In tough times, one of the classic business school cliches is to “focus on your core competencies” which tends to lead to all sorts of snooze-inducing meetings where companies try to figure out just what their “core competencies” are. Of course, it’s not a bad idea to focus on your core competencies, but I’d argue that if you’re thinking about core competencies, you’re already focusing on something too boring.
In reality, the idea should be to focus on what gets you fired up in the morning. Running a small business is tough, and we all have days where it’s tough to face the day at all. But none of us would be running a small business if there weren’t some fire burning inside of us. The focus should be on what makes that fire burn brightest.
So don’t just sit around and whiteboard out what your core competencies are. Take a step back, look deep into your soul, and figure out what it is inside of you that burns the brightest. What is it about the business you’re running that gets you fired up the most? That gets you eager to start the day, and loathe to finish it because there’s just that much more that you can and want to do?
For me, personally, I love getting into fascinating discussions over important issues and trends. I’m one of those people who will discuss things into the wee hours of the morning and love getting out of bed to get into intellectually stimulating discussions that make me think. Of course, lots of people like that, but we’ve continually focused the business of Floor64/Techdirt on ways to leverage building more such interesting conversations. What more fun could we have?
Back in April, I went to the Mesh Conference in Toronto, and one of the great speakers was Jessica Jackley, from Kiva. She talked about her overall mission in terms of helping those who need microfunding — a truly amazing and compelling story. At one point, she made a comment that immediately resonated throughout the crowd:
“I’m not wealthy, but I feel I could retire on happiness.”
Find that element, and don’t worry about defining “core competencies.” You’ve already found them.