Punctuality is not one of my strong points. Nor are conceptual mathematics or baking. I’m fairly clear about what I’m good at and when it comes to my solo enterprise I capitalise on my strengths and find workarounds for those tasks at which I fall a million miles shy of excellence.
Knowing your strong points helps you to do the following:
1. Make better business decisions
Picture this. The God of new business opportunities has chosen you for a moment of special attention and has sent not one but two plum client opportunities your way. The catch is, both projects require your attention at the same time and unless you’re able to clone yourself you’re going to have to make a choice.
To complete one project you’ll have to slog away at a task you can do, but so can others, and whilst it pays well the thought of it leaves you feeling flat. The other project doesn’t pay so well but gives you that exciting feeling of anticipation and you know you can blitz it. Listen to these emotions. They are signalling to you that this latter project plays to your strengths. Choose it and you’ll do it well, do it easily (relatively at least) and impress all concerned. Choose the first project and whilst you’ll no doubt deliver a sound product you’re less likely to shine and far less likely to get a buzz out of it.
Want more articles like this? Check out the decision making section.
2. Market yourself
What differentiates you from your competition? Your flexibility? Your quality standards? Your unrelenting determination to deliver the utmost in customer service every single time?
As a solo professional you have technical expertise in your field. That’s what makes you a business player. But it’s your strengths that make you great. It’s your strengths – the characteristics that define you, your business approach and your success – that are going to make you stand out from the crowd. If you know what those strengths are and you clearly and consciously market them to others, success will not only come your way faster but it will also come more easily.
3. Maintain your focus
It’s easy as a solo professional to take on any new task that comes your way, particularly when you’re starting out or when the inevitable cash flow crisis descends. But adopting a scatter-gun approach to business isn’t playing to your strengths and it isn’t helping you to keep focused on who you are, what you do and why you do it.
By identifying your strong points as an individual and as a business (as a solo professional you’re one and both) and by reminding yourself of those strengths regularly, you’re better able to stay focused on what is going to make you not only more successful in your work, but what’s going to make you happiest in the process, and who can ask for more than that?
In part 2, we’ll pass on tips on how to identify your strong points.