What's Your Genius?
I’m working with a local start-up that will be offering solutions to small businesses to allow business owners to concentrate in their “zone of genius” to fuel their business growth. I like the concept because they will provide affordable and scalable solutions for many things I really am not an expert on in my business. What does letting me operate in my "zone of genius" really mean?
Here’s an example. As an small eCommerce business owner, do you really want to spend your valuable time recruiting, screening and hiring a warehouse worker? Do you want to have to keep up with the latest changes in Facebook? Google AdWords? Are you looking forward to implementing sales tax collection as it becomes nationwide requirement? Or, would you rather be working on a next generation website that will increase your conversion rate from 3% to 10%? I like the last choice the best, others of you may choose differently.
In our business, my preference is to focus on business strategy and plan for future growth opportunities. Rather than spending 60% of my time on that, I find myself spending 70% of my time putting out fires, slogging through finding a new graphic artist, looking for the best way to run a Facebook sweepstakes. Worse yet, doing accounting! I’m not operating in my “zone of genius” with a smile on my face every day. Instead, I’m doing things that bring me down and make me grumpy.
We all wear many hats on a daily basis, CEO, VP Sales, CFO, HR Director, IT Manager, Web designer, etc. Which hat do you really WANT to wear? Which hats would you love to find help for?
I’d love to create some conversation around this to learn where most of you feel the most “pain” in your business. eCommerce is a competitive and complex business model today. None of us are experts in all areas of the business. Most of us can’t afford to hire experts to run each of our functional areas like Sales & Marketing, Finance & Accounting, Fund Raising, Purchasing, Website Development, Operations, Employee Development, or Business Strategy.
The answer is different for each and every one of you. Beyond simply looking at functional areas, what type of personality do you have? Are you a visionary like me, looking for new projects that will lead to growth opportunities and then moving to the next project? Or, do you like to dive into the details and build things? Maybe you want to cultivate a more productive workplace by spending more time on employee development? Here's a link to a test to help identify your "Entrepreneurial Zone of Genius". I found it both accurate and enlightening.
The important thing is to learn the answers to all these questions and begin to change your life and business to create more time for you to focus on the things you are passionate about. That’s you zone of genius. Finding that zone will help fuel the growth of your business and make it much more likely to go home every day with a smile on your face.
In some cases, this will mean delegating to other employees or hiring new ones. Frequently, it means hiring an outside service provider who is an expert in some functional area. It may even mean that you should be doing something completely different within your business than you are doing today.
So, here’s the part where you jump in. Just make a quick comment in the comments section below and start some dialogue. If you could focus all your time in one area of your business what would it be?
- Customer Support
- Finance & Accounting
- Business Strategy
- Product Selection
- Supply Chain
- Employee Development
- Website design & development
If you could find an outside solution provider or hire in house experts to help out with the things that cause you the most pain and time, which of those same areas would you single out?
I hope you’ll chime in, we’ll all learn from hearing other peoples experiences. I plan to post more information on this topic over the coming months.
Hannah Kinney says:
Hi Dale, thanks for the great post! I don't own a small business, but I am part of a small marketing team and we all wear MANY hats, so I can (sort of) relate. I took the Entrepreneurial Zone of Genius test just for fun, and discovered that I'm a "builder." I am the one and only social media manager/content developer/editor/publisher/analyst, and also write and edit copy for numerous marketing projects, print materials, websites, blogs, and will soon start writing press releases for our company. I realize that these tasks all fit under the "marketing" category, but I guess that means that I've already chosen Marketing as my "zone." :)
I think this post is interesting, even though I am not an entrepreneur (yet!). I watch my boss run around all day dealing with almost all of the categories you mentioned above. He is an entrepreneur, currently working as our VP of marketing. I think that if he could pick, he would spend his time in the "Business Strategy" zone. He's extremely intelligent, and loves developing new ideas. He's also very good at it. So, it makes sense that what we do best, what puts a smile on our faces, is the zone we should concentrate on. We're likely to be more productive when we enjoy what we're doing. I definitely think that everyone in our specific company (and I'd imagine it's the same in many other companies) needs to focus more on his/her zone of genius, and lean on other experts more often. I think entrepreneurs especially tend to take on way too much. There are only 24 hours in a day you know! ;)