4 Ways to Use Your Weaknesses to Strengthen Your Business
Our shortcomings tend to follow us around like a dark cloud.
We spin in circles, thinking of how different our lives would be if only.
If only we were better at sales.
If only we could keep up with changing technology.
If only we were more knowledgeable, more charming, more outgoing.
The more we fixate on what we’re not, the farther we get from our goals. After all, we move in the direction of our focus. And if our focus is on our failures, guess what?
More failure is coming our way.
Listen, I get it. I’ve been through this myself. But you’re not going to get where you want to be until you learn to see your weaknesses as opportunities in disguise.
Here are all the ways your weaknesses can actually benefit your business and make you a stronger, happier leader.
#1: Build Resilience
I say it all the time: if you want to succeed as a business owner, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Entrepreneurship requires you to step outside your comfort zone constantly.
And what lies outside your comfort zone?
Your weaknesses. Your shortcomings. All the experiences that you believe are sure to end in failure. The hard truth is that you will never succeed by avoiding the things you fear. On the flip side, you can do incredible things when you build up your resilience.
Try looking at each weakness as an opportunity to do exactly that.
For me, it was public speaking. I had a stutter all my life, and as a business owner, I was desperate to avoid speaking in front of people. I declared myself the Ideas Guy and shut myself away in my office, allowing my CEO to handle staff meetings.
When it became clear that this disconnection from my team was creating a breakdown in communication and community, I knew I had to face my greatest weaknesses.
I started leading staff meetings. I volunteered as a speaker for the Youth Business Alliance. Eventually, I was even able to speak at our franchise conventions.
At first, every attempt at public speaking was terrifying and miserable. But with time, it got easier. And at the end of it, I not only became comfortable at a podium; I also internalized the belief that I can face my greatest shortcoming and survive.
Not just survive, but thrive.
What will you discover if you let yourself suck at something until you get better?
#2: Build Relationships
Getting better at public speaking was mandatory for me, because my avoidance of employee interaction was clearly damaging morale and progress.
But most of the time, we can let our weaknesses stay weaknesses. I’m not great at operations, and honestly, I’m not trying to be. You know who’s incredible at operations? My COO, Miri.
Miri started out as a secretary for 911 Restoration. Her drive and positive attitude were apparent right away. When I realized that she also had the skills I lacked, I leaned on her more to help me build our company into a well-oiled machine.
In the years since, we’ve built a strong business and a great friendship. And that’s what you want as a business owner.
You want team members to take ownership of your mission. You want to give them support and opportunities to shine in their areas of strength. You want to see your whole team working as a system where each person is able to bring the best of themselves to the work they do.
And what about when your business is new… when you don’t have a team to fill in for the skills you lack?
Turn to your peers. Find a mentor. Ask a tech-savvy colleague to spend a couple hours showing you how their CRM works and offer to return the favor in your area of strength. Invest in an advisory board, even if it’s just one person for now.
Your weaknesses force you to build your network, and your network will generate friendship, insight, and referrals for years to come.
#3: Get Creative
Try to shift your thinking. Instead of saying, “I can’t do x because I’m bad at y,” ask yourself, “How can I make x happen without y?”
This is the kind of question that drives innovation.
Skyscrapers were built by people who didn’t have a lot of space to work with. It’s not about what you don’t have. It’s about what’s possible.
If your team is unmotivated but you’re not great at coming up with inspiring pep talks, no problem! You can motivate them by offering mentorship to help them grow in their role. Or by making sure they understand why they’re essential to the larger picture. Or by simply asking them what they feel is missing from their work environment.
Frankly, all of these things are probably more effective than a pep talk, anyway. And implementing these practices would not only help the problem, but also reinvent the way you lead.
Let your weaknesses inspire creativity in the way you handle your business.
#4: Narrow Your Focus
This one is huge.
Let your weakness inform your strategy.
If it’s not your strength, don’t do it. Hire someone else to do it.
If you can’t hire someone else to do it, ask yourself if it’s really necessary. If it is really necessary, do your best until you can hire someone.
But ultimately, your goal should be to double down on your strengths and forget about your weaknesses.
You do your best work when you can focus on one thing, anyway. Your strengths are what help you stand out and they’re key to building a reputation.
Stop worrying that you fall short because the Other Guy has a witty slogan or a more experienced team. You don’t want to be like the Other Guy, anyway. That’s called “blending in,” and it makes your brand forgettable.
Let your weaknesses show you what your role within your business should be and what your business’s role within the market should be.
If you need help thinking through this, we have a free SWOT tool that may provide a lot of clarity.
The bottom line is that your weaknesses do not decide the fate of your business. Rather, it’s what you do with those weaknesses that determines whether or not you succeed.
What will you do to turn your shortcomings into opportunities?
Further Resources on This Topic
Free Tool: SWOT Analysis Tool
Free Video Course: Accelerating Business Growth