Small business owners often struggle year after year to bring in enough cash to keep things going. Operating in constant “survival mode” is draining and leads to disillusionment. Most tragically, it usually can be avoided. The irony of the situation is that we tend to ignore our biggest opportunity, even when it is sitting right under our nose.
Why do we do this?
Sometimes, the most obvious thing is the last thing we notice. In the world of business, our most valuable asset is the very thing we don’t think of as an asset at all. It is our skill set. When we become highly skilled at your craft, it becomes second nature to us. We don’t think about it or talk about it; we just do it without realizing that we do it. This is most likely costing you more money than you realize.
The Hidden Cost of Unidentified Skills
When we fail to recognize our skills, they become liabilities instead of assets. This is most apparent when it comes to hiring and promoting new employees.
I have seen a common scenario unfold numerous times in different industries. An entrepreneur builds a successful business around his or her talents. The business reaches a ceiling, and the owner quickly realizes the need to hire more people in order to grow. A new employee joins the business and fails to learn the most critical tasks. The owner fires the employee and goes through the whole cycle all over again with the next employee. The business lurches forward like a teenager learning to drive stick, but never gets out of the parking lot.
When we don’t see our own skills, we are unable to scale our businesses. In order to grow a company, it is necessary to build systems that more than one person can operate. When your business is solely dependent on the uniqueness of one individual, it is impossible to create any kind of sustainable growth. There are only twenty-four hours in the day, and we haven’t developed cloning technology yet.
The Sales Cost
Until we learn to recognize the gulf between our skills and the skills of our clients, we lose opportunity. This can happen easily if you try to explain too much detail to a prospect who cannot speak the language of your industry. It also happens if you make recommendations to a client and falsely assume that they can implement your advice without help. Both of these cases will lead to a confused prospect or client who will most likely do nothing and walk away.
By overestimating the sophistication of your prospects, you can easily talk yourself out of a sale. I have had this happen personally. For instance, I remember one of the first meetings I ever had with a web copywriting prospect in 2008. I gave them a list of page titles and advised them to take one crack at writing the copy themselves before sending it to me to make edits. I have long since come to realize that this was doomed to fail. Unsurprisingly, the prospect did nothing and I eventually learned that they had hired someone else.
Learning to Flip the Switch
When we learn to flip this switch and start to recognize our skills and talents, exponential gains are possible. This does not happen overnight. It happens slowly, almost invisibly. How does one flip the switch? By getting in the habit of teaching and transferring your skill set. Regardless of how much or how little experience you have in your line of work, teaching is a critical skill that we all need to learn sooner rather than later.
Right now, the opportunity is ripe for entrepreneurs to create online courses. You can use simple tools like Camtasia Studio to produce short videos showing the world how to perform simple tasks that seem easy to you. By going through each step little by little, you will start to become more consciously aware of the complexity of each thing you do every day.
In 2016, I an in-person video workshop for this reason. Prior to that, I had advised numerous business owners to start creating videos, only to find myself frustrated that few of them were doing it. I came to realize that I was taking my skill set for granted, and that most people didn’t know how or where to start.
If you would like to generate a new income stream by developing and publishing an online course to sell your expertise, give me a call at (919) 723-7916 and let’s talk.