Two things you hear about all the time in business are playing to your strengths and shoring up your weaknesses. So which is it? Cases can be made for both sides (and have been made many, many times). Where should an entrepreneur focus his or her energy to get the best results?
One side of the aisle says that you need to focus on your weaknesses to eliminate them. As you strengthen one area, the next weakest becomes the new priority. The goal of a weakness focus is to become a well-rounded, balanced individual who doesn’t have any glaring Achilles’ heel. The fear is that one area of weakness might topple your business if you don’t address it.
I have to admit, they have a point. What if your weakness is not understanding the numbers and the financial side of your business. Sure, you can bring in a professional and hand that stuff over to someone on your team who understands it better (I’ve said it before, the team is there to make your weaknesses irrelevant) but if you don’t have a basic grasp of a crucial area you won’t know when your professional is ripping your off or your team member is going in the wrong direction. Weaknesses CAN kill us but I think the importance of the area of weakness determines how strong we need to become.
For instance, not everyone is good at design and knowing how to make things look good. There may be a place in your business that needs that skill, like your business card, website, or packaging. Not knowing your way around design will require you to lean on others but it’s not likely to be a deal breaker, unless your business is design heavy. Take that in contrast to the financial literacy example above. Weigh the importance of the weakness in your business and the risk you are exposed to if you don’t correct it.
One the other side of the argument is strengths-based entrepreneurship. People in this camp like to focus on what you do best and not waste too much time on strengthening weak areas. The logic behind this is that you can be the best at your strength but even years of work on a weakness will probably leave you behind someone who is naturally gifted in that particular area. Why be mediocre at everything when you could be world-class at a few?
Both of these ideas sound good and I’d love to tell you to do both at the same time. The problem is that we have limited time (What!? Entrepreneurs have limited time!?) and time spent working on one area is taken from another. Should entrepreneurs work on strengths? Weaknesses? Both? I’m going to save my opinion and share it in the comments but I’m going to wait until at least 5 people give theirs first. No “mmhhmm” comments either. Tell me what you think and why.