The Curse of Knowledge – How being an expert can kill your business
We’re told to follow our passion and turn this into a business. Whilst this advice is well-intentioned it’s often extremely flawed and in some circumstances unhelpful.
Running a business takes so much more than passion or even being highly skilled at something. In fact, the very skill you have mastered can be a hindrance in business. Unless you are prepared to learn all the other aspects required to run a successful business.
Too much focus on what you love
I’ve been going to my local gym every Wednesday at 9am for over 7 years now where I have a personal training session with the gym owner. What he doesn’t know about fitness, muscle groups, exercise regimes, diet etc is not worth knowing. His father was a very famous “strong man” from the 1950’s. There are pictures of him all over the gym with elephants standing on him, him lifting people above his head – you know the type of thing. So personal fitness is truly in his family DNA and everything he believes and stands for – I would definitely call him a “subject matter expert”
Don’t ignore the elephant in the room
Over the years we have talked a little about his website. I only found his gym through a 3rd party advertising website as he is tucked away well off the main street. He wanted a little bit of advice about creating a new website which I gave, and I also suggested he do some basic SEO. Periodically he re-visits this idea and can remember that I suggested “WordPress” as the best option for him. He regularly mentions that the business is not growing during these 7 years, yet never done anything more about it
Don’t just repeat what you are good at
He is not a lazy business owner as he often updates the gym by both moving the equipment around and purchasing new dumb-bells and machines. But, like many experts, if he is unsure of what to do their simplest solution is to revert back to what they know and are most comfortable doing. It’s called busyness, not business.
The things he is familiar with get done and they get done very well because he is excellent at what he does. But this does not help him move the business forward because he is unwilling to step outside his comfort zone and either learn or outsource the things which are critical for his business to not just thrive but now survive.
It’s great to focus on our strengths. We shouldn’t expend too much energy on trying to be better at things we are just not passionate about or are incompetent at. But identifying that there are gaps, making a priority list, and then making sure that we learn/research enough to employ someone else – who is a subject matter in that skill is the key to successful business.
The irony is that when he talks about exercise he believes that everybody should just do it and doesn’t recognize that people have their own fears, mental blocks or limiting beliefs about exercise, just the same as he has when it comes to marketing and promoting his business.
If you intend to start a business ensure that you have advice and guidance on the areas that are not your passion or you’ll struggle to keep the passion alive.
Have an awesome day,
Ronan Leonard is a Mastermind facilitator, connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners together to create the perfect virtual Mastermind group. Small business owners are often overwhelmed with to-do lists and need impartial advice to get the right support to help them achieve their goals.
Ronan believes that 99% of your business problems are already solved and will connect you to a tribe that has the answers and to help you accelerate your learning. He believes that there is more value in making real peer-to-peer connections than paying for external contractors who have no vested interest in your success.