage the financial side of his business. Despite the time spent, he was doing, at best, a so-so job. Worse, it was draining his energy and taking away from what he was really good at doing. Just because you can do an average job at something does not mean you should be doing it.
Things you’re proficient at doing. These are things that don’t necessarily come naturally to you, but you’re very good at doing.
For example, we know a professional who’s exceptionally good at working with Excel spreadsheets. He has developed this skill over many years of practice, but his “greatness” lies in practicing in his professional field, which is what he really loves to do. So even though he’s highly proficient at Excel, he needs to finds ways to spend less time working with it.
Natural Business Abilities. These are your areas of greatness, the things you excel at doing and that come naturally to you — sales, marketing, designing, operations, problem solving, technology, finance, or a professional specialty. Learning comes easily in these areas, you get excited about doing them and find them fun, and they energize you. They are also generally the money-making skills and the areas where you need to be spending the vast majority of your time.
The goal is to reach a point where you’re spending at least 70 percent of your work time in areas of your Natural Business Abilities, limited time in areas of proficiency, and zero time in areas where you’re average or terrible. A gifted architect, for example, shouldn’t spend half her time doing administrative work when designing buildings is her area of greatness
If you would like to determine how to tap into what you are great at in business, try this simple exercise. Make a list of everything you do, whether it’s developing proposals, calling on prospects, paying bills or taking out the trash. Then categorize each of the tasks according to the four areas we’ve discussed. Unless an item falls under the Proficient or Natural Business Abilities categories, you need to find a way to get it off your plate.
So take a look at how you’re spending your time, make adjustments, and work towards the goal of spending 70 percent of your time doing what you do best. By tapping into your greatness, you’ll be happier and your business will be more successful.
Laddie and Judy Blaskowski are partners in BusinessTruths Consulting, Inc.