For many years I have been fascinated by the difference between the people and companies that just survive and those that are extremely successful.

In many cases, it is just the leader (Owner/CEO) doing what they are good at and getting help to do what they are not good at.

Companies that are not actively using external parties to help review their decisions and activities are seriously disadvantaged. Nearly every business gets external accounting and legal advice. The modern business world demands you have knowledge and skills across a whole range of disciplines. This assistance comes in many guises from business planning, marketing, and business development, mystery shopper campaigns, customer research, supply chain, and product development, to strategic management, leadership coaching, exporting, staff training, communication, and public relations advice to name but a few. Even if your circumstances or finances demand you do many of these tasks in-house, it is extremely worthwhile to use external support to validate your work and review your progress. 

I suggest you create two lists:

  1. Identify what you are good at and what you get really excited about doing.
  2. Identify all the tasks your business needs.

Now highlight all the things on the first list that are on the second list, which will leave you a sub-list of non highlighted business needs. These tasks are going to be divided between yourself and your staff or contracted out. This list is the area that your business is usually most vulnerable in and is worth careful evaluation of how well the tasks are being done. 

Imagine if your business was a ship and your interest was to sail it fast, maintain it in excellent condition, and making sure the crew was second to none. You enjoy being the helmsman but have a real knowledge deficiency in skill navigation and plotting. Your crew has a number of excellent sailors on board but no one really has a desire to fill this navigation role. Needless to say, you recognize this task must be done so you do it but never spend any more time on it than is absolutely necessary.  

In this example, it doesn’t really matter that the crew are very skilled and work well together, that the ship is well-maintained or that it goes as fast as the captain demands because due to lack of dedicated focus they aren’t even on the right course.

In every business that flourishes, the key tasks are all done by a person focused on excellence, not on the minimum necessary to just get by. Consider for a moment if the ship was your business and the navigator role was anyone of the following: marketing manager, sales rep, or the accounts person? 

Whatever this might be for you, without attention and action, it will always be your weakest link and at best will result in your business just surviving and never thriving.  

Mark Collins