As business owners, we typically start our businesses based on a passion for something we love to do. Maybe it’s a hobby, an interest or a job we used to do for someone else and now want to do for ourselves. But while we may be good at that thing we have a passion for, we typically aren’t good at all the other elements that are needed to turn that passion into a business. You might be the world’s greatest lawn-care genius, but that doesn’t mean you’re the world’s greatest bookkeeper. Since few of us are good at everything, the key to small business success is identifying what we’re not good at—or, as your neighborhood 12-year-old would put it, what you stink at. Here are some key areas that are essential to business success—and where you might have a weakness:

  • Accounting, bookkeeping, taxes
  • Legal, incorporation, compliance, contracts
  • Sales, lead generation, CRM, closing
  • Marketing and advertising, market research, marketing strategy, creative
  • Management, HR, hiring, operations
  • Strategy, business planning, partnership, business development
  • IT, website design and development

Of course, the first step is to acknowledge where your weaknesses are. Some of them may be obvious to you; others may be blind spots. Ask people you trust, whether that’s your employees, business partners or friends and family, for their honest opinions. Then listen. This might require letting go of some long-held beliefs. If you’re convinced you're the world’s greatest salesperson, but everyone you ask says otherwise, it’s probably time to admit you might be lacking. The good news is that today it’s easier than it’s ever been to fill in your weaknesses. While in the past you might have had to hire a full-time accountant or HR person to manage these areas, you can now choose from a wide range of options. Yes, you can still hire in-house staff. But you can also outsource to a consultant (either local or across the country), use simplified hiring tools like online job boards, or develop a team of “virtual” employees without having to spend money on office space or equipment. Of course, another approach is to learn how to handle all (or at least some) of your weak areas yourself. SCORE is a great resource here, with online courses, webinars and tools to help you learn about everything from accounting to sales and website development. Of course, it’s always easier to learn with someone guiding you, and that’s what SCORE’s Mentors are for. Visit the SCORE website to get partnered up with a Mentor today.

About the Author(s)

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship and

CEO, GrowBiz Media