Knowing your core competencies is one of the most important pieces of information you could have in your business. This is the one thing that you do better than anybody else. It’s the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors. It’s the one thing that, if done right, could make you #1 in your space.
A lot of companies never consciously think about what their core competencies are. While this is okay for a short while, in the long run it’ll hurt you. If you don’t focus on your core competencies, you won’t be able to make full use of it.
==> Put Your Best Foot Forward
What’s special about Apple? Their unique products. Their design and the all-in-one user intuitiveness of the package.
What’s special about Prada? They’re expensive, they’re classy and they’re stylish.
These brands are so well known because they’ve put their best foot forward. They took their core competencies and they’ve focused on it.
This wasn’t always the case.
When Steve Jobs tries to create the NEXT operating system and take Microsoft head on, he failed miserably. He even tried just targeting schools and still failed miserably.
With NEXT, Jobs was not focusing on his core competencies. With the release of the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, he hit on his – and Apple’s – core competencies head on.
Put your core competencies, your “best foot,” forward. It should be the centerpiece of your brand.
==> Discovering Your Core Competency
Your core competency is the intersection of what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about. In order for it to qualify, you must have both.
This isn’t a discussion that should happen just in your head. It’s a conversation you should have with the rest of your staff as well.
Ask them: What is our company best at? What do customers love most about us? What are we most passionate about in our jobs?
Don’t expect an overnight answer. This should be a question that you’re always asking. Many companies take years to discover the answer to this question.
==> Never Outsource; Always Build
Early on, Zappos made the mistake of outsourcing their core competency. They position themselves as a customer service company, yet outsourced their fulfillment. When things didn’t get to people in time, their brand was seriously hurt.
Your core competency or anything linked to your core competency should never be outsourced.
Instead, aim to progressively improve your ability to leverage your core competency every month. Look for ways you can use your competency to your advantage wherever you can.
Your core competency is what can really take your company to the next level. Trying to compete on everything or trying to compete in an arena where you have no edge is a recipe for failure. Instead, identify your core competency and work on improving it day in and day out.