In the small business universe where self-reliance is a virtual must, being willing and able to proficiently perform a multitude of wildly varying tasks is fundamental.
Nobody, however, is perfect – it's impossible to be good (or great) at everything. Any small business owner who claims as such is doing themselves, their employees and their operation a disservice.
It mightn't be the most enjoyable exercise, but recognising and admitting (to yourself especially) what you're good at and what you're not, will ultimately help your business progress.
“We are used to identifying our suppliers’ and competitors’ strengths and weaknesses but addressing our own may be difficult, perhaps even uncomfortable, for some,” business coach Ute Wieczorek-King says on the Success Network blog.
“Not only will you need a high level of awareness when doing this on your own, but also a desire to act and initiate the necessary changes.”
“People who’ve just escaped the corporate world, where continuous improvement was often taken for granted, may welcome the choice to avoid self-appraisals altogether when they start to work independently,” Wieczorek-King says.
“But when you’re losing business or not gaining any new business, then you may not have a choice. You are now forced to identify your weaknesses, or development areas, as I prefer to call them.”
“Getting to know your strengths and weaknesses is easier said than done,” media entrepreneur Natalie MacNeil says in an article on the Business Collective website.
“Many of us think we’re great at certain things, whereas others would perceive us as being 'C' or 'D' students at best. So how do you get an accurate picture of your strengths and weaknesses, and why does it matter?”
According to MacNeil, “accuracy in perception” is important.
“Knowing where you excel will guide you through your goal-making process, and knowing where you are weak will steer you towards the right moments to ask for help,” she says.
“For example, hire an accountant or bookkeeper if you’re not great with numbers. Hire a writer if the world of words doesn’t tickle your fancy.”
Leadership expert Chris Musselwhite says it's all about being “self aware”.
“Self-awareness is being conscious of what you're good at while acknowledging what you still have yet to learn,” he writes on the Inc. website.
“This includes admitting when you don't have the answer and owning up to mistakes.”
“In our highly competitive culture, this can seem counter-intuitive,” he says. “In fact, many of us operate on the belief that we must appear as though we know everything all the time or else people will question our abilities, diminishing our effectiveness as leaders.”
Musselwhite says if you're honest with yourself, “you'll admit that really the opposite is true”.
“Because whether you acknowledge your weaknesses or not, everyone still sees them. So rather than conceal them, the person who tries to hide weaknesses actually highlights them, creating the perception of a lack of integrity and self-awareness.”