When you’re a small or micro business, it’s easy to feel like you need to try to do everything. After all, it feels cheaper to do it yourself. But something very serious happens when you keep everything in-house – you find yourself working on things that aren’t in your ‘Zone of Genius’.
What does that mean?
It means you are spending time and energy doing things that someone else could be doing more effectively and efficiently. And while you’re working on those tasks that you’re not particularly great at, you aren’t attending to the parts of your business that you are a complete dynamo at (and are probably the reasons you got into business in the first place).
There are a few ways you can address those areas of your biz where you aren’t working in your Zone of Genius.
#1 Get someone else to do the work.
Nine times out of ten, it’s probably not as expensive as you imagined, especially when you think about how much time it would take you to achieve a result that wasn’t as good as a pro doing it. And multiply the value if it’s work that will build your brand and potentially attract new business.
I did this recently when I had the fabulous Angie Roe take some corporate photos for my website and LinkedIn profile. I had a barely adequate selfie for my LinkedIn image and yeah, I probably could have got my hubby to take some snaps for the website. After all, we have a reasonable camera and we are a pretty creative pair. But it would have taken us approximately forever to do it. So it made complete sense to get someone who knew exactly what they were doing to take on the job. Fabulous decision. P.S. If you are in Perth or the Avon Valley and have a dicey LinkedIn pic or your website photos are ancient or DIY, you should totally talk to Angie.
So, get busy! Think about all the places where you struggle. Can you get someone else to do them better (and possibly cheaper!)? The internet has opened up access to all kinds of services, from Virtual Assistants through to pretty much every specialised service under the sun (although obviously thumbs up to looking local first!). Use their Zone of Genius to work for you.
#2 Seek out an expert.
If outsourcing it isn’t an option, look at sharpening up what you do. If you are going to keep something in-house, make sure you’ve got the skills. If something’s a struggle, or you just feel a bit meh about it, how can you get better? Or maybe you’re good at one task, but something in a similar theme just isn’t gelling. There are approximately twenty-squillion e-courses, YouTube videos, blog posts etc about every topic you can think of, so take advantage of all the free and cheap resources around with the help of Google.
Sometimes it’s worth paying someone for some advice or training. I’m a great writer. I love writing, I do it well. But I really didn’t know enough about writing for websites, or about structuring them to capture the interest of people like you (yay, you’re still reading!). It was totally ‘worth it’ for me to invest in some training and advice to become as confident about writing for the online environment as I was for ‘the real world’.
What are you doing at the moment that you’re ‘ok’ or ‘good’ at, but with a bit of tweaking, you could move to ‘epic’? That’s your starting point. Go find some expertise to elevate what you are doing.
#3 Stop doing things the long way!
The last thing to look at is automation and better systems. Take stock of your processes, where are your time vacuums? It’s time to identify how you could be doing things differently and getting better results.
An example that I noticed the other day is accounting. I do my accounts myself. I’m not ‘big’ enough to outsource them, I’m pretty competent, they take very little time (and my mum is a bit of an accounting genius after running a small biz for about 20 years). Plus I get a weird kind of enjoyment out of doing it. So I do them myself, but I use an accounting package. Someone else I know in a similar biz, with higher turnover than me, uses spreadsheets. What a nightmare! They do it because they believe it’s cheaper. I’m not exactly a big coffee drinker, but I spend more on coffee EACH WEEK than I do on my accounting package EACH MONTH. It’s a no-brainer to spend the money, based on the ease and the time it saves me when it comes to keeping my finances in check.
Do a review and be sure that you aren’t accidentally costing yourself money (in the form of lost time) in an attempt to do things on the cheap.
So, Zone of Genius, get back into it, stop doing that stuff that distracts you from what you do best and basically costs you money. Three things to look at, pronto:
- Find someone who is a Genius at it, get them on board.
- Find someone who can share their Genius and amplify your current capabilities.
- Do it smarter – improve those systems and process.
Anna heads up the amazing team at CreativeIQ. Most brand and business consultants are either very creative or excel at strategy and analysis. What makes Anna special is her ability to do both! That’s how CreativeIQ was born. She loves strategy and finding creative ways to solve problems.
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